In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Summer Returns

 After a brief spell of cooler weather, with low humidity, the temperature is back up and the humidity at Summer levels. I think it's supposed to only last about another week, and more rain will sure be welcome. It's been a long, hot season and we need some relief. 

As far as politics, and current events, everything is still screwed up, those needing to be in jail are still walking free, and the cost of living is exceeding what I anticipated. May those causing so many of the problems be punished severely for their transgressions. Punish them many times and punish them again.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Paxton is Acquited

It's all over the news, with different summaries, but with the same result. Paxton's impeachment  trial is over, there wasn't any evidence to convict, and those that ran to the FBI without any evidence have placed holes in their feet. It did expose some traitors, which is good. May they live out their lives as pariahs of stupidity.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Condenser Coils, Fire Ants, and Rain

Yesterday was hot, even though it wasn't as hot as the last few weeks. The drought was still in full force, and after looking at my A/C condenser coils, I decided they needed cleaning. 

I removed the outside covers, wet the coils with water, and then sprayed professional coil cleaner on the coils. Even diluted as required, the amount of brown foam that appeared showed there was too much dust on the coils. Rinsing led to a stream of brown water from the flush of water. After dousing the coils until the water ran clear, I buttoned everything back up and fired up the A/C. I was a little surprised on how quiet the unit became. The fan must have been working hard to move air through the coils. I'd checked them at the first of the season, and they were still clean from last year's cleaning.

Inspired, I went to my sister-in-law's and did the same. I had one sister-in-law to help with putting the units back together, which really made the tedious task of keeping everything in place during reassembly much easier. There was one problem: fire ants. The last outside unit must have had a nest near the unit, and it was a large nest. When it's dry, they don't make mounds, and large colonies can be hidden. When the flush of water hit the ground, they came out to terrorize those flooding out their nest. The stings were painful, and they were rewarded for their effort with spraying insecticide where they accumulated. 

It was a successful venture, and all the units will be ready for next season. We had around 3 inches of rain today, which eliminated the dust that clogged the units, and what few cutting left this season won't allow the amount of dust we had over the last few month. 

We're a long way from ending the drought, and some places have received little rain. More is expected, and when we accumulate enough, the fire bans may be lifted. Still, with all the dead vegetation, dry winter winds ahead, and the danger of fools deciding to burn their trash, the ban might not be lifted for a long time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Day After

September 12, 2001 was the day it all started to sink in. More information was available, the desolation of the Twin Towers was now apparent, and the anger was beginning to swell. The final effect was a clear understanding of how ignoring what the Israelis did to prevent hijackings led to the disaster and the knee jerk reaction of ridiculous methods began. 

So, here we are today, millions of illegals crossing the border with impunity, bizarre happenings to food processing plants, known terrorists being apprehended at the border, and the question of how many got through. Some think another attack will happen again, if it does, the final result will be retribution against all that seem foreign. This can be stopped by making it illegal for anyone to rent, lease, hire, or house anyone that doesn't have legal documentation to be in the United States. They'll leave on their own. It worked in Carrolton Texas, until the government stepped in and stopped the process. 

Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Problem is Obvious

New Mexico's governor is attempting to end 2nd amendment rights for a month for "public safety". Her problem - which is obvious - is that not only is she as ignorant as a box of rocks, her attempt to void rights not only is a definite reason to have her removed from office, she faces criminal charges for her efforts. If I had to guess, she is today's shining example of EEO insanity. May her final legacy be as the dumbass that shot herself in the foot, while ignoring her oath to uphold the Constitution.

Finally, Some rain

We had a little rain today, when a line of thunderstorms passed through. According to weather forecasters, a weak front, impulses on the front, and outflow boundaries caused the quick thunderstorms that passed through. On the radar, it was impressive. On the ground, it was apparent most of the radar signatures were from the clouds. That, or the rain mostly evaporated before reaching the ground. I can see how that would happen, since it was exceptionally dry and the temperature was around 100 degrees. 

It's now 2:00 am and a second round is here. Lots of lightening, but from watching, it's mostly cloud to cloud with the occasional cloud to ground lightening. It is raining, but far from the deluge you would think by looking at the radar. I'll take it, and be glad whatever is causing my sinuses to act up to be washed into the outfalls. 

Tomorrow we're forecast to have some more rain, but from my experience, the early morning line of thunderstorms will prevent the squall line from forming again. Whatever happens, a little more rain would sure be appreciated. 

Meanwhile, it's glaringly apparent politicians, attorneys, judges and reprobates are hoping their meddling in the survival of people will wait while they posture and pontificate. They need to hurry. People are beyond restless. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

It's Been 12 Years

 Sometime over the weekend, my visitor counter turned over one million. That's monumental to me, although to some that's accomplished in less than a year, or in less time than that. It took 12 years to reach this point, and I have to thank all that visited, even the rascally bots. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

They'll Be Crying

 A local school district determined their funding by what I consider a bet on a long shot. With actual property values not as high as their projected value, the school district is having a budget squeeze. I don't feel sorry for them, or any other school district. Every year, property taxes that fund most of the school district budgets are raised by the 10% allowed by law. Otherwise, they get a 10% raise every year, and the lowly taxpayer has to foot the bill, unless they want to abstain and have their property taken at gunpoint. 

With the housing bubble about to burst,  property values will fall, and taxing entities will start crying. I have no sympathy. All I can say to them is "welcome to the real world", where income is limited, maybe fixed, and you have to live within a reasonable budget. Schools can serve themselves better by teaching civics that show how rampant government spending, ignoring rights, and expecting something for nothing are the creators of the destruction of a society. Maybe their students will go on to be citizens with integrity that embrace conservation of public resources.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Election Fraud and Punishments

 I was reading the Texas laws on election fraud punishments. They're too light. The proper punishment is 20 to life, registering as a convicted felon of fraud, the list of these people part of public record, and for those caught twice, the same penalties for capital crimes. If someone is willing to take the risk, that's their business, but if they're caught, no punishment, in my opinion, is too harsh.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

A Little Relief

 Since July 31, we haven't seen any rain, or had a threat of some relief from the heat. Triple digit highs were reached every afternoon, and the drought was starting to take trees. Fires were breaking out in some spots and one today north of us called for an evacuation. Pictures show a big enough fire to wipe out structures, and I'm hoping nobody lost their life. 

I took a nap this afternoon, and woke to rain hitting the window. I went to the porch and was rewarded with a cool, damp breeze and the large drops of a building thunderstorm. It didn't last long, but it did settle the dust. Another followed about an hour later, and I can even now see a trace of rain in the rain gauge. 

So, the weather folks are forecasting the persistent high pressure dome to start breaking down, the return of rain chances, and the warning to watch the Gulf of Mexico. Models show anything developing will probably go east of us, and give those people that don't need rain some more rain. It is what it is, and my forecast is we'll soon get a front to chance the dynamics of the weather. We need it, and the cooler temperatures will be appreciated. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Protesting the System

After getting my appraisal statement during the spring, and filing a protest, I had my hearing this morning. Those hearing the protest are members of the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). The chief comptroller of the county is there for reference and to represent the county. I won't go into the details, or the amounts, but I did get them to agree to lower the market value by half of the exorbitant amount the county had used for calculate the increased value. They voted on it, it was approved, and if I don't like it, I can pursue further actions, which I won't. I'm happy. The difference in taxes was almost negligible, with my exemptions, but the principle of the thing had originally made me furious. I really don't care what the market value is, or how much they envision they need to continue their bureaucracy, taxes should only be what people are willing to give, and the thought of knowing I never really own anything is infuriating.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Hiding From the Heat

 Staying indoors has been more than necessary for the last few days during the afternoon. Today was worse, and the 106 temperatures of the last few days was exceeded.

