Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More Than Meets The Eye

A few years ago, I posted a piece about PORTER, TEXAS, amazed that this little red-neck town in Southeast Montgomery County contained a Nudist Camp.  If you click on the link, you will see that not much has changed - can't say for sure, but from the highway, it looks like the Nudist Camp is still going strong.
About the only thing I would have thought less likely than a Nudist Camp in Porter would be a Mosque, but yesterday I learned that now they have one of those, too.  
Taking the shortcut from Ford Road to the strip center housing Skeros Barbecue, I drove through the parking lot of Masjid Fatima-tuz-Zahra.  
The mosque is named for Mohamed's daughter, one of Islam's four perfect women. This would be an ideal spot to say something about the chances of finding a perfect woman in Porter, but enough is enough.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

One More Time

Yesterday, my wife posed an interesting question - Have we really seen the last of him in January, or could Barack Obama run for the Senate?
I'm embarrassed to admit that I honestly didn't know.  
I did know that he was prohibited by the 22nd Amendment from running for President (or Vice President), but had no idea about any other public office.  
Thanks to Google, I can now report that he not only could run for public office, but it's been done before.
John Quincy Adams, our 6th President, left office in 1829, but returned to Washington as a Representative from his home state of Massachusetts serving from 1831 to 1848.
Number 17, Andrew Johnson left the Presidency in 1869 but became a US Senator from Tennessee in 1875.
And number 27, William Howard Taft, left office in 1913.  Eight years later Taft became the 10th Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.
If Obama just stays home and does nothing, he will receive a pension of over $200 thousand  and thousands more in perks.  Last year, we gave George W Bush over a million including $434 thousand for office space.
I think Harry Truman had the best idea. Retiring long before there were such things as presidential pensions - he got an Army pension of 116 dollars and change - Truman had numerous opportunities to leverage his position as a former president, but unlike those who followed him, he refused them all and said, "I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency."

Monday, November 28, 2016


A quiet Monday with light rain and nothing much else going on, so I thought I would share this...

Did you ever wonder if simultaneous
Is actually faster than instantaneous?
Just put your hand
On a hot frying pan
You’ll find that the difference becomes extraneous

Sunday, November 27, 2016


This week marked the passing of Fidel Castro, a major pain the the side of the US for over half a century.
He held the title as the third-longest serving head of state, after the Queen of England and the King of Thailand, and is also known for delivering the longest address ever (4 hours and 29 minutes) before the UN General Assembly.
There is much that could be listed about the evil this man did, and not much to say that is positive.  He did have a reputation as a pretty good baseball player when he was young. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Disappearing Moon

The moon rose about an hour ahead of the sun this morning.  It wasn't much of a moon, just a crescent that looked like a smile in the Eastern sky.
A couple of hours later, when I went for my morning walk, I looked for the moon and couldn't find it.  
I knew how far ahead of the sun it ought to be, about 20 degrees or so, but it wasn't there.  I stood in the street and searched the sky for so long it's a wonder I didn't get run over.  If it wasn't a Saturday and a holiday weekend, I probably would have been.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

There are certain jobs, such as police officers, where it is almost guaranteed that you will never get a holiday off.  When we married, Honey as a medical technologist and I as a radio announcer fell into that category, so it was several years into our marriage before we ever got to experience Black Friday.
Innocent as babes in the woods, we assumed (incorrectly) that since we had never had the day off, that most other folks didn't either.  We also assumed (incorrectly) that it would be a great day to do our Christmas shopping.  Our first indication that we were wrong was the line of cars waiting to turn into the mall parking lot.  We should have turned around right then, but, as I said, we were naive. 
I'm pretty sure that we did not buy anything that day, and I know we only lasted an hour or so before returning home in an exhausted frazzle, swearing that we would never try that again.
I know there are folks who love to brave the Black Friday crowds every year, and some even claim to have made fabulous deals on something or another.  I'm pretty sure these same folks would jump at a chance to run with the bulls in Pamplona.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


