Wondering about wild grapes

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wandering to meet a relative

I have a cousin who lives in southern Florida and I have only seen him once in the past fifty years, and that was only to meet him for lunch about 5 years ago when he was passing through Houston. Well, this year he has a travel trailer and is heading to Arizona to visit some of his kids, and emailed me telling me he would be passing through and wanted to know if I knew of an RV park along I-10 somewhere near Houston. He said that he could reserve two sites side by side and we could have a better visit. I thought that was a great idea and started searching the internet. I preferred the east side of Houston for a couple of reasons. First, it is easier for me to get to the east side via country roads and second, the west side is too built up.

I couldn’t find what I thought would suit in the Woodalls campground directory, so started to search the internet for RV parks around Houston. Somehow I found one that is or had been for sale. There was not a lot of information about it nor did it have a web-site, just a telephone number. It was in a perfect position, just west of Baytown on the backwaters of the bay and only a quarter mile off the interstate. He agreed and plans were made for arrival this last Tuesday afternoon.

I got there early and got settled in one of the two sports. He showed late in the afternoon. We had a great visit and I thoroughly enjoyed myself as did my better half and, I hope, my cousin and his wife. Sure hated to see them head out yesterday morning. They left before 08:00 even though I warned them of Houston’s rush hour traffic.

OK, here are some pics. Here is one of them in my RV:

And here is one of my cousin and me.  He is the good looking one wearing the Marine Corp cap.

And with his wife:

After they left, I walked down to the water’s edge and took some pictures.  This first one is looking south back towards I-10.  The bridge in the picture is the interstate:

Here, in part of the last picture that I clipped out, is a closer look at the bridge:

This picture is looking north.  Nice area to sit or have a picnic:

This one is looking directly across the water:

And this is a clip of the middle of the above picture:

Don't forget, you can click on the picture to make them larger.

For just an over night trip, we had a great time. Of course it takes just about the same amount of time to load the RV for a day or two trip than for a month. Now you know where I was yesterday.

You all have a nice day today, you hear?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wondering about an old hair product

Let’s go back in time to the wonderful 1950’s. That is when I was in school and learning about life in this great big world we live in. Being an only child, I looked forward to going to school. Living in what used to be the country; I only had two friends within walking distance of less than a mile and one of them moved away after only a few years in school. The other one is still a friend and we keep in touch. I loved the 1950’s, the music, the dances (remember the school dances), the girls (I started dating my wife in high school so I will not talk about any of the other ones), the final exams (wow, didn’t want to remember them), the football and basketball games, and I guess school itself. That was back in the days when you had to save your allowance for awhile to purchase a 45 rpm record of what was popular at the time.

When we guys stated to take notice of the fairer sex, we also became more aware of how we looked. Of course there were exceptions to this on both sides. We were influenced by adds that promised to make us irresistible to the girls. You know, like Brylcream. Do you remember Brylcream and “a little dab will do ya” jingle? If not, here are two youtube links to classic Brylcream TV adds:



Brylcream was created in England in 1929 but didn’t really hit the big time until the 1950’s in the U.S. All fads come and go and after awhile the wet Brylcream look gave way to the dry look. Did you have either look? I must admit that I am now in the grey look.

Another bit of trivia, the Flintstone phrase “aba daba doo” came about by the influence of the Brylcream jingle, a little dab will do ya. . .

You all have a great day now, you hear, and don’t worry if I don’t post a blog tomorrow. I have things I got to do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wondering about smells

I am wondering why we remember smells better than most everything else. It is strange how it works, maybe not with you but with me. I can’t actually smell a memory. I can’t physically conjure up a smell from the past. But, if I do happen to get a whiff of that smell, I can instantly remember that I smelled that odor before and can sometimes connect it with a pleasant or unpleasant situation. Therefore, a smell from the past must be programmed into my long term memory.

The sense of smell is a huge part of taste. When you have a bad cold and can’t smell anything, do you remember how bland your food tasted? Yes, you could taste salty, sweet, and sour, but the delicate taste and aroma of the food was missing. You didn’t have much of an appetite, did you? The sense of smell is important to our appetites and choices of the things we eat. I knew a fellow who used to sell BBQ. He would set up in a location where the breeze would carry the BBQ aroma across an intersection that had either a red light or a four way stop. When the drivers smelled the aroma, they instantly got hungry for BBQ. I have even heard of some grocery stores that have piped in food aromas around the area that had the food displayed that matched the aroma. There sells of those items went way up.

The sense of smell and the memory of smells is a defense mechanism in living creatures, ourselves included. There was a study done with mice, and it was determined that mice smell the breath of other mice to determine what they had eaten and since they were still active, that it was a safe food. This information was stored in temporary memory and then transferred to the long term memory. In mice where the scientists had separated the long term section of the brain from the short term section, they soon forgot and stopped eating the test food. The mice that were not altered continued to enjoy the test food. This proved that the sense of smell is stored in long term memory.

Now, let me sit back and remember that favorite dish of mine. . . dang, I am really starting to get hungry. Got to go see what I can dig up to eat.

You all have a good day and don’t eat too much. Just hold your nose. . .

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wondering about old refrigerators.