Me and the Extension Cord

I was "caught up" with my tasks, and whether the field superintendent asked, or I just took it on myself, an extension cord laying in the corner of the shop needed attention. Like many nights working offshore, there was little to do, since my basic task was to be available if a phone or radio call came from the bank. We were producing about 200 million cubic feet of natural gas at the time, and any loss required immediate attention. I would wake the field superintendent, he would determine if someone needed to be woke, and if so, I would wake one of the crew that worked for the oil company that owned the platform. I was a contract roustabout, worked alone at night, so I was only a helper at best. My chance of being hired didn't exist. Between equal opportunity tyranny, and the vets from the war in Vietnam, the line before me would have reached land.

The extension cord had tape around a section. Someone already made an attempt in repair, but they weren't successful, and removing the melted tape like it was applied became an effort in futility. I pulled out my pocket knife, and went to work on removing the tape. 

At that time, very young and ignorant, my knife didn't have a good edge nor was very sharp. To add insult to injury, it was a cheap knife, and with the knowledge I  now have, had a rolled edge due to the low quality steel. Still, it had some cutting power, if I pushed a little harder. That was my mistake. Pushing harder pushed through the tape, and onto my thumb holding the cord. 

For informational purposes, I can attest that several rows of electrical tape is much stronger than skin. My push to cut the tape led to barely cutting through the tape and almost to the bone on my thumb. Blood didn't just drip; it flowed and was leaving a small puddle as I watched.

For a moment, my mind wandered through countless thoughts of how to handle the situation. Should I wake someone up? Do I need stitches? Will I get in trouble? What is the best method for handling this situation? I put my other thumb on the cut and applied pressure. The bleeding turned into a slow seep, so I knew I was going in the right direction. Adding a clean rag from the wiper box stopped the flow completely, if I kept pressure on the cut. 

For a few minutes, I held the rag on the cut, and then checked to see if it had stopped bleeding profusely. It hadn't but the profuse amount of blood was less, so I went back to holding pressure on the cut. I did this several times over the next hour, and eventually the bleeding was slow enough for me to go find a bandage. I think I changed it once before my shift was over.

I still had my task to complete. My efforts to removing the tape had now made it an easy task, and revealed the problem with the extension cord. Whoever that tried to repair the cord had twisted all the wires together, and the reason for the melted tape became obvious. Plugging it in had probably immediately led to some smoke and a quick effort to unplug what would have been a small fire. 

I bared the wires, isolated each wire, taped each wire separately, and then placed several wraps of electrical tape around the entire splice. My father had shown me the procedure, and the knowledge came in handy. The extension cord now worked, although by today's standards, such things are not allowed. A new plug can be placed on each piece for a shorter cord, if the standards from a few years ago are still in place. Judging how things change, and how regulations are mostly ridiculous, most places would just throw it away and buy another to satisfy any safety official with little to do. 

Still, as much as the event was unpleasant at the time, I remember how quiet, and peaceful, the times I spent on an offshore platform could be. I miss them, and since then, I have never seen such clear nights, with a blanket of stars. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

My Opinion

 I've been reading, watching, and thinking about the fire in Lahaina. There are conspiracy theories of intentional efforts including an energy weapon being used by nefarious sources. After looking at current Google Earth photos, watching the videos, and analyzing what I've observed, the fire became out of control due to the following:

- The grass in many areas was not only uncut, it was dead from drought. 

- The buildings were closely built to other buildings and many were attached. 

- The winds were exceptionally high, with observed gusts above fifty miles per hour. 

- Electrical transmission lines were supported on poles leaning, or broken at the bottom. 

What I think happened was the high winds toppled electric poles, and the arcing wires started multiple fires. As the fires traveled, they became larger, the high wind added a blow-torch effect and the temperatures were well above one thousand degrees. When buildings became involved, the concentrated areas of fuel, with hydrocarbon building materials, the fires became large enough to consume structures in a matter of seconds. The fires consumed multiple acres of developed land in less than an hour, and the cars stuck in traffic only increased the conflagration. The supposed flashes seen in videos of an "energy weapon" were only transformer exploding from being grounded or the intense heat. The fact that some trees survived is not unusual, since the fire traveled faster than the amount of time for the healthy trees to be consumed. I've seen this before in a forest where the ground cover burned, but the trees were only scorched, and survived. 

So, the fire was a culmination of poor efforts to keep underbrush from reaching dangerous levels in drought, building codes were not sufficient to slow fires from spreading, and if I had to guess, much of the land values demanded people only bought small sections and they were filled with structures and personal items. With the added danger of energized power lines on poorly maintained poles, the conditions were perfect for what happened. 

That's my opinion, and I'm betting I'm pretty close to right. Is there anyone to blame? Not really, unless you want to blame acceptance of ridiculous environmental regulations, poor municipal management and poor judgement in allowing such things to accumulate. It was avoidable, but too many people weren't paying attention. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

How Bad Does It Have To Be?

 A less polite society would already have strung up some politicians and unethical officials. With some, if it had happened, I would have paid to see the solution, but it hasn't, and the madness of their efforts continues without any punishment. In my mind, I'm wondering how bad it will become before the pushback overcomes the evil, traitorous bastards that are trying to destroy the United States. Time will tell, but it's past time.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

So Now We Grieve

I've lost all my brothers. Grieving is a personal thing, but if somebody hasn't experienced the loss of a sibling, there are no words that describe the grief. 

My wife's sister passed away this evening. She couldn't breathe, 911 was called, and they responded in minutes. As they sat in the driveway giving her oxygen, making sure she was stabilized, she went into cardiac arrests. They got a pulse, but it was weak, and they had to stop on the way to the hospital for CPR again. My wife, and I, were waiting for some news, which wasn't good. She didn't make it, and the long, agonizing moments of "wondering what everyone could do that would have helped" started. It's natural. There's always that feeling you could have done more, spent more time with them, helped them at a certain time, recognized a problem before it happened.....the list goes on. 

So, the grief now starts. No words help. No soul searching finds an answer. They're gone, and regardless of how many years pass, time stands still, and memories only allow moments on the path to closure. 

God rest her soul, and God give the family peace. 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Despicable Censorship

 Badblue is one of my go-to sites for news. Apparently, they can't update their search ap, which prevents updates to their news links. According to the site, Twitter/X removed their access to the search capability, which in any language, context, or opinion, is censorship. Otherwise, either Musk is part of this, or not the captain of his ship. I will give some benefit of doubt due to a software glitch, but my suspicion tells me it's probably an effort to hide information.

Monday, July 31, 2023

The Frogs Will Sing

We've been under a high pressure system for weeks. Temperatures steadily rose, and the last two days yielded highs around 105F. Humidity was low, so nights were in the mid seventies. Forecaster called for more of the same all week, but one NOAA forecaster had a little note about the possibility of a Mesoscale complex in the evening. They didn't give a high chance, but there was a chance. 

I watched the radar over the evening, and the complex formed, but was moving slowly. One forecast showed it making it close, but dying out before it reached my area. It was wrong, and although much of system lost most of the punch, we received some cooling temperatures with rain. I won't know how much until morning, but it probably won't be much, except the amount required for the frogs to sing. I'll take it, make a cup of coffee, go on the porch, and wait for the choirs to start. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Daily Mayhem

In the past, it was a rarity to read a local news report about a shooting. Lately, it's a few times a week, and too many times the victim is just a bystander. That, and the photographs of the perpetrators show tattoos that probably don't indicate membership in a church choir. Otherwise, crime (organized and otherwise) is becoming too much of an advocation. It is what it is, but being armed is now how a sane person navigates this section of society. When you add the constant tax grabbing of the community "leaders", living in those cities is really a bad idea. 

Saturday, July 29, 2023

An Experiment in Warfare

In my opinion, the Ukraine war is a huge experiment in modern warfare, weapons, mind control and money. Weapons from every manufacturer is being tested for effectiveness, modifications are already being implemented, huge amounts of money are being made, politicians are enjoying large slush funds, and those being killed are collateral damage. Most of the general public is mostly apathetic, ignorant, deceived into thinking it's a worthwhile cause, or making their share of the money.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Judge Doing Their Job

 The news reports state that Hunter Biden's plea deal fell through. The main reason, from what I understand, is that accepting the plea conflicts with the fact an investigation is still ongoing. Otherwise, the plea would, more or less, insulate him from further prosecution. The judge didn't allow the plea, and Hunter plead "not guilty" to the charges. 