The Houston Texans lost a tough one last night, falling to the Oakland Raiders 27-20. 
It's really hard to not sound like a sore loser when talking about this game.  
The announcers on ESPN, writers on SBNation and all agree that our guys were the victim of several really bad calls, the first of which cost us a touchdown on our first possession. 
It is one of the calls that is not subject to review, and after searching through what must have been thousands of pictures, Oakland fans claim the  shot above shows DeAndre Hopkins' right heel was across the line.  The shot is not down the line, and subject to interpretation, but my take is that his heel did not touch - and he's not the sort of guy that runs on his heels.
Dean Blandino, the NFL senior vice president of officiating, offered an explanation on the call:
"The heel (right foot) appears to be in the white," Blandino said of Hopkins' run. "It's not right down the line, so it's not definitive, but we certainly can't say that he's obviously in-bounds from this angle ... it's not definitive either way."
Texans coach Bill O'Brien, however, wasn't pleased with the call.
"Was Hopkins out of bounds on that play? No," O'Brien said. "So like, look, I'm not going to sit up here and get fined, I'm just a third-year coach in the NFL. But I think we really got to look at all of those things. You know, we got all of these cameras, and we can't get that right. And I don't think Hopkins was out of bounds ..."
We probably could have survived that call, but two obviously bad spots late in the game made that impossible.
Then there was the jerk in the stands that kept shining a laser in our Quarterback's eyes....

Monday, November 21, 2016

Settling Down

Even my most rabid left-wing friends (and yes, it is possible to like folks with whom you totally disagree) have started making less noise on Facebook.  I hope they have finally accepted the results of the election, but I suspect they are just waiting for their second wind.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

T-shirt Weather

Woke up to 36° here at the Boggy Thicket.
I know, that's T-shirt weather for some of you, but it's got me longing for spring.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Can't Un-hear

I've commented several times over the years about unfortunate name choices.  I'm sure that I've mentioned:
  • I had several fights before I got out of second grade brought about by kids who thought it was the height of originality and humor to "sit on the Couch."
  • When my wife financed her first new car, the president of the bank called the dealership and said, "I have a young lady here named Honey Couch, and she is NOT a Stripper."
  • One of the smartest couples I've ever known, Ann and Gus Brooks, named their daughter Crystal.  Innocent enough, but it sounds like the stage name for a porn star.
  • A friend, an Ikon trainer from Atlanta, is named Richard Jirka.  His mother still sees nothing wrong with calling him Dick. 
Several years ago, when I was a technical trainer at Ikon, we had a field service technician named Michael Hunt.  Nobody who was in the office that day will ever forget when the receptionist went on the P. A. system and asked, "Has anybody seen Mike Hunt?"

Friday, November 18, 2016

Doth Protest Too Much

Houston has had its share of protests recently, but now the protestors have something new to protest.  
They - and their lawyers - are claiming that the Houston police have been concentrating on the protest leaders, arresting them too often.
Ringleaders have been busted for everything from jaywalking to punching a police horse.
One of the most publicized cases was the arrest of Sheree Dore, a Black Lives Matter organizer and homeless advocate accused of punching a police horse.
Even as Dore appeared in court Monday — where the judge more than doubled her bail — prosecutors were preparing to file similar charges against another protest leader, Joseph Wade, who often attends Houston protests dressed like Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.
During a rowdy Nov. 10 anti-Trump protest, Wade was initially arrested and cited for jaywalking, according to court documents.
Three days later, he was charged with felony harassment of a public servant for allegedly spitting on the officer who told him not to jaywalk.
Then on Tuesday, prosecutors filed another felony charge alleging that Wade punched a police horse named Sgt. Curly.  
His attorney thinks it isn't fair.
Well, if the cops are giving special attention to the ringleaders, it seems like a good tactic to me.  Somewhere along the line when the demonstrators should have been learning personal responsibility and that all actions have consequences, they should have heard one of the old sayings about standing out in a crowd - the squeaky wheel, the tallest nail, etc.
Personally, I think the cops have behaved with a lot of restraint.  I don't currently own a horse - haven't since I was a kid - but if someone punched my horse and the horse didn't kick him into next week, I might.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Art for Houston