Have no idea why I was thinking about old refrigerators, but now that I am, I may as well use it as my blogs subject for today. By old refrigerators, I don’t mean ice boxes or the ones with the coils and cooling fins sitting on the top forming a circle. What I was remembering were the ones that only had one door and the freezer part was a small compartment inside the refrigerator.

The freezer part was barely big enough for anything other than a couple of ice cube trays. Most of the frozen food we purchase today was either fresh or canned back then, except for frozen orange juice. Frozen concentrated orange juice was first available in 1945 or 1946, and immediately became a success; easier than squeezing your own. It came in a small can and would fit in with the ice cube trays.

These old refrigerators were quite rugged and would last a long time. I know someone who had one for almost 60 years, and if the people who purchased her house didn’t replace it with a modern one, it could be still running today.

This brings another subject to mind. Most everything that was made in the mid 1940’s was made to last. People took pride in their product and in their workmanship. Not just kitchen appliances, but most all products from that era. What has happened? No one seems to care anymore, just put in their time and pick up their check. My Dad always told me to “do the best job you can do, even if it is only sweeping floors”. I have tried to live up to that, and yes, one of my jobs involved the sweeping of floors.

You all have a good day today, you hear?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wondering why I never learn.

A few times yesterday, simply great ideas for this morning’s blog jumped into my head. At the time I thought that maybe I should jot down a note to myself about the ideas, but then I said to myself, “Self, that is such a great idea that you just can’t possibly forget it”. Yea, right!!! This happens quite a lot to me. I think up some fabulous ideas for a blog and by the next morning when I sit down in front of this computer to write it, everything comes up blank!! That is exactly what happened today. So to keep from this just being a blank page, I am explaining why it isn’t the fabulous blog that you expected (grin).

Nothing new here, just sipping a cup of coffee and will be heading down to the flea market again. I believe I told you before that we got talking to one of the vendors at the flea market and there was something about her voice that made me feel at home. Then we discovered that she lived in north western Pennsylvania within just a couple of miles of my Aunt. We kept looking forward to seeing and talking to her on the weekends, but she left for home and took her grandkids, who she had been visiting, back to PA with her to give them a summer vacation at Grandma’s. I bet they are having fun, but my wife and I miss seeing and talking to her on the weekends. Going to have to make it a point to see her the next time I am up visiting with my Aunt.

Isn’t it funny how you take an instant liking to someone you had never met before then you find out that they have a connection with some part of your life. It is strange and has happened to me a lot of times when I was thousands of miles from home to meet someone you never saw before and find out that they just lived down the road from you. I bet that has happened to you, hasn’t it? You know, it is a small world.

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wondering about an old metal top

Got to thinking about a toy (a top) that my Dad gave to me when I was a boy. I don’t know if it was new or one he had when he was young. Either way, by now it would be a really old top, ‘cause I am getting old myself. Really you say? Oh yea!!

This top was metal and it had holes in it around the side near the top that made it whistle if it was spinning fast enough. It came with a string and a small metal disk at one end. You wrapped the string around the top and you put the end with the disc between your fingers and the little disc would hold the end of the string securely in your hand. You then tossed the top as hard as you could throw, either underhand or overhand, and just at the right time you pulled back on the string. If you did this correctly and fast enough, the top would whistle and spin all over the place. I loved that top and spent many hours perfecting my throw.

During my learning process I put a few dents in our kitchen wall because I didn't pull back on the string soon enough. I used the kitchen to spin the top since it had a linoleum floor and a lot of open space. My parents’ house had a combination kitchen and dining room, so the room was plenty big enough to practice with that top.

I am also wondering; have any of you ever seen, used, or had a top like that? It was not large and was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Although small, it was quite heavy for its size.


For those of you who read yesterday’s blog but didn’t read the comments, I will give some information here that I didn’t give in the blog itself. There are 200 million containers shipped annually, so now you see that 10,000 is not a big percentage, just 0.005% (that is 0.00005 x 200,000,000 = 10,000)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wondering about hot peppers and shipping containers.

Now, I bet you are wondering what connection hot peppers and shipping containers have to each other. Well, as far as I know, they don’t have any dang connection, so there.

I am going to ask you a question and give the answer at the end of this post. I would like you all to let me know what your guess was and how many got it close. I would have gotten it wrong. The question is: how many shipping containers are estimated to fall off cargo ships and into the ocean every year?

Do you know what the hottest pepper is? Well, I would have never guessed it because I have never heard of it, but maybe any of you who have been to Australia may have heard of it. It is the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, and it registers 1,463,700 Scoville heat units. That is about 300 times as hot as the hottest jalapeno. Dang! and I thought that habanera peppers were hot!! If you want to know more about these peppers contact The Chilli Factory in Australia. Now tell me, what in the world could a pepper that hot be used for? Couldn’t use it in a defensive pepper spray device, since it would blind anyone who got it in their eyes. I just can’t see a use for it, except as a poison for fire-ants (grin)

OK, here is the answer to the shipping container losses. They estimate 10,000 containers are lost overboard each year. That will make a big reef. I would bet that the sea life just love them, unless of course there was poisonous stuff in the container (or the above peppers). Anyway, it is hard for me to believe that 10,000 containers get lost at sea every year.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


It is hard to believe, starting about 05:30 this morning it actually rained. We got about three quarters of an inch. Not much in Texas rain standards but more rain than we have had since last October. It is not near enough to break the drought, but it is start and it may help put out all those wild fires. This means that dome of high pressure that has been sitting over us for such a long time got pushed off somewhere else. Therefore, the set pattern we have had for almost nine months has been broken.