So, the judge was doing their job. That, of course, will infuriate the reprobates that have ignored laws for a long time. Time will tell how this turns out, but my hope is some really bad folks have their ass handed to them in a handbasket. May they suffer hours of anxiety before they finally arrive to prison.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Watching Mistakes

I've been watching a neighbor's construction projects. We're not close neighbors, so they don't seek my advice, although I would have some. 

One project is on hold, since the wind blew down the first wall. The purlins were too small for the span, the columns weren't buried deep enough, and the entire wall was only nailed to the column with dozens of nails at each connection. With no temporary bracing, the wind pulled the columns out of plumb before the nails allowed the sheeted wall to topple. Now it's laying face down, the metal sheeting screwed to the purlins. Removing the sheets requires either turning the heavy wall over, or sawing away sections of the purlins for access. Either way, a lot of work is required to repair a lot of work. 

The other project is a building over a large hoisting beam. The beam, from a distance, looks like an 8 inch wide flange, and weighs somewhere between 10 and 24 pounds a linear foot. It's sitting on top of two treated poles, and as far as I can see, there  is nothing, or very little, to fasten the beam to the columns. Lateral movement could allow it to topple, which would bring the rafters down. They're resting on top of the beam, bypass each other, and are nailed. The crucial cut to allow angle cut ends to create an A frame brace aren't there. Otherwise, if the beam moves, the entire structure moves. If the beam falls, so does the building; and it wouldn't take much movement for this to happen. 

The side purlins for the new building are 2 x 6's. That would be good, if the span wasn't around 12 feet. Without anything hanging on them, they're already sagging. With the increased weight of siding, the sag will become much worse. 

So, as it all progresses, I watch. Time will tell how it all works out, and I hope it works out well for the neighbor. I've seen much worse construction stand for years, but the force of a bypassing hurricane found the weaknesses. 

Added photos as per request. They're a little blurry, but enough can be seen.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Finally a Little Rain

The hot,  dry weather sucked the water out of the local ponds, grass was turning brown, trees were starting to show signs of stress, and the unrelenting heat was taking its toll on the effort to be polite. That changed yesterday evening. 

I watched the radar during the afternoon. The weather folks stated we had a pretty good chance of rain, but the radar wasn't showing much, until late evening. Storms brewed north of us and slowly started moving south. Before dark, the bow cloud arrived, and for a short time, it looked like the storms would pass to the east. 

After the bow cloud moved over, we didn't get the strong gust of wind that usually arrives with the change in wind direction. Behind the cloud, it looked like it was starting to clear, and I was thinking of how I needed to water in the morning. That soon changed.

From what I saw, the line of thunderstorms were developing overhead. We soon had the spattering of large drops, which was followed by heavier rain. A short deluge followed, and the lightning became intense. I retreated from the porch and went back inside. 

The storms only lasted about thirty minutes, but when they traveled farther toward the coast, they cranked up and became severe. With the storms in the distance, and the cool air pleasant, I sat on the porch and watched large nets of lightning racing through the clouds. No firework show can ever compare to the spectacle, and I consider such times a treat. 

I ended up with about 3/4 inches of rain, and the dry ground sucked it up with minutes. More rain is in the forecast for this afternoon,  but the chances aren't high. I'll take what I get. Any rain will be beneficial.

Monday, July 17, 2023

It Must Be the Money

 Charles Barkley is all in for Bud Light, and to further the decline of his advertising career, he's decided to show how big of an ass he can be. The link is in text below. If you're inclined to go read the story, you'll have to copy and paste it. It's probably a waste of your time. If I had to guess, his portfolio includes the brand formerly owned by a U.S. company. As far as I'm concerned, he can go pound sand.

Saturday, July 15, 2023


 I don't think there's any other description of current events. The following are absurdities:

- We're considered unreasonable for not accepting people wanting to change their sex as a whim. That, and the parents of children that think it's acceptable to mutilate their children for a social whim.

- An illegal drug is found in the White House. Regardless of all the security instruments, staff and protocol that prevents such things, we're supposed to believe it arrived by someone other than the closest staff of Biden or his family. According to the media, the investigation is over, yet in the time period since the discovery, there hasn't been enough time to even review all the security footage. 

- Biden, and his family, have been slushing tax dollars given to a corrupt country, it's well known they have, the authorities that investigate such things are sitting on their hands, and now we're given the same country weapons that are considered inefficient in purpose and allow what can be decades of injuries, or death, to unsuspecting citizens that survive a war the United States should never be involved with.

- The economy is in bad shape, every economic indicator shows where the problems are, the media covers the current regime's incompetence, and we're supposed to believe what we know are lies.

- It's proven the Covid fiasco was created, those most involved are not prosecuted, and people are still dying from the "vaccination" created to boost the revenue of unscrupulous drug manufacturers. 

- Huge corporations are destroying the investments of stockholders because some foolish, if not evil, executives believe using pedophilia, and cross-dressing, will not only keep good customers, but attract those that probably can only increase by revenue by less than one percent. 

- Regardless of how many times gun laws are struck down in courts, tremendous amounts of taxpayer's money is used to defend what is banned by the Constitution.

- Students that foolishly took on an unsustainable debt are falling for the same trick used to get their vote. There will be no relief from their students loans in a time short enough to prevent their bankruptcies. 

- Every religion in the United States is protected, except Christianity, that preaches no violence, love, acceptance and is no threat to anyone, except those that choose evil. 

- Regardless of opinion, most people don't think abortion is the practice of a healthy society, yet billions are wasted in tying up the courts with frivolous lawsuits, in spite of the ruling of the Supreme Court that removed the supposed right of abortion, and reinforced state rights. 

- The housing market is showing signs of cratering, since the prices have been inflated, interest rates are more than too many people can afford, and many buying a home are so far underwater in their loans, foreclosures will hurt the institutions that loaned the money. That, and government secured loans will again be thrown into the huge money pit of ridiculous policies. 

The list goes on, but anything added will be just as absurd. I have solutions, but our polite society won't consider them.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

A Sick Tree

 Years ago, my brother lived in a house with a beautiful ash tree in the front yard. Whether by design, or luck, it was in the perfect location to allow the canopy to not grow where it would cause roof problems, and the branches were in the perfect 33 degree separation to allow the maximum amount of growth. Usually, such efforts are in fruit orchards, or the pecan orchards we have locally. The maximum amount of yield is achieved from a tree with that shape. 

After a few years, my brother noticed the tree was losing leaves, and the usual lush canopy was becoming more bare by the day. As luck would have it, a close neighbor was having a tree trimmed by a professional, which allowed him to walk over to speak with the arborist. 

The arborist walked over to examine the tree, and told my brother what was wrong. He added if my brother knew someone familiar with concrete, he could explain what to do and save him some money. He explained the procedure, my brother called me, and I volunteered to help. 

The fork in the tree was holding water. This allowed rot, the tree was being damaged, and would eventually die. Our job was to remove the water, remove the rot, and place concrete in the void. The concrete needed to be shaped to allow drainage, and if done correctly, the tree would more than likely survive. 

The fork was about 7 feet above the ground, which required a small step ladder. Climbing up the ladder revealed the problem, and we went to work. 

First we bailed the water, then we took a wood chisel to the rot to remove the damage. We took turns and eventually had nothing but healthy wood exposed. At this point, the void in the fork was substantial, and I begin figuring how many bags of concrete we needed. I figured two to be safe, and we started the next phase of the project. 

I started mixing the concrete, while my brother sprayed all the exposed wood with pruning spray. I slowly added water to reach the perfect amount between dry-packing and flowable. I'd poured enough curbs to know the point. 

