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.

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.