This weather moved in from the north, but there is a system coming in from the south. When the two meet, it may shove it back up this way and we may get even more rain. Will just have to wait and see. I am so happy to see some rain.

Need to go and turn on the TV and see what they are predicting for the rest of the day. If we get more later, I will update the blog or leave a message in the comments.

I want to thank all of you who did a rain dance for us and I hope this rain helped more than just this area. You all have a good day now, you hear?

OK, it is now 08:00 and I looked at the radar on the internet and now things have reversed and the storms look like they are backing up, being pushed from storms coming in from the Gulf.  We will probably get more rain.  Going to be a GOOD day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yesterdays battle with the hot water tank

Yep, had me a battle with the hot water tank and Ole Ben wants me to tell you all about it.  It sprung a leak in the flexible cold water inlet line.  I had my well water tested awhile back and it had a very low ph; it was very acidic.  That causes any metal to rust, or in the case of the copper flexible tube, eat a hole in it.  In the picture below you can see the cold water inlet plumbing.  I discovered that there is no shut off for it.  I am planning to put one where the yellow star is located.  I also noticed that the nipple on the right (red star) is badly rusted.

Here is another picture of the same plumbing as seen from above:

And here is a close up of the rusted nipple (red star):

Since there was no shut off, I had to shut the water off to the whole house. The shut off valve was the first priority. Went to the local hardware store and got everything I needed. Drained the tank (that took awhile) and then cut the inlet pipe and installed the shut off valve. Had a problem getting the male part of the compression fitting into the plastic pipe. Went back to the hardware store to see if they had a different size and they said to just heat the end of the plastic pipe. That I did with a hair dryer and it worked. So finally got the water back on to the house. Then I tried to get the rest of the stuff apart. The flex pipe was corroded so badly that it almost tore apart before it broke loose. The end of the existing nipple was rusted pretty bad so I tried to clean the threads as best I could and put it all together. Turned on the water, and you guessed it, it leaked at the rusted nipple.

Took it apart and tried to get the nipple out. My old pipe wrench would slip. The vice grips also slipped since I had to pull with all my strength. The nipple would not budge. So, back to the hardware store for a another flex tube, nipple, and a new pipe wrench.

I thought that I would never get that old nipple out. The rust had it dang near welded in place. Finally after repeated WD-40 soakings and a couple of pulled muscles, it came loose. I wanted to replace it with one an inch longer but the store was out of those and had to go two inches longer. To make a long story a little shorter, I got everything back together. SEE:

Here is the new nipple:

I thought that I was all done when I noticed a few drops coming from the area around the new valve.  It was the connection of the flex pipe to the plastic nipple.  It was not tight enough to compress the gasket.  I tried to tighten it and the nipple just kept going further and further into the valve.  I hate to have to drain the 40 gallon tank again just to redo the nipple.  I hate plastic plumbing.  Here is a picture of the culprit:

You all have a good day now, you hear?  It is the first day of summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our sympathies to Ben,

My blogging friend, Ben, who writes the “An Older Texan Remembers” blog, lost his Mother overnight to an aneurysm that ruptured sometime during the night. Our sympathies, thoughts, and prayers go out to him during his time of loss.

It was good that he got to visit with his Mom yesterday and that she went painlessly in her sleep.

Our sympathies to you, Ben, and to all your brothers.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wondering about large and small.

Did you ever wonder what lay on both sides of the scale that we live in? What if we could look down from above at ever increasing distances away or, conversely, look closer and closer and closer at things. Maybe I am strange but I think of these things.

Another thing, if you are anything like me, I lose touch with numbers when they start using huge plusses or minuses to the powers of a number. Yeh, I know, it is a short way to write a huge number so that you don’t have to write a whole bunch of zeros, either before or after the number, depending where the decimal point is and if it is large or small number. I have used numbers with powers in a lot of calculations.

OK, let us combine my first two paragraphs and just wonder about how big or how small something looks like at distances to the power of 10. Hard to visualize in your mind after the first jump, isn’t it? It is for me. So how do we visualize it? How about a short 3 minute movie that explains both close and far at distances of different powers of 10? The editorial in my new Discover magazine had a link to this movie “The Power of Ten” and I think that you all would enjoy it. So just sit back, turn your sound on, open your mind and your eyes, and watch this enlightening and entertaining short flick:

Hope you enjoyed it.  You all have a wonderful Father’s Day now, you hear?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wondering about hair, BUT.

I was going to talk about hair; you know, too much or too little, too long or too short, color here not the color there, lots of hair or no hair, and hair in places you don’t want it to be. But, I have an emergency maintenance problem to take care of and it may take some time. So you go ahead and think of hair, etc. and I will try to get things in order around here.

You all have a better day than I am going to have (grin).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wondering about cutting grass

OK, think way back as far as you can and tell me; what type of lawn mower was the first one you ever used? The first one I ever used was a push type reel mower. They were just about perfect for small lawns. No gas needed and a lot lower noise level, although the blades and gears did make a lot of sound. The gears were used to turn the blades (shaped like a horizontal drum) at a high speed and in the proper direction. The energy was acquired by physically pushing the unit so the wheels would turn and drive the gears that turned the blades that cut the grass that. . . .