With concrete, you have a lot of options. Dry packing, which is where it can be packed into a voids, which allows repairs on walls, although you usually have to only place enough to fill most of the void and leave a shallow void for filling with a wet material, such as grout. I needed the point where the concrete was dry enough to work, but wouldn't slump when worked; just like for curbs.

I achieved what I wanted, my brother handed it up to me as I filled the void, and I eventually had the patch shaped like the contours of the branches. It was the right shape, but I didn't like the way it looked. I asked my brother to hand me the pruning spray, I sprayed it on the fresh concrete, and used a water brush to make the pattern of the trunk. The spray made the concrete a brown, which closely resembled the color of the tree. 

Over the next month, the tree started making new leaves, it eventually filled back out, and as far as I could see, it was healed. The patch could be seen, if you looked closely, but to a casual observer, it would be unnoticeable. I felt we accomplished our task, and saved the tree.

My brother eventually divorced, his wife received the house, and I didn't go back to her house until years later. The tree was gone. I don't know what happened, and I refused to ask. I didn't want to know if our effort was in vain, and even worse: I didn't want to know if it was a whim to have a yard easier to maintain.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

I Found This Interesting

 After the Titan failed, I began to wonder about the material "carbon fiber". I've used it to before in wrapping a bridge column to strengthen and prevent damage from the elements. It was a  unique application, and not for a long term solution. The bridge is now gone, since it was on a list to be replaced in five years. My work is now rubble somewhere. 

In my application, we painted the cleaned concrete with epoxy. The fiber was then wrapped from the roll around the column and we applied more epoxy. It was much like applying fiberglass, except for the materials. I don't remember how many coats we placed, but it wasn't many. Eventually we painted the completed sections with a paint designed to protect the fiber from the sun. 

I found this site about the durability of carbon fiber. It brought some thoughts to mind about how the Titan failed, the information of how it was never tested for certification, and whether the extreme conditions of the depths introduced a limitation of carbon fibers that can't be tested at the surface. Eventually, if the material is still used in this application, I doubt it will be used without engineering studies to determine if it is suitable for the environment.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

It Took Too Long

The Supreme Court ruled affirmative action for student selection as unconstitutional. I guess it's a plus, but this crap has been going on for all of my adult life; and I'm retired. If this is justice in the United States, then it takes too long, and those involved with punishing people because of their race are never beaten with stick for their actions.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

103 in the Shade

 That's the temperature a little before 5:00 pm. My porch is 108 on the shade side. The weather folks are showing 98, but I really don't see where their thermometer would be more accurate. It's location and surroundings. My location is hotter, and regardless of anyone's opinion, my thermometer isn't lying. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023

As We Sizzle

 According to the weather folks, we're in for some blistering heat. Temperatures are supposed to exceed 100 F (they were yesterday) and the high humidity will lead to heat indexes above 114 F. 

Everything to be done outside needs to be done before 11:00 am. Even at 8:00am, the temperature is above 80 and at that time, the heat index is already pushing 100.

It does get cooler toward sunset, but there is only a narrow window of about 2 hours. We've had enough rain to last for awhile, but the coming week will deplete the reserve, and everything will be stressed. It's watering time, and I'll have to keep a close eye on the cucumbers.

Friday, June 23, 2023


While working in construction, safety required a lockout/tagout procedure for certain items. One that always required the procedure was work that involved electricity. This insured a circuit couldn't become energized when work was on, or around, electrical equipment. That, or something that could move when electricity was supplied was prevented from that movement. These were the obvious reasons for the procedure, but one event really caught my attention after all involved didn't foresee something important. 

We were working on a large rail car dumping machine. In design, it was simple. The large frame supported the loaded rail car, which weighed around 200,000 pounds, and the bolt on gears that meshed with the gear reduction drive powered by an electric motor. Hydraulic stops came down during the dumping to keep the car from sliding down into the pit.

 The machine was designed to allow the cars to come in at grade, which meant much of it, and the drive assembly, were in a large pit. In the pit were a crusher for the product, a retaining wall, part of a sloped conveyor, and the drive assembly. A blower kept a steady stream of air to help keep the pit clear. The entire assembly, including the large concrete counter weights, sat on two large pillow-block bearings. The bearings had brass sleeves that were considered wear parts. Constant greasing was required, but even with the grease, the sleeves would eventually wear and need replacing.  That was our project. We were to replace the sleeves. 

From what I was told, the process had been done years ago, but a very large crane was used to lift the dumper for removing the weight on the bearings. For some reason, and I suspect some personal opinions were involved, we were to use the equipment in the facility to jack the dumper high enough to service the bearings, instead of the expensive crane. 

I can only write that it was a grueling, nasty project, since the material that was dumped was raw petroleum coke. It was sent from local refineries by rail, and the facility calcined the coke for different product, including the large anodes for aluminum smelting. Long, hot days accented the project, and nothing we removed, the cribbing, or the jacks, was light, or what anyone would call clean. Much of it required a small forklift we placed in the pit with a crane. Pinching, crushing, smashing, and bumping body parts was always a threat, and everyone had to keep their head on a swivel to avoid being the damage from a mistake. 

Access to the pit was down a ladder mounted to the concrete wall. It didn't have a cage, which inspired this post. Normally, a ladder that is taller than a few feet has a cage. It prevents completely falling backward from a ladder, and gives a connection point for a harness. They are more than necessary, and in the past, when climbing a taller ladder, I felt much safer knowing I had more to grab onto if I lost my footing. 

When the car was dumped, there was only about two feet between the swinging machinery and the ladder. Access to the pit was never allowed without a lockout tagout procedure that guaranteed the electricity was isolated, and the assembly was allowed to freewheel into it's balanced position. That was all complete before we started, but member of the company crew that were involved with original changing of the sleeves had a story to tell. 

They were preparing for the process, the crew was preparing to remove some equipment to allow the dumper to be lifted, and someone thought about what they hadn't done. The brake needed to be released to allow the dumper to seek it's static they did. 

In a normal lockout tagout procedure, energy is removed, and that includes stored energy, such as a car dumper seeking static balance. This is completed when nobody can be injured by the process. Failing to do so can lead to some dangerous situations.

One of the crew, I'll call him Gene, which happened to be what can only be described as a large man, was on the ladder and nobody noticed, didn't think about was about to happen, or really didn't care for the man (I didn't care for him either, he was a constant ass-kissing annoyance). The brake was released, the entire dumper swung down, and Gene sucked everything in hoping it was enough. It was, but not by much, and the event still haunted him. Getting crushed by something big enough to dump a loaded rail car is a sobering thought. 

We completed the project, I imagine our less expensive maintenance procedure allowed an engineer to put a feather in their cap. I was glad to think going home didn't mean a long time washing off the grime accumulated during the day. Petroleum coke is a nasty thing to deal with, and it takes days to sweat out what accumulates in the pores. White underwear is a waste of money, since it becomes gray after working in the facility.  The carbon doesn't wash completely away, and can even cloud glass after a long period of time.

As for Gene, years later, he managed to injure himself by not following a safety procedure. He eventually returned to work, but the last I heard, he wasn't working there any longer.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Some Thoughts Today

 A submersible has disappeared. News reports vary, speculation abounds, but it's now at the time the search and rescue is a recovery. Time will tell what happened, and they may never find it, but two of the most dangerous things to do underwater were attempted. One was going to an extreme depth, and the other was diving on a wreck. Adding the lack of rescue equipment on hand, and the recipe for disaster was complete. 

Adam Schiff is officially censured. That's seems to be a poor trade-off for keel-hauling.

The alphabet sex crusade is finding push-back. Companies are losing huge amounts of revenue, schools are becoming battlegrounds, and a substantially small part of the population will now find being severely outnumbered is not the same as having the high ground. How it ends is yet to be seen, but the pendulum is now swinging in the other direction, and it never swings lightly.