It ain't a done deal yet, there's supposed to be an official announcement at two this afternoon, but Houston and Austin TV stations are reporting that Art Acevedo will be Houston's new police chief.
Conservative spokesmen are already complaining.  Acevedo, as police chief in Austin for the past ten years, has been a liberal voice in one of Texas's most liberal cities. He has even been disciplined for speaking out on issues after being told to keep his mouth shut.
That being said, he seems to be well liked and respected in the Capitol. He is well-spoken - I can testify from our visits to Austin that he gives a Hell of a news conference.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


I called Murff's  after I posted yesterday's story - probably should have called them first, but the weren't open yet.
They told me:
  • They actually remove about an inch of soil each time they harvest.
  • They harvest grass somewhere every day, and may harvest the same spot once or twice in a year.
  • They do not haul in dirt.
  • Finally, she had no idea why they haven't dug themselves into a hole.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Murff's Turf

That's a picture of the entrance to Murff Turf Farm on Bohemian Hall Road in Crosby.  
Bill Murff, who passed away earlier this year, founded the business in 1969 while teaching at Crosby High School, and they have been providing grass for Houston area lawns for almost 50 years.
I have bought grass from them, and I have driven past their farm(s) hundreds of times, but I never thought of this question until last night.
 I've  watched them harvest turf, seen them spread liquid fertilizer on the fields, and seen the big irrigation sprayers at work, but I have never seen them bring in any dirt.  Every time they harvest sod, they have to be taking at least 1/2 to 3/4 inches of dirt along with the grass, maybe more, and they have been doing that in some fields for almost 50 years.
So - Why aren't they growing their grass in a hole?

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Extra" Parts

I saw this T-shirt advertised on line this morning.  It brought back so many memories of my time in the office equipment service industry, and it reminded me of so many of my students.  
At $19.95, its a bit over-priced for my blood, but if I had one, I would wear it with pride.

If you'd like to buy me one, they're available at

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ring of Fire

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit New Zealand this morning - actually just after midnight tomorrow, because of the international date line.  It has triggered a tsunami with waves 3 to 5 meters above normal expected.  This doesn't guarantee a quake on the other side of the Pacific in California, but don't be surprised if it happens.
Just sayin'.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thanks and You're Welcome

That's an interior shot of the Ranch Hand Cafe in Tarkington, Texas.  With its mismatched tables and chairs, etc., it may be hard to imagine that the outside looks worse, but it does.  
The place looks like a dump, with several small buildings thrown together with ramps to get up or down to the next floor level.  The parking lot makes you wish you were driving a high-clearance four wheel drive vehicle.
Even if you know how to find Tarkington, you might glance at the place and just keep on driving down highway 321 - but that would be a mistake.  We have been there several times, and the food is always excellent.
We were there last night with our friends the Sheltons, and the waitress asked Travis if he was a veteran.  He told her that he was, and I was too, and jokingly asked if dinner was going to be free.  She said that they had served free lunch and would be doing it again today for all the vets in honor of Veterans Day.
We didn't think any more about it until we were leaving.  We went up to pay, and they told us our dessert was on the house, and thank you for your service.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Leonard Cohen, possibly the greatest poet of my generation, is dead at 82.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


My left-leaning friends who are not out marching (Yes, I had at least one join the demonstration in Austin) are all saying that Hillary won a majority in the election.  
They are incorrect. 
The vote split almost exactly, with Clinton receiving about 200,000 more votes  than Trump, or about 47.7% of the total votes cast, compared to Trump's 47.5.  Those few thousand votes that went to Libertarian and Green Party candidates meant that neither gained a true majority of the popular vote. 
This marks the third time in history that the Electoral vote did not match the popular vote.   There is an outcry demanding that we do away with this antiquated way of selecting a President, but it may not be such a bad thing, and here's why:
The map above is based on population, not politics, but its resemblance to the 2016 Electoral map is remarkable.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