As I said above, this type of mower was just about perfect for small lawns, but it wore you plumb out to cut a half acre or more. Just before I started school, we moved to a nice place out in the country. Our property snuggled up to the woods, where I spent a huge proportion of my time. My Dad and I found out that it took way too much time and energy to try to keep this new place cut with the old push type reel mowers, and yes they were real mowers, too. My Dad purchased a motorized reel type mower, and it was also self-propelled. All you had to do was hang on and try to get it pointed in the right direction. It was a lot to handle for a small boy, but it was fun. Funny isn’t it, when we were young a lot of things were fun then that turned in to work as we aged some.

Then they came out with the rotary mower. You had to push it, but the blade spun parallel to the ground instead of perpendicular like the reel type. Since the spinning blade was powered by a motor, the pushing part was easier than the old push reel mower because you didn’t have to provide the energy for the blades. It was just so much easier to use and did a great job. Maybe not as good a job as the reel type mower, but considering how much easier it was to handle, my vote was for it. But somehow, I miss the old push reel mower. . .nah. . . What about you?

Gonna be another 100 plus day here today, but you all have a good day today, you hear?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wondering about shortages.

I go to get supplies and some of my favorite things are sold out and haven’t been restocked. That makes me worry that there may be a shortage of my favorite stuff. Now, if we get half the people in the US to believe that there is a shortage of that same item, sure enough there will be in a matter of hours. Hey, I know what I am talking about, I lived through the 1973 great toilet paper run and believe me, I was worried!!! But I had no need to worry, my Father-in-law had cartons of TP at his business to stock their rest-room and he brought us a carton to hold us over (or wipe us under). Sure did save the day.

This shortage all started when people panicked when they herd Johnny Carson make some kind of joke on a TP shortage. The power of suggestion was so great and so many people watched the Johnny Carson Show before they went to sleep at night, that the next morning everyone went out and bought as much TP as they could. That left people like me who don’t believe everything they hear, and don’t panic easily, without any TP. Yep, the stores got picked clean of it and it took them about three weeks to restock all the stores. I bet after that, business dropped off drastically for TP, since everyone now had a big supply in their homes. Such a panic; and some countries in this world at the time never heard of TP.

Now it makes me wonder if a lot of today’s shortages are a figment of our panic. What do you think? I know one thing for sure, it doesn’t take a whole lot to panic some people, and panic is like a snowball rolling down a hill. As it starts down the hill it picks up momentum and volume, the further it goes the faster it goes and the more momentum and volume it acquires. Panic is like that, don’t you think so?

Some companies try to induce panic to sell their products. I would never purchase anything from those companies (unless there is a shortage of my favorite brand of TP….grin)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guess what I bought at the flea market.

Like normal, we went to the flea market this past weekend. On Saturday morning I spotted what looked to me like a fairly good telescope. The last telescope that I purchased at the flea market turned out to be junk, but then I didn’t pay hardly anything for it. I thought that I might have been able to salvage some parts, but it was so cheaply made that nothing was worth the effort. That made me a little leery, so I just asked the guy what he wanted for it. He definitely wasn’t giving it away.

I thanked him and moved on. After getting home, I looked it up on the internet. I wouldn’t have even bothered but the telescope was made by Meade and that is a good company. In fact, my big 16 inch diameter reflector is a Meade and I really like it. I found out, if it was in working order, his selling price was reasonable. So, I went back Sunday and it was still there. I made an offer $50.00 less than he wanted and he came down five. I then went up some and he down some. Got him to come down $30.00, so I bought it and brought it home.

That night I checked out the electronics (it is a “go to” scope) and everything seemed to be working as designed. I got to the place where it asked to be pointed at a couple of guide stars to get its bearings, but it was getting late and I was tired, so put it off for awhile. Not sure how good the optics are, but that doesn’t matter. What I wanted was the guidance system. I am planning to mount a green pointing laser on it and then let it find some deep sky object. I will then, by following the laser beam, zero in on the object with my big scope. Then turn off the laser. My big scope has me spoiled and I only want to use it, but it is a push and shove scope and it is hard to get it pointed in the right direction. Maybe you don’t agree, but I think I have the perfect plan. And, the new scope is small enough to take with me. Since I no longer have my pick-up truck with a cap on the bed, I have nothing that the big scope will fit in, so have to leave it at home.

OK, do you want to see some pictures of the new purchase? Here it is:

Don't forget, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.  And yes, this is a refractor.  That is new to me since all my other scopes are reflectors.

And one showing the hand control or input module:

This is the end you look through:

And this is the other end:

Now I have five telescopes, some good, some bad, and some real good.

You all have a nice mid week bog-down day, you hear?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Update on the Swamp

Since we have had little to no rain since last October (the worst drought this area has had in recorded history), there is not much remaining of my normally 5 to 6 acre swamp.  The original deepest part when the swamp is full was around five feet.  The picture below shows only the deepest part of it and only a puddle is left.  If it were full, the water would be almost to the top of those weeds and would extend past the edge of this picture:

(Pictures can be enlarged)

This next picture shows the hole I dug with a borrowed tractor back a few years ago. If we were looking at a normal water level, the water would extend to and into the tree line.