A young, impressionable, advocate of climate Nazism is having a breakfast of crow this morning. She'll probably not share it with her smug, evil handlers.

Gas prices went up this week. It's summer, people that want to go vacationing need to be punished, and the annual event has started.

Fox News is going all in with becoming a wannabe CNN. That's like chasing a crippled goat down a steep canyon. Only fools can understand the process. 

Locally, the shootings are numerous. That, and the rural criminals are finding the pickings aren't as good as they are in the city. I blame much of this on the economy, which leads to the actions of the government,  which leads to decades of the EEO policies. According to those policies, the only qualifications needed for the most important of jobs are the color of skin and genitalia. It sounds good, until you realize the $250,000 submersible trip to the Titanic is from a company that embraces the policies. 

It's been hot here, but not as dry as last summer. If someone asked me what I thought was happening, I'd say the tilt of the Earth's rotation creates an annual event where solar radiation is more direct, and this leads to longer days in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, many would disagree because they worship at the alter of AGW.

There's more, but I need to go make breakfast. That, and maybe do something productive today.

Added Note: They found the submersible. Debris indicates it imploded. From what I've read, carbon fiber can't be tested for structural failure, so a serious flaw could never be exposed. I don't know if those involved were ignorant, or decided to cross their fingers and hope for the best. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

It Was A Good Trip - Part 4

Driving into the mountains of the Lincoln National Forest was a high point in my life. When most of your life is spent in the Coastal Plains of Texas, or the swampland of Louisiana, mountains are a treat. Besides the splendor, and vistas, the lower temperature is pleasant. Adding the lack of high humidity makes it even better. Photographs really don't show the depth, but the steep hills are something to see. 

It was early, and not that far from where we would stay, so we detoured to Lincoln, the central point of the Lincoln County War and the escapades of Billy the Kid. Any tourist attractions, or vendors were not there. Apparently, since it was before Memorial Day, everything was closed, except the local sheriff's office. I met him, when I pulled off the road for my wife to take a picture, and he sternly reminded me to be completely off the paving, if I wanted to stop. I pulled off, he gave me a dirty look, and drove on. I doubt he has much use for tourists, unless they open their wallets to help the local commerce. 

I'm thinking there's much to see inside the buildings. There's much history in the area, but without that, the following picture pretty well sums up how small Lincoln is. 

Maybe, one day in the future, we'll return during the on season. For those that are thinking of going, wait until after Memorial Day, and enjoy the trip to and from. That, and think of how rough life was during the late eighteen hundreds. Navigating that brutal terrain had to be tough, and herding cattle a nightmare.

This was the start of our visit to this part of New Mexico. Our motel was in Ruidoso, which is beautiful, but definitely a tourist town. There is an airport nearby, which allows those with airplanes to fly in for whatever reasons. I can't write anything bad about the city, and for those that like tourist areas, it's fantastic, and the people are nice. I'll just post pictures with notes to shorten the description of the next few days. 

Fort Stanton Cemetery, which is a national cemetery. Graves are from every conflict, and it takes hours to walk among them, if you decide to do so. There is a directory. 

Looking west toward the Gila Mountains across the White Sands. I don't know how many miles this is, but it's a substantial part of New Mexico.

Mexican Canyon Trestle. All that remains of a narrow gauge railroad used to haul the original huge Douglas Firs from the mountain to Alamagordo. Better photos can be found on the internet.

Trail that allows you to wander among the Three River Petroglyphs.  It's in the Tularosa Basin.

One that stood out to me. I'm thinking with the amount of access, some may not be original. This one looks very old. There are many, and if it's hot, wandering can be a dangerous effort. That, and unsafe for those that are not surefooted. 

Small Catholic church down the road from the petroglyphs. 

Ruins near the church. I'm thinking they're really old, since I've never seen those types of bricks at Lowe's.

Dry wash near the ruins and church. I don't know where the parishioners come from, but it must be far away. This area is best described as desolate. 


 Part of the Carrizozo Volcanic Fields. The history of the volcano that created the fields is interesting, and you're supposed to be able to see the cone, if you know where to look. I couldn't see anything that indicated a cone, which is around ten miles from where I was. 

After we came home, and I looked up the Trinity Site, I realized were not far from where the first atomic bomb was tested. That's something I'd like to see, but the rigamarole to go is complex, and offered only a few times each year. Even then, you ride a bus to the site and are warned to not pick up the green glass that is still radioactive.

One of the last places we stopped, before going back for our last night at the motel, was of a large area ravaged by a forest fire years before. The bare hills were once covered with Ponderosa Pines. Generations will never see them, and from what I saw of the forest, a substantial amount of forest was either logged, or burned. 

The trip home was basically uneventful. We chose a different path through Texas, which allowed us to see multiple miles of rolling hills covered with sparse, dry vegetation interspersed with hundreds of oil wells. We spent one night in Waco, and made the much shorter drive the next day.

I didn't have the time, or money, to spend the amount of time I would have liked touring New Mexico. There's caverns, the Gila National Forest, and multiple square miles of things I'd like to see. What I did see only made me want to see more, and maybe I'll get the opportunity again.

I have to add that when I started these posts, it seemed like something good to do. After it was all said and done, I realized they look like what I dread, which is someone wanting to show me photos of their vacation. It's not that it's a bad thing, but people lose interest after about fifteen milliseconds, and want to move on to something else, or go home. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Well....It Got Away

Yesterday, while attempting to ring a bell on my sister-in-law's porch, I was attacked, and stung, by a stealth wasp. Stealth wasp? I never saw it. I must have turned my head for a moment, it flew from inside the bell, stung me on my right arm, and was gone before I could see what it was. 

I know it was a wasp, since bees leave their stinger, and the pain is different. I haven't been stung in years, but the familiar pain reminded me of years ago, being stung by a wasp, and ending up at the doctor, when the red streaks started up my leg. I was young, and don't remember what they did for treatment, but remembered a cigarette tobacco poultice usually helps. With a convenient ash bucket close, I made a poultice out of a butt, and applied it. It helped, but I was still wary. 

After a few minutes of waiting, realizing no severe reaction would happen, and being totally pissed, I went home, washed the area, and took an antihistamine. Later, an area about 3 inches in diameter appeared, and felt warm to the touch. 

Today, the area is still there, itching, and slowly fading. It will disappear in a few days, and if it's like some wasp stings I've endured before, the muscle will ache for days. 

It's time to get out the Bifen, spray her porch, spray around her house, and kill whatever insects are trying to inhabit the area. He porch is a really nice place to sit, and in the evenings, it's cooler than my porch. Wasps aren't invited, and will be executed as needed.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Sultry Misery

We've had excessive heat warnings for days, and more to come. The mornings are in the upper seventies, the humidity is a wet blanket, and doesn't go down much during the day. Heat indexes are in the triple digits, which means sweat doesn't dry and the lack of evaporation leads to body temperatures in the dangerous level. 

This will eventually change, and according to the weather folks, we'll transition into a pattern of increasing thunderstorms. The intensity is the question, but some think we'll be exposed to those with hail and high winds. Time will tell, but the heat is drying everything to the stress point. Without water, we'll be getting burn bans, and wildfires started by those that ignore the burn bans. 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

It Was a Good Trip - Part 3

The first thing I noticed about New Mexico was the immediate reduction in the speed limit. In Texas, when the highway is in good condition, and the conditions are favorable to higher speed limits, it's not uncommon to find 75 mph maximum speed limits on roads some might think is too fast for conditions. Whether that's good, or bad, isn't nearly important - in my opinion - as allowing those the opportunity to cover the same distance in a shorter period of time. The 65 mph speed limit was way too slow in my opinion. 

The long highway had power poles on the south side of the road, and at least every other pole had a bird nest in the crossbar. The appearance of the nests reminded me of those made by crows in my part of the woods. A little research by my wife, and the only birds to be seen during the drive, made me certain we were seeing the work of ravens. At first, I thought they were crows, but they were larger, as were their nests. 