The election is finally over, and God help us, the results are finally in.  
It is no secret that I had no love for either candidate, but I considered what I didn't know about Donald Trump less scary than what I did know about Hillary Clinton, so I held my nose and voted for Trump.  
My first indication that I made the right decision came late last night when Clinton sent John Podesta to the Javits Center to tell her supporters to go home.
Those hundreds of people gathered there for what they expected to be a victory celebration were already visibly devastated.  I'm sure Clinton was as well, but her supporters deserved to see her, and to hear her thank them for a well-fought campaign.  The fact that she did not make an appearance shows such a lack of consideration and common decency, such a lack of grace, that I can only thank God that she did not win.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

When Will It Be Over?

Today is election day, 2016, and by tonight we will know who will take over the White House next year, but I'm afraid this election will be one that is never actually over.  The fact that both major candidates are almost universally disliked guarantees that most people will be dissatisfied with the outcome, whatever it might be.
Those little towns in New Hampshire that always vote at midnight - it's their one chance at national attention, and only comes every four years - have already announced that Trump's their guy.  He won 32/25, but in Dixville Notch, the town that first started midnight voting back in 1960, Hillary won by a vote of 4/2.  Two points of interest about Dixville Notch -
  • In past elections they favored both Bush and Dole over Bill Clinton.
  • They normally have between 25 and 30 registered voters, but only 6 votes were cast last night.
Thomas Tillotson, the Dixville Notch Town Clerk says his little hamlet is historically about 70% accurate as a predictor of the national outcome.
Sometime tonight we will be told who won, but the process will not actually be over.  The Electors of the Electoral College must meet in their respective states on December 19, and their results sent to the U S Senate.  Those results do not become official until approved by Congress on January 6, 2017.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Bright Side

The floods that hit the Houston area last spring still have us a few inches over our normal annual rainfall, but we haven't had a any measurable rain in over a month.  
We are back in drought, and our azaleas are not happy.  In spite of running sprinklers, we have some plants that are not likely to recover.
Watching the weather on TV, it seems like they have rain almost every evening in Sugarland, and/or Jersey Village, or even just across Lake Houston in Atascosita. But, do we get any?  No!
As recently as Saturday, rain probabilities for today and tomorrow were 60 and 70%, and a line of thunderstorms passing through Brenham yesterday evening was supposed to hit here about ten o'clock.  The storm fizzled out before it got here, and this morning the rain probability has dropped to 30%.
Oh well, it gives me something to worry about besides politics. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

It's About Time

We went back to Standard Time last night, dropping Daylight Saving Time until March 12th of next year.  If you didn't "fall back" before you went to bed, now's your chance.
The change didn't happen without a lot of grumbling, including several published studies claiming that arbitrary time changes are bad for your physical and mental health.  My wife, who has said so for years, was joined by numerous experts who say we could stick to Daylight Saving Time year-round.
Perhaps the most radical approach comes from an article in the New York Times - it advocates doing away with time zones entirely, and putting the whole world on UTC - Coordinated Universal Time.  UTC or "Zulu" time is already in use in Aviation, for example, and the global economy and internet seem to call for a standardized version of telling time.
It would take some getting used to - here in the Central Time Zone (UTC minus six hours) we would seldom be getting up before noon.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Have Some Butter

I first posted this in April of 20ll, and I'm posting it on Facebook today especially for some cousins who have become Facebook friends since then.  It contains a bit of family history they ought to know.