Here is a picture of the tractor I used to dig the hole:

I dug that whole out the last time the swamp dried up and that was in September of 1999. The difference in that drought is that it started in the summer time instead of the fall, so that the extra heat hurried things along. Now that we have been having a lot of days when the temperature has exceeded 100 degrees, I am sure any remaining water will quickly disappear. I guess it is just a cycle of life (or death). Nature can destroy but it can then repair itself quickly. Let us hope the repairing part starts pretty quick.

On a side note, I want to take a poll. When you swirl you coffee (or any liquid) around in a cup, do you swirl it clockwise or counter clockwise when looking down on the cup? If you swirl it clockwise, are you left handed? Just curious.

You all have a great day now, you hear?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wondering about a simple toy that made it big.

I have something in common with one of the greatest (and simplest) toys ever invented. I am talking about the Slinky. No, I am not wiry nor am I a contortionist, but I do walk down stairs. The big thing we have in common is that we entered this world in the same year, 1943, of course in different ways.

Got some information out of book we purchased at the flea market, entitled “Whiz-Bang Wonders From the Good Old Days” by the House of White Birches. A navel engineer, Richard James, knocked a spring off his work bench when he was making a meter for a battle ship. That gave him the idea, after watching the spring dance around. I must admit, going from war items to toys is a giant leap in the right direction. Don’t you think so?

Richard and his wife Betty spent the next two years working out the details. Then in the 1945 Christmas season, they were able to demonstrate it in the Gimbel’s Department Store in Philadelphia. They sold 400 Slinkys during the 90 minute demonstration. Because of this success, they founded the James Spring & Wire Co.; later in 1956 its name was changed to James Industries. They estimate that 250 million have been sold world wide.

Betty took over as CEO in 1960 and moved production to Hollidaysburg, PA where Slinkys are still produced today using the original equipment designed by Richard, who died in 1974. Poof Toys bought the Slinky brand in 1998 and Betty James was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2001.

I had and played with Slinkys when I was a kid, and my kids played with Slinkys. I am sure that kids today still play with them. The reason for its popularity seems to me to be its simplicity. It was up to you to figure new and different places and ways to get it to work. No batteries, no programming, no multiple pieces to get lost, no assembly required, just remove it from the box and it was ready to go. The only limitation was your own imagination.

Now how many of you had one? I bet most everyone did. Does thinking about Slinkys bring back any special memories?

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wondering about Cicada and Climate Change.

A little after 22:00 last night, I went outside when the dogs wanted out. On the skirting around my deck, there was Cicada breaking out of its protective skin; the skin it was wearing when it lived under ground. In all my years, I have never seen this actually happening.

Since it was so dark, my camera couldn’t focus on it, so I asked my wife to come out and shine a flashlight on it so I could get a picture. Of the three I took, two came out good enough to see what was happening. Anyway, I thought that you would be interested in seeing these two pictures:

Sorry that they are not pefect, but any picture is better than no picture, right?

I got an email from a friend that included the information below. I have always believed that one volcanic eruption would put more crap in the upper atmosphere than man could ever do and that Earth goes through warming and cooling cycles and that the ever increasing size of our sun will eventually cause the end of the earth. The following supports my opinions:


Interesting. Gives room for thought.

(Another fact based information accumulation)

Ian Rutherford Plimer (born 12 February 1946) is an Australian geologist,
academic and businessman, and professor of mining geology at the University
of Adelaide . You will appreciate his take on climate change
(aka: global warming).

Professor Ian Plimer could not have said it better! If you've read his book
you will agree, this is a good summary.

Are you sitting down?

Okay, here's the bombshell. The volcanic eruption in Iceland , since its
first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE
EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our
planet - all of you.

Of course you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to
suppress - it's that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to
live and grow, and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans, and all animal

I know, it's very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission
savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense
of: driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till
midnight to finish your kid's "The Green Revolution" science project,
throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares
of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your
SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit
every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50 cents light bulbs with
$10.00 light bulbs . . . well, all of those things you have done have all
gone down the tubes in just four days.

The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days - yes
- FOUR DAYS ONLY by that volcano in Iceland , has totally erased every single
effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around
200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud any one time -

I don't really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention
that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it
spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human
race had emitted in its entire YEARS on earth. Yes folks, Mt Pinatubo was
active for over one year - think about it.

Of course I shouldn't spoil this touchy-feely tree-hugging moment and
mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized
800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keep happening, despite our
completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.

And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the fact
of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and
Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our
world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.

Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon
tax on you on the basis of the bogus "human-caused" climate change scenario.

Hey, isn't it interesting how they don't mention "Global Warming" any more,
but just "Climate Change" - you know why? It's because the planet has COOLED
by 0.7 degrees in the past century and these global warming bull artists got
caught with their pants down.

And just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme -
that whopping new tax - imposed on you, that will achieve absolutely nothing
except make you poorer. It won't stop any volcanoes from erupting, that's
for sure.

But hey, relax, give the world a hug and have a nice day!

PS: I wonder if Iceland is buying carbon offsets?

OK, you all have a good day now, you hear?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wondering about noise.