We stopped for my wife to take a photo of one in its nest. Unperturbed by our intrusion, it just watched as she got out and took the photo. 

Considering the surrounding area, the lack of water, and the general desolation of the plains, I wondered what they had to eat. I, also, wondered if the number of nests were the current, or a combination of new and abandoned nests from years past. I'll probably never know, but if some were old, they must have been built well. There is nothing to block the wind, and strong winds are known to blow in the High Plains. 

I have to add at this point that the High Plains in this area were in a drought during our trip. The dry, arid landscape probably has some better foraging for cattle during wetter seasons. There are fences, which indicate cattle ranching, but it would take a lot of acreage to keep only a few cattle alive. We didn't see many, which either indicates they're moved to other pastures, or sold at auction at whatever price that could be had. Oil wells dot the landscape, so regardless of the cattle business, oil could still provide income.

We passed through a small town named Tatum which is part of a large county, with a seat in Lovington, New Mexico. There's a lot of territory between the county seat, and Tatum. As far as I could tell, Tatum is a necessary location for those living in the northern part of the county. I didn't see a grocery store, but it might have been off the main drag, but there was fuel, convenience stores, and the customary Family Dollar. It didn't take long to pass through and on to a longer section of empty highway.

During this stretch, we came upon signs for the Mescalero Sands. I'd never heard of the area, and a road offered access. It didn't take much of a drive down the road to make us turn around. The road became progressively worse, and the large rock provided for traction wasn't what I wanted to drive on. It may be a great place to visit, but from what I could see, it was like a really big beach. I'm not much for sandy areas after years of dealing with it in construction. It's always gritty, can ruin a good sandwich, and very unpleasant when the wind is blowing hard.

We crossed the Pecos right before Roswell. Nearly dry, about two dozen feet long, and only some muddy water was all to be seen; except how the channel, and bridge, can take a beating if the river is in flood. 

Roswell is much larger than I thought. With a population of over 40,000 people, and being a county seat, it's far from a small town with kooks capitalizing on UFO's and aliens. Only a few small businesses are related to the incident, and Roswell is best described as a clean, prospering smaller city. We only stayed long enough to have lunch and stop at a pharmacy for something we forgot to pack. For someone wanting to visit, there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and from what I've researched, it's close enough to many things to see in New Mexico, including what is in Roswell. As far as where the "spaceship" crashed, that location is about 75 miles away near Corona. Roswell only played a part because of the Roswell Army Air Field was involved with the investigation of what a rancher found on their land.

We soon headed west and toward our destination. It was early, so we had time to dawdle and see what we felt like seeing. We weren't far out of Roswell when I saw something in the distance that caught my eye.  At the time, I didn't stop to take a photo, but did on the way home.

That's the first sight of the Capitan Mountains. On the way there, there were clouds behind the mountains, and the view wasn't nearly as clear. Still, it was a sight for me, since I was born, raised, and worked most of my life in the flat areas of the Coastal Plains of Texas. Mountains are far away, take a long time to reach, and views with anything poking above the horizon are not to be found. I was impressed, and the flat land soon turned into rolling foothills without much vegetation. 

We'd soon be in the Lincoln National Forest, and I was anticipating the visit. 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

It Was a Good Trip - Part 2

Before we left the next morning, and while drinking the free coffee, I spent some time examining a tree I'd never seen before that was planted next to the parking area. I attempted to look it up on the internet, but couldn't determine exactly what it was. I couldn't tell if it was native, or one of the trees chain hotels can plant that won't survive; especially if the manager doesn't keep up with the grounds.

The photo isn't the best, but the flowers in the morning light were a deep purple. It appeared to be thriving, so I have the feeling the architect used species that can survive in the locale climate. 

Breakfast was part of the deal, so we ate what was a satisfying full breakfast before we packed, loaded the car, and headed out. It was relatively cool, and the clear skies forewarned of a hot afternoon.

There are two ways to head west from Snyder. One route is through Lamesa into Hobbs, New Mexico, and the other is taking a little jog to the northwest before turning west toward Rozwell, New Mexico. We chose the latter, since I wanted to see the city with the history of government coverup and aliens. 

I wasn't expecting the scenery during the first of the trip to the New Mexico border. I was thinking it was mostly desert, sparsely vegetated, and very dry. It wasn't. The amount of plowed acreage was astounding, and many water wells, with piping, dotted the fields. There was some drier areas, but not nearly as much of the real estate was barren as I expected. 

What was remarkable were the number of empty houses that appeared on the highway. I have a feeling they were farmers, or ranchers, at one time, but without the resources to drill for water, or a few bad years, the effort became futile, and they abandoned the property. Maybe the were lucky and sold it, but some probably lost their dreams to a tax lien, handily satisfied at a public auction. I doubt many had the mineral rights under their land, and if they did, the money to be made from the oil could allow leaving a hard life. I'm thinking most just sold out ( if they could) their children moved away when they could, and some just passed away in a lonely place. 

Outside of Tahoka, Texas, we came upon a historical marker:

I had a somber moment of thought as I digested the history about the spot. First, you have to consider the terrain. Every creek, or outfall, we crossed was completely dry. During the time of the incident, water was necessary for men, and horses. Considering how dry this area can be, even the hunt for water could end in tragedy...which it did. An unsuspecting, or ignorant party, could be led all over what is best described as wasteland from a long distance. Dust on the horizon could get your attention, and if you were looking for a particular group of people, you'd travel in that direction. That's what happened, and the fate of the commanding officer wasn't detailed. I doubt he stayed much longer on the frontier.

Traveling through the town of Brownfield led to a small section of the town refurbished with brick streets. The section was rough. Brick isn't good paving, unless the brick is set in concrete. This wasn't and the paving was showing the signs of uneven settling. I'm sure someone thought it was a good idea, but considering the amount spent, it will need replacing far sooner than conventional construction.

Somewhere during this time, we stopped in one of the small towns for some coffee. As we prepared to go, a chicken started across the highway, dodged the cars, arrived at our side, and promptly repeated its effort to cross back to the other side. After that, it continued on its path toward a house behind the business across the highway.

The closer we came to the New Mexico border, less signs of civilization appeared. The entire area we'd been driving in is called the High Plains, and flat is the best way to describe it. History shows it was only hospitable to nomad tribes of Native Americans at one time, and even white settlers didn't do much with it until water wells were drilled.

Reaching the border revealed only a change in pavement type, and a "Welcome Texas" sign in the rear view mirror. The highway was straight, the surrounding area was completely flat, and if it wasn't brown, it soon would be. I stopped after a few miles, and took a picture of the long straight highway. Roswell was ahead, and it would be awhile before we arrived.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

It Was a Good Trip Part 1

 My wife, and I, kicked around two locations for a trip, and the Lincoln Mountain National Forest won. The Big Bend area was the other, but the border mess, and a long range forecast of rain, made us decide on New Mexico.

Years ago, during my wife's first marriage, she went with her husband to return to the state where he was born. From what I can surmise of the trip, there was a lot of ground to cover, and not much time to stop. The trip was hectic, and she didn't get to spend some time in the mountains of the Lincoln National Forest. She spoke about the beauty. Looking at photos of the area convinced me it was the choice to make.

The trip to our destination of Ruidosa N.M. is attainable in a day, but the thought of driving for 12 to 14 hours wasn't a pleasant thought. Snyder Texas would take between 8 and 10 hours, and the five to six hour on the next day would allow time to wander as we traveled. 

We started around 7:00 am, and took a route that allowed back roads. We could have taken interstates for most of the trip, and probably saved some time, but that's not how we travel. The smaller highways, less traffic, more scenery and history are what we like. You really can't understand Texas unless you stay away from the larger cities, and you are willing to stop now and then. 