As a child of the Great Depression, my mother had it better than most. 
The Boyd family was far from wealthy, but my grandfather did have a job – he was an engineer on the MKT (Katy) Railroad - and they lived on a place that was large enough to have a vegetable garden, a milk cow and a flock of chickens.  Even with their large family (mom had eight sisters and one brother) there was always enough food to go around.
Because they did have plenty, my grandmother was in the habit of inviting a less-fortunate parishioner or two home from church to share Sunday dinner.
At one of these meals, an elderly maiden lady – I guess PC speech was around then, too; that does sound much nicer than old spinster. - was slathering an extremely generous portion of butter on a biscuit.  The poor old gal probably hadn’t seen, much less tasted, fresh churned butter in months.
My Aunt Frankie noticed what she was doing, and in a voice dripping with all the sarcasm an eight-year-old could muster, said “Well, have some butter, Miss Evans.”
Miss Evans was embarrassed,  my grandmother was mortified, Aunt Frankie probably didn’t sit down for a week and “Have some butter, Miss Evans” became part of the family history and the family lexicon.
If you ever hear that phrase, you can bet that:
  a. Someone was being a little too greedy, and
  b. Whoever said it probably has a Boyd gene  or two in  their DNA.
 Update:  My Cousin Norma just talked to my Aunt Barbara who was there when it happened.  She confirmed the story, but said it was Aunt Claire, not Frankie, who made the comment.  I always thought it was Frankie, but she’s probably right.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

You Pick A Title

Honey and I went out on our monthly dinner date with our next-door neighbors, the Graffs, last night, and as usual we had a great time - good food, and better company.  Since Honey's birthday is tomorrow, they came with a very pretty birthday cake.
Once we got home and turned the TV on, the final game of the World Series was well under way, and by the time we got ready for bed, the Cubs had blown their lead and it was all tied up. 
I like baseball, and had nothing planned that would force me to get up early this morning, so there was no reason not to sit up and watch the game to its conclusion.  
Did I? 
No I did not!
I have nothing against Chicago or Cleveland, but nothing that ties me to either city or their team, either.  Watching two teams I care nothing about play baseball is a lot like watching tortoises breed - I know it happens, and I suppose the fact that it does is a good thing - but I wouldn't pay to watch them.
And - I'm sure not going to lose sleep over it! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Standing Rock

The stand-off at Standing Rock continues as Native Americans (mostly Sioux) are joined by left-wing actresses and others using this opportunity to protest the North Dakota Access Pipeline, pipelines in general, fossil fuels and imminent domain.  
According to their Facebook posts, I know at least two of these protestors - a grand-niece and a former coworker - and while I know a little bit about their beliefs, I would not presume to explain why they are there.
The Sioux object to the pipeline because it crosses sacred ground - the media has tried to imply that this means that it goes through graveyards, but even the Indians admit they have no idea where their ancestors might have been buried. Their other concern is that  a leak could do terrible damage to the water supply, not only in the immediate area, but potentially the entire Missouri River.
Pipeline spills do happen, but there is no question that pipelines are by far the safest way to transport oil - much safer than trucks or railroads.  And - this 30 inch pipe parallels a pipeline that has been in operation without incident since 1982. There are over 2.4 million miles of pipelines in the USA, and in spite of occasional incidents like the explosion in Alabama this past week, the environmental effect has been very near zero.
Before the pipeline was approved, North Dakota held over two years of Town Hall meetings, and though they were urged to participate, the Sioux never attended, and never filed any paperwork in opposition to the project. That, to me, brings into question the legitimacy of their protesting now.
Nobody likes Imminent Domain if it affects them directly - I certainly wouldn't want a freeway running through my property - but, without it, we would have no railroads, pipelines or highways.  This pipeline will connect some of the newest and most active oilfields in the country to a system of lines that could bring North Dakota crude all the way to refineries near Beaumont, Texas. 
I can't see how that is such a bad thing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


We have a bumper crop of Mushrooms popping up all over the yard here at the old Boggy Thicket.  I haven't been able to identify the species - tried a search last year with no definitive result, and am having no better luck this year.
I can't help wondering if they would be good to eat, but I'm reminded of the words of a mushroom expert, "ALL Mushrooms are edible, but some species only once."