The other evening when the lights went out (no electricity) it got so very quiet in my home. It made me stop and think of all the noise that we put up with 24 hours a day. Yes, even in the middle of the night there is plenty of noise coming from my house. It is no wonder that I now have to wear hearing aids; couldn’t be that I am just getting old (grin).

I decided to think about the noise. What is the biggest culprit? The TV has to be right up there on top of the list. Sometimes there are two TV’s on at the same time and my satellite radio playing blue-grass music and my wife’s satellite radio playing old radio shows (you know, like the Green Hornet, etc.). Next would have to be my computer system. When the UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) is running, it makes a lot of noise. It takes a lot of fans to cool a supply that big, it weighs somewhere between 200 and 300 pounds and can run all my computers and floor lamps and the TV for hours. The fans in my tower computers also seem to get louder the older they get.

Then you have things like the refrigerator, AC system, ceiling fans, coffee maker, and a whole lot of other things that you didn’t think made any noise. Our generation has grown up during a time when the ambient noise was increasing exponentially. Back when I was a small boy, it was a lot more quiet; less traffic on the roads, no “boom-boxes”, no i-pods, no TV and a lot less hassle. As technology advanced, so did the decibels.

When I first moved on this piece of property, the quiet was one of the things that I enjoyed. No, it wasn’t real quiet, but what noises you could hear where almost 90% from nature. You know, frogs, birds, insects, animals, wind, etc. Now, the traffic from the highway (which is located a mile away to the south) is deafening. A new Latino nightclub out on the main highway vibrates the air with a boom, boom, boom, as does a few vehicles that drive down our street with loud music coming from huge speakers. Dang, I hate them. Did you ever sit at a red light and your car was being rocked by the boom, boom, boom coming from the speakers of the car sitting near you? How’s come loud mufflers are illegal in a lot of areas and amplifiers are not?
OK, don’t want to get my blood pressure up, so enough of that. You all have a good weekend, you hear? We are off to the flea market. . .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wondering about the Mars Rovers.

Do you all remember those two little rovers that landed on Mars and thrilled the people of this world with their wanderings around our sister planet and the awesome pictures that they sent back? Well, Opportunity is still running around up there. In fact, on June 1st of this year, it has traveled 50 times the distance originally planned for the mission. This rover, Opportunity, and its twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. We have lost contact with Spirit but Opportunity just keeps on ticking, like the Energizer Bunny.

Here is a picture that the rover took on May 12, 2011 of a small impact creator. By the way, it was taken on the 2594th Martian day of the rovers work on Mars.

How soon we seem to forget the great feats of modern science. They seem to become ho-hum everyday projects. To me, a little rover running around on a planet with a very harsh environment for over seven years and still being able to take such great pictures and still beings able to communicate with us on Earth, is amazing and a wonderful technological feat. I don’t think any of the vehicles that I have ever owned would be able to stand up to such a harsh environment and still function as designed. We, the United States, have been the leader in space technology, but that may soon be coming to an end.

You all have a great day and keep chugging on like that little Mars rover.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Power Outage

Last night, actually early evening around 17:30, I was watching a show on the History channel and the electric went off followed about a second or so afterwards with a big BOOM. From the lag between outage and “boom”, I knew it was about an eighth mile away. I figured that a car ran into a pole down near the end of my driveway and took a transformer out. I walked out and down to the road. The neighbors were out and they came over to the fence and said the boom scared them, since it was right out side their house. I looked around and everything looked normal.

At the end of my driveway, on my property, there is a transformer that looks like it feeds my place and the neighbors on both sides of my front access lot. I looked and looked at it and it seemed normal. No burn marks and the fuse looked to be in place. I said it was definitely a transformer blowing or a big fuse blowing to make that much noise. Still didn’t make any sense, so I told the neighbor that I would go back to the house and call the electric company and report a problem.

When they finally got here, they replace a fuse on the transformer on the other side of the road. It wasn’t the one on my property after all. The repairmen were quick and said they didn’t find anything, but it was probably a squirrel that shorted it out.

I was prepared. Went to the neighborhood store and bought my lottery tickets (very important survival tool) and two gallons of cold drinking water (another survival tool). We were prepared to move out to the motor-home for the night. It has a generator and could run the AC and my oxygen machine, which I use when I sleep. Motor-homes are also a good survival tool.

I got an email from Discover magazine last Tuesday and it contained a video clip of the explosion on the sun (a CME). I was going to post it but forgot. Now, it is all over the TV news shows, so figured you all have seen it by now.

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wondering what new record will next be set.

Texas has been known for extremes. Why way back when I was kid growing up in Pennsylvania, I went to the movies (cost a whole quarter) and watched extremely bad guys get caught by extremely good guys in the extremely great state of Texas. Although I had been in a lot of different states (from Colorado and Montana to Maine and south to Florida, I had never been to Texas. I was in my late 30’s when I finally got to see Texas; flew into Houston for a job interview. Was extremely surprised that all I could see from the plane was green trees and lakes and rivers. Hey, what about that old cowboy movie that showed mountains, deserts, and cactus all around Houston? I guess writers take liberties and movie produces make the movies closer to Hollywood, right?