Some of the route was familiar, until we turned on SH 7 in Centerville. We stopped for coffee, and a pit stop. I'd been this way years ago, and really didn't remember much of the trip. It was a new adventure for both of us, and we both anticipated the new discoveries. 

The first thing to catch our eyes was near a small town named Kosse. A bridge over a large road was unfamiliar, since they usually are over railroads. This one was different, and the appearance of a large dump truck gave it away. It was a mining road, and off in the distance was the large drag line scooping away large sections of earth. Looking to the left, we could see the cleared areas, and the areas being reworked. Eventually, the mine will run out of coal, and the large drag line will be left in place, or scrapped. Now, it was feeding a power plant somewhere close. I knew it existed due to the transmission line crossing the highway. A little research shows it's south near another small town named Franklin. 

Seeing the mine brought back a conversation I had with two workers a few years ago in Hearne, Texas, which is not far from Franklin. They were mechanics for a large machinery company and working on a local drag line in a mine. They said there were a few years left for the mine, and when it was done, the machine they were working on would probably remain. It took a long time to assemble, and economics dictated the costs to move it would probably never be contemplated. At the time, I thought of the economic impact this would have on the local communities. Seeing the large area that depended on the endeavor made me think about it again. There's not much of anything to support that many people. When the mine is closed, there is no doubt in my mind many will have to move to survive. 

As we continued, outside the small town of Moody we encountered something that caught our eyes. On the edge of the highway, in between, and on the edge of a county road, was a cemetery. There was no fence, most of it was grown over, and a few newer graves signified it was still in use. Surrounding the entire area was acres of corn, and the planting was to the edge of an imaginary demarcation. It said a lot about the area's past, and many rural areas, where there is no perpetual care cemeteries, headstones can be as simple as a large rock, and the care shows any family left has passed, or moved on. Eventually, many graves will be lost to time and nature. Faint memories would have long gone, and even if someone wants to find the resting place of a relative, time has removed all vestiges of their existence. 

The further west we traveled, the more hostile the terrain became. The lush green of East Texas was replaced by more scrubby vegetation, the oaks were small, and much of the farms were irrigated by wells. The rolling hills offered more vistas, and the pioneers crossed my mind. What did they see? What did they think? And how many were buried in the prairie in unmarked graves? It had to be a hard existence, and the lack of water guaranteed only the most hardy could survive. 

We stopped in a town named Hamilton for something to eat. We'd eaten breakfast hours before, and it was past the noon hour. My wife found a local hamburger restaurant with good reviews, so we pulled in for something to go.  

Hamilton, like many of the smaller towns that were on our path, is a county seat. We saw many, and most were small towns. The surrounding areas are mostly farms or ranches, and there is usually a railroad passing through. Many still have rail sidings for the crops, and the towns are probably the only place for locals to shop.  

The reviews were right about Woody's. Compared to the fast food chains, the prices were similar, and the homemade burgers brought back memories when there weren't many fast food chains. Hamburgers were handmade patties, the vegetables were fresh, the bun was browned on the flattop, and fries were hand cut that morning. I was reminded how I missed the way burgers used to be, and was glad of our choice. We ate as we drove, and the scenery was starting to drastically change. 

The closer we came to Abilene, the more mesquite was to be seen, and prickly pear was along the fence rows. Some mesas were visible on the horizon, many covered with windmills, and it was obvious cattle had sparse grazing. Where in Central Texas the cattle were butterball fat, the cattle there would have to go to a feed lot before processing. 

We didn't see much of Abilene. A farm to market road bypassed much of the city, and when we reached Interstate 20, we headed west. A fairly short time on the interstate brought us to a small town named Roscoe. We turned north and another short trip led us to Snyder. 

Snyder is surrounded by hundreds of windmills and thousands of acres of fields. Some held the vestiges of the winter wheat harvest, some were ready to be harvested, and the majority of the acreage was fresh plowed. A question to the hotel clerk where we stayed brought the answer to what was about to be planted: cotton. Research shows it's a major crop, and judging by the number of workers that arrived at the hotel later, it takes a lot of transient workers to accomplish the task of planting. When you add the workers for windfarms, and the oilfield, hotel rooms without reservations are slim to find in Snyder at this time of year. I was glad I made reservations a few days before. The clerk told me all rooms were booked, and no rooms were available. 

We didn't see much of Snyder, and with what turned out to be a 10 hour drive, a fast food meal was all we wanted. Rest was mandated, so we settled in early for an early start the next morning. At that time, I would be further west than I've ever been, and I was curious about what we would see. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Home Again

 I've been home a few days. I'll eventually write about my trip...of maybe not...but I can write New Mexico is a fascinating place, and I could spend months exploring.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

What's The Proper Punishment?

 I received a notice today that my vehicle's warranty was about to expire. It was the right model, but there was absolutely no other information, and it definitely wasn't from the manufacture. Whey would they send such a thing for a brand new vehicle? Otherwise, a scam, or spam, for what is probably a bogus warranty. It's easy to sell one, and it's just as easy to disappear when any claims are needed. 

There needs to be some type of punishment for such crap. My punishments:

- Wash 1200 cars in 2 years or less to the owner's satisfaction. 

- A 20 mile walk in the desert. No water if the more than 50 letters were sent.

- 10 lashes with a cane.

I can think of many, but would rather have commenters offer their suggestions.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Probably Won't Work Out for Some

Weather forecasters are showing days of heavy rainfall for areas in, and around, the Rio Grande Valley. The river, and tributaries, can rise quickly, which will mean swimming the river a risky endeavor. I wonder how many will try, and how much garbage the media will report?

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Weather and Mayhem

The day before yesterday morning, I had to put my car in the shop. I'd made arrangements with the owner, and the insurance check was in, so it was time to have the hail damage repaired. It was a smooth process, and the rental car was just down the block. 

I left, went home, ate some lunch, and my wife went to the grocery store. The radar showed some thunderstorms to the north, but they appeared to be moving away. I didn't think much about them, until I went on the porch about 30 minutes later. 

Approaching from the north was a huge wedge cloud. By the swirling of the clouds, the updrafts, and the bluish slate wall of rain, I knew some really bad weather was approaching. I went inside, texted my wife about the weather, and before I could go and secure the porch, the storm hit. 

I rode Ike out at my old home, and had a wind gauge when I worked offshore, so I have a pretty good idea of wind speeds. We were getting steady 40 mph winds, with gust approaching 60 mph. The rain was horizontal, and the wind blew the porch furniture over. I couldn't do anything but watch. I immediately called my wife. 

My wife didn't answer, and more calls went unanswered. The storm was now in full force, and I was worried she was driving into the weather. She was, and her phone call soon followed. 

I couldn't understand a word she was saying. She was screaming, crying, and everything she said was muddled by the heavy rain, with the small hail, that was hitting the car. After moments of my own panic, and her calming down, I realized she hadn't wrecked, but could only barely see in front. I told her to pull into a driveway, and wait the storm out. She did, and picked a drive that wasn't surrounded by trees. Our conversation continued, and we both became calmer when the worst of the winds started to subside. 

As the storm further lessened, she attempted to drive on home, but was met by a man in a pickup that waved her down. He told her the highway was blocked by a fallen tree, and she wouldn't be able to get through. I told her to turn around, and make the 40 mile trip by another route. She was hoping she might be soon able to pass, but I cautioned her on how it could take hours, especially if there was a wreck ahead. 

By now, the electricity was out, and the encouraging report from the power company was the electricity would be back on by 5:15. That was a good thing, since the outage map showed the outage wasn't by the main power company that supplies our co-op. In the past, if the main utility was involved, the estimated times were never accurate. 

My wife picked us up a burger on the way home. It was near the time the power was to come back on, and we were both hoping it was the correct time. It wasn't, so we decided to go to her sister's. She usually will fire up the small generator on her porch and brew a pot of coffee. 

She hadn't started her generator, so I offered to her my belief that doing so would probably lead to a wasted effort, since such things usually lead to the electricity coming back on after the effort was made. She agreed, I started the generator, and she started the coffee. I was wrong on the timing, but the pot of coffee was our reward for trying. 