Texas has extremes in everything, from geography to climate. Today, somewhere in Texas you can find just what suits you. Tomorrow, you may have to move to somewhere else. The weather can change in a matter of hours or less. I have seen 30 to 40 degree drops in temperature as a “blue norther” blew threw. When living in the Dallas area, I went to work one morning in shirt sleeves and when I walked out of the building to go to lunch it was freezing.

The most extreme event I know of happened just ten years ago this week. There was a tropical storm (not a hurricane) that came close to Texas and just sat off shore for awhile. In one day, it rained an extreme amount of rain, 37 inches to be exact. I bet that was the most rain in one day since Noah’s time. It cost more in damages than most full blown hurricanes do.

Now we are in another extreme. Since last October until now, this area has been the driest it has ever been since records have been kept, according to the local TV news. I have been complaining about the drought in my area, now I have proof.

And heat, we had two days in a row that it hit 105 degrees. It not only set new records, but smashed the old ones by 7 degrees for those days. 105 degrees in this east Texas humidity feels like?. . .well. . . HOT as H***!!

Weather, geography, ranches, cities, people, industry, NASA, the Gulf coast, deserts, mountains, forests, plains, lakes, rivers, hot, cold, windy, quiet, clear, foggy, tornadoes, hurricanes, and a bunch of really nice days; yes Texas has all the extremes!!

You all have a nice extreme day now, you hear?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wondering; which way did I go?

First, let me apologize for not answering your comments on yesterday’s blog until this morning. I got a rush (paying job) at noon yesterday and worked all afternoon and evening to get it done. This morning is the first time I have been on the blogs since yesterday morning.

Second thing, it actually rained here yesterday. Very little, in fact you could see spaces between the drops on my deck. Is that what you call a two inch rain – two inches between drops? Well maybe next time the rain will not miss me.

OK, now to the blog. I heard a news story on the TV last night about a missing elderly couple. They had a big search going on between their kid’s house to theirs, only a few miles. They even had the equine people out looking.

You hear stories like this all the time and most have a very unhappy ending or the missing are never found. This time it had a happy ending, sort of. They were found over 500 miles away in Pensacola, Florida. All they had to say is that they took a wrong turn.

The bad part of that story is probably yet to come. The couple’s driver’s license will surely be pulled and even worse, they may end up in a nursing home. No matter what happens, this spells the end to their independence.

Now I know why there are so many older people who are full time RVers. They went on a trip one day and couldn’t find their way back home (grin). OK, I must admit that I did something quite similar a little over 20 years ago. I was working a contract job on the east coast of N.C. and my wife and son met me half way to trade vehicles. The next morning was cloudy when I left the motel. I didn’t realize I was going the wrong way on the interstate until I came to the state border. By the time I found an exit and got headed back the other way, I probably went an extra 300 to 500 miles before I got back to where I had spent the night. Made for an extra long trip back to N.C. and you ought to have seen the expression on my wife and son’s faces when I flashed the lights and waved at them when I passed them going the other way as they were heading back to Texas.

Maybe every time I leave the house, I should drive the motor-home. That way, if I can’t find my way back, who cares, and the powers to be reckoned with don’t have to know you have no idea where you are. Sounds like a plan to me.

You all have a great day, you hear?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jump’n Judas Priest” as my Grandpa would say.

Yes, I just found out that there is a heavy metal rock band by that name, but ever since I was a little kid (now I am talking about the 1940’s) I heard my Grandpa use that phrase as sort of a cuss word or exclamation of surprise. My Grandpa never swore, except for that phrase, and I would hear it a lot. During that time and since then I have never heard any other person ever use that phrase. Now, this morning, I am going to use it as an exclamation of disappointment. Let me tell you why.

Yesterday evening a lot thunder storms rolled through our area. Some were quite heavy with damaging winds, but most were just plain good old fashion East Texas summer thunder storms which, to say the least, were badly needed. I checked the radar and they were coming from east to west and there seemed to be quite a few of them. On the radar it looked like a bunch of them were headed right for me. WRONG!! They seemed to separate and some went north of me, but most of them went south of my location. Oh so close; I could see them, hear them, and smell them, but they did not reach out and touch me. “Jumping Judas Priest!!!!” OK, let’s have a little faith, maybe today???

They said on TV that since last October this area has been in the worst drought in recorded history, and my place has been dryer than all around me. I guess I should not have said how much I like the desert and how nice it would be to live there. Another thing; we broke all standing records by a bunch yesterday with the temperature hitting 105 at the big airport. The hottest I saw it here was 103, but I probably didn’t look at the thermometer at the hottest part of the day.

Well there you have it. It was a hot time in the old town last night.

If any of you have ever heard the phrase (Jumping Judas Priest) used before, let me know. My Grandpa was the only one that I have ever heard use it.

You all stay cool and have a great week, you hear?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wondering if it will rain today.

They are predicting a 30 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms for today. I will believe it when I see it. We have had one rain so far this whole year and it was less than half an inch. There have been storms go past us with in a few miles, but no rain got to my place. So cross your fingers and let us hope that we do get some of that 30 percent.

Because of something a reader said, I was looking back through some of my old blog postings and have decided that my old blogs were much better than what I am doing now. I guess I have either run out of steam or of ideas. Or maybe I am running out of hours in the day. I spent a lot of time back then searching through old pictures and scanning any I thought would be interesting and also looking through all the picture files stored on my computer. Guess I am running out of pictures and the pictures gave me the ideas.