My wife described her experience to her sister. As it turns out, she was in the heart of the severe thunderstorm. Our trip to town yesterday revealed the worst of the damage was near the drive she found. The pine tree that had blocked the road had a trunk over 18 inches in diameter, and had snapped about 6 feet above the ground. Oak trees were also down, but the wind had blown them over, leaving huge root balls exposed. Debris littered the shoulders, and large limbs lay on both sides of the highway. Whether a tornado was involved will probably never be known. Rural areas don't get much attention, unless someone actually spots a tornado, or the damage is obviously the result of a tornado touching down. The weather service did warn of a possible tornado, but only had radar data to work with.

I decided to step out my sister-in-laws back porch to watch the light rain. As I stepped to the edge of the steps, my old Crocs announced they were officially worn out, and did so by allowing absolutely no traction. 

For the next second, my brain processed millions of bits of information. Physics, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry calculations started, and time stood still as this happened. I could have had another cup of coffee while this occurred, and as I fell, all the vectors of my trajectory indicated the efforts for control would not lead to me landing on my feet, and a sigh of relief.  

I landed on my left side. Now, parachutists would advise this is the incorrect side to land on, since that's the side the heart is on, but I've never had such training, nor the time think about such things. My mind was too busy working out calculations to correct my lack of balance.

I now have to suggest that if you must fall, do so on wet, saturated grass. It provides a pliant, although wet, surface that helps prevent serious injury. That's what I landed on, which was much better than the steps I observed as gravity pulled me toward the center of mass. 

I laid there for a few seconds, while my clothes soaked up water. I didn't feel any pain, but had that sneaky feeling I soon would. I didn't feel anything, except the loss of my pride as I finally stood up. I was wet on one side, but as I looked around, I realized nobody had seen me fall.

I walked back inside and announced to my wife, and her sister, I had fallen down the steps. They looked at me, I could see their disbelieve, but my wet clothes were convincing. They were soon concerned, and my wife insisted we go home, so I could change clothes, and she could examine me for injuries. We soon did, she was satisfied there was no terrible injuries, threw my old Crocs in the trash, and we went back to her sisters to continue where we left off. 

They watched me, and kept asking if I was okay. I was physically okay, but my expression was not convincing. I was thinking about falling, how a few inches might have led to a serious head injury, and trying to determine what led to the fall. I went back on the porch, approached the steps again, looked at the edge, realized the new step treads were not as rough as the porch, and it all fell into place. 

"Are you okay?" they asked as I stepped back in.

"Yes, I'm fine. but still thinking about falling." and I was. Such things remind us that are older we are not ten feet tall anymore, nor bullet proof.

Somewhere during this episode, the power came back on. I went and turned off the generator, we talked for a little longer, my wife, and I, went home, and the day ended. A hot bath guaranteed a good night's sleep, and we were soon in bed.

Yesterday, we had more thunderstorms, but they were far from severe, and didn't drop much rain. I was relieved. I had poured out 4 inches of water from the rain gauge, and another heavy rain event could flood the road. The body shop had called to tell me the car would be ready tomorrow afternoon. That's a good thing, I'm ready to get our car back. 

This morning, I awoke at 4:00 am. I laid for awhile, then decided to get up. Sometimes, when I listen for awhile, I'll hear low thunder, which probably is what woke me. I didn't hear any, but after watching the weather last night, I was suspicious storms were on the way. 

I made a cup of coffee, and went out on the porch. The fog was thick, and glancing to the sky revealed an occasional peek at a dim moon. Moving clouds would obscure the moon for a few moments, and as I watched, I heard a low rumble to the south. I looked at the radar on my phone, and the forecasted rain is on the way. 

I don't know how much rain we'll receive, but hope it won't be much. The creek that is our main outfall is full. More heavy rain will back up the drainage, and the water will soon creep up the ditches on the road. 

Oddly enough, my left elbow, that has been bothering me for awhile, is not hurting. My left shoulder is a little sore, but I'll take that if the fall somehow knocked my left elbow back into place. I won't analyze it too much and count my blessings. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Lost Nuances

I've noticed that the digitized recordings now being played are not exact reproductions of the original recordings on long play vinyl discs. Subtle efforts of the original producers are gone, and in some situations, background parts are so subdued, you really have to listen for them. I don't like it, but it is what it is.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

My Observation

 I've been looking at some photos of the coronation of Prince Charles to king. What comes to mind is a Monty Python skit. I'm sure it's not the perception of many, but many probably are thinking the same thing. 

Friday, May 5, 2023

Arguing with Science

 A few times in my life, I've been, more or less, thought of as someone that is pulling data out of my butt. It's a little disconcerting, since such things can lead to people thinking you're a modern day Cliff Clavin. (for those that don't understand what that means, look up some old episodes of Cheers).

My brother, years ago, was incredulous of my telling him about a brutal day of working in Galveston, Texas. The heat index - according to calculators that do such things - was above 130 degrees, but I could tell he was not believing me. I let it go. He wasn't there, and he had no idea how miserable it was. Fifteen minutes in that heat was beyond exhausting. I had heat cramps that bowed me up like a cut worm. 

Today, I went through the same thing again. I won't say which family member doubted my explanation of why it was so uncomfortable, but here is the data:

Humidity - 77%

Temperature - 93 F.

My calculator shows the heat index was 122 F.

I could be depending on a calculator that gives false answers. Then again, I could be right. I won't go through the mathematics because I'm too lazy, and I need something cold to drink.

It Could Happen

What if Hunter Biden, realizing he's in the deep stuff, decides to turn on his handlers, and his father? Wouldn't that be rich? Old Joe prosecuted as the head of the crime organization, many of his associates guilty too, and getting to watch them frog-walked into jail? 

It won't happen. I wonder if somebody has some good life insurance policies on Hunter?

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Complaints and Deaf Ears

 A local news report is about homeowners upset about the appraised values of their property. I can only say: "Welcome to my world". Sometimes an official protest works, but taxing authorities are run by minions with canned answers. They don't care, they are paid to harass you for your money, and they have people with guns to guarantee they receive what they steal with legislation. It's just like the mafia, except they want you to believe it isn't.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

It Was Windy

 The Galveston Ferry is about 1 1/2 hours away. Every once in a while, my wife, and I, will go for a day visit, or a visit with a stay overnight. Usually, we won't go on a weekend due to what can mean over an hour wait for loading on the ferry. During off times, the wait can be only a few minutes, or even never stopping before loading.

Yesterday, we decided to go for a few hours, and due to the partly cloudy, cooler weather, took a chance the ferry wait wouldn't be too long. It took about 40 minutes before loading on the way over, and about 20 minutes on the way back. Considering it can take much longer, the wait wasn't terribly long, and with the cool, strong north wind, cracking the windows was enough from becoming too hot. 

The wind was creating a pretty good chop of around 4 feet. This doesn't translate into a noticeable rock in the ferry, but when the wind is in certain directions, the cars on the front of the ferry may receive some spray. Yesterday was one of those days. 

The photo is of a ferry coming from Galveston to Bolivar. The wind was causing considerable spray, and the cars at front were receiving a soaking. I was concerned we'd be placed in the front on our way home, and suffer the same. Luckily, we were one of the last three cars on the ferry, and away from the spray. 

Galveston had many tourists. I'm sure many are fascinated by the city, and the history. My wife loves the city, but after spending months living in a hotel, and working on the port side, I don't have a strong urge to go, unless it's during the week, or during the winter. It's a fascinating city when you venture down the Strand, or travel the older locations that reveal the long history of the city. The beaches are beautiful, but unfortunately, it's attraction is towards tourists, and my personal experience isn't the best when it comes to tourists. Still, I'm sure for some it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I hope they enjoy their visit. Me? I can't stand how they jack up the prices of the hotels on the weekends, and the crowds.