When looking for a specific older blog, I came across one with a picture of my Dad and my Uncle (before I was born) with their pets, one pet being a ground hog. From what my Mother told me, the ground hog (or whistle pig or wood chuck) made a great pet. I know that a lot of people, especially here in Texas, didn’t know what I was talking about. When a friend and I were out walking this property that I was planning to buy (and did), I saw a big hole in the ground and said that it must be a ground hog hole. He said he never heard of a ground hog but that was an armadillo hole. Aha!! I am now in a different country, and boy, was I to learn just how different and in many ways. I am now probably more a Texan than the native born. I have lived here a lot longer than most have been alive. I have spent almost half my life here, and hope to be able to spend three quarters or even seven eights of my life here before I die (grin).

By the way, if you want to review that old blog, here is a link:


You all have a fine day, you hear?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wondering what the problem is with my blog site.

I have been told that some of you are having problems posting comments on my sight. I have no idea what so ever it could be. I have never changed any setting since I have started this blog. I enjoy comments, especially the humorous, the informative, or especially the ones that correct me and set me straight. Therefore, I am disappointed when I don’t get any or very few comments.

I know that no one comments every day on all the blogs they read. I sure don’t. I read a lot of blogs and don’t always leave comments and don’t expect you to, either. But, I would like to know that if you wanted to, you could. I don’t know why some of you can’t post comments, but I will keep trying to find out what the reason is.

I have been trying to figure out what prompts people to post a comment. Some of my best blogs (in my opinion) have been the ones with the least comments. Yesterday I posted pictures of bears that invaded my cousin’s property the evening before and stayed until yesterday morning. It only got two comments. The day before, I talked about mosquitoes and how long it would take my local environment to return to normal after this severe drought we are having. It got three comments.

The day before that, when I posted a short note stating that my blog would be postponed that day because of work, I got four comments. Saying I wasn’t going to post got more comments then a lot of blogs I spend a lot of time preparing. Maybe I need to skip a few days a week to keep from getting too boring.

I know that there is no set formula for posting comments. Some days I just read the posts and don’t comment and some days I comment. My decision to comment has nothing to do with the quality of the blog’s content. It is more on my mental state that day, or how rushed I am, or if I have anything that might add to the other person’s posting.

Knowing all these things, and the fact that Blogger is acting up and not allowing some to comment, I understand and am glad I get the comments that I do. I never, ever expected to get any followers when I started this blog and I never planned on writing one every day.

Sorry for such a boring blog today. You all have a great day, you hear?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just telling you the bear facts.

I just got an email from my cousin in Pennsylvania.  She told me that she had some over-night guests, and attached some pictures of her guests.  She and her husband live in a beautiful log home in the corner of what used to be her Dad’s farm.  No sense making you wait, I will show you the pictures.  The first two were taken last night and the last two were taken this morning.  Amazing!!
The last picture of the bear looks like old mamma bear is saying “Back off, or else!”.  My cousin is a brave gal for sure!

This is a heavily populated area. They do not live out in the middle of the woods somewhere. Of course that mamma bear is big enough to go where ever the heck she wants to go!!

You all have a great day now, you hear?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wondering about mosquitoes.

I have not seen any mosquitoes around my place lately and don’t seem to remember seeing any this year. See, there is a good side to the drought. Actually, on normal years, if we get enough of them in a row, the mosquitoes are not a big problem. That statement doesn’t sound right for a place that has a large swamp/pond located smack dab in the center of it. Let me explain.

When all is normal and functioning the way it should, the swamp/pond is full and teeming with life, including mosquitoes. Mosquitoes start off life as eggs that are laid in the water, which then turn to larva and then to the pupa stage. All this happens under water. Then they emerge as full adults and fly away. The males’ normal diet consists of plant juices and nectars, whereas the female needs blood to reproduce.

I have talked about all the varied things that live or visit my place, and it is a huge list. This list includes many types of fish that feast on the first three stages of the mosquito. Also a lot of other aquatic life feeds on them along with amphibians (frogs and toads). There are birds and bats that get the adults. All in all, it works out to a good balance and although there are mosquitoes, they don’t get out of control. Now, because of the drought, this balance goes away, and for a long time. As the water levels drop, it leaves pockets of deeper water that concentrates the aquatic life and therefore food becomes short and any food source will be quickly devoured, including mosquito larva.

But, you say, because of the drought there are no mosquitoes. That is correct, for now. Just wait until after the first rain. Shortly after that, there will be a huge cloud of mosquitoes hatch out, since there will be no fish to eat the first three stages of their life. It will takes years to get the swamp/pond back to normal, and that will only happen if we get normal or above normal rainfall. A mosquito’s full life span from hatching from the egg to larva to pupa to adult and back to egg only takes a matter of days. So the lowly mosquito can recuperate in a week vs. the years it will take the other aquatic life to get back to normal.

In the mean time, I am going to enjoy going outside anytime, day or night, and not be bothered by mosquitoes. It has been really nice not having any around.

You all have a fine day now, you hear?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Post will be delayed

My blog today will be postponed because of work, a rush job.  May not be able to post until tomorrow.  Thanks for understanding.