Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

Close Encounter of the Dolphin Kind!

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Close encounter of the dolphin kind

It was a crisp, clear and windy October day. The first strong cold front of the season had swept through the Coastal Bend of the Gulf Coast and had dropped the temperature considerably, offering cool relief from the long, lingering heat of summer.
I eagerly ditched work on this morning, calling in sick of course, and loaded my gear onto my van and headed to Port Aransas.
I parked on the beach between the Horace Caldwell Pier and the south jetty of the Aransas Pass Ship channel. The windsurfing conditions were superb. A north north east wind was blowing around 30 mph and gusting a bit higher. The waves were small but well formed as they swept in towards the beach in long lines wrapping around the jetty. The wind was parallel to the beach helping to give the waves their clean shape.
After quickly rigging up I lifted my board by the rear foot strap and took the mast in my left hand while raising the rig off the sand. The boom was pointed down wind and I slowly backed my way to the water dragging the nose of my 12 foot six inch F2 Lightning over the sand. When I reached the water I pulled the rig towards myself and simultaneously turned the nose of the board out to sea. I let go of the boom and the wind blew the rig so it flipped over which kept the end of the boom downwind. You never want to handle a windsurfing rig by pointing the boom upwind, bad idea!
Now I took the boom by both hands while pushing the board out into the water. As soon as there was enough depth I quickly performed a beach start, stepping up on the board and sheeting in on the boom.
This quickly put me under power and I headed out into the waves.
Sailing on a port tack I pulled in on the boom and my 6.8 sq. m. sail shot me over the wave face, and I skipped over the wave, getting some air, and into the next and the next repeating the action.
Once I was outside of the line of breaking waves I kicked down my center board and sailed as close to the wind as I could intending to tack upwind for a while so I could return to the beach in close proximity of my launch spot. This would also allow me to sail on a broad reach giving me the maximum speed possible.
The conditions were perfect, I thought, and I sailed in and out riding the small waves and getting my little jumps going out, great fun!
The wind seemed to be picking up a bit so I decided to sail further out to sea and ride the swells. As I came about even with the end of the 1,000 foot long Horace Caldwell Pier I saw the splashing of a small school of mullet as they raced along the surface in an apparent panic. Soon I saw the source of their fear as a medium sized bottle nosed dolphin was in hot pursuit.
I realized that I was on a collision course with the sea mammal and the dolphin, concentrating on its prey, did not seem to see me. I held my course until I was very close. The dolphin then looked at me in what I thought was a startled expression of total surprise. It broke off its chase and dove down into the water.
I thought it was pretty funny, and continued sailing. Shortly after I was surprised to see the dolphin again, this time it was swimming straight towards me, on a collision course, moving very rapidly! Suddenly I didn’t think it was all that funny. Just as the dolphin closed in it again dove down into the water and harmlessly passed right beneath my board! Wow!
That wasn’t the end of the encounter. The dolphin appeared again and it came close by and swam on a parallel course right beside me. It was very close; I could have reached down and touched it. We looked each other in the eye. The animal’s expression seemed one of amusement as it let me know who was the real master of the waves.
I talked to it. I said the same things I said to my pet parakeet. “Pretty boy!” I had no idea if it was a male or not. “Good dolphin!” And I whistled to it. It took no notice of my vocalizations but its calm demeanor and expression made me comfortable and unafraid. It followed me for a few hundred yards until it broke formation and swam away. I felt very fortunate to have had a moment of play time with the beautiful cetacean.
I returned to the beach with reinforced admiration for these magnificent animals.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Water Parks? In Worse Drought In History? Really?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rick Perry: Bat Shit Crazy!

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Pastor Perry; aka Preacher Rick

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Black Skimmer Population In Decline

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A story in this morning's paper notes the local black skimmer population is in decline. The story seems to express puzzlement as to the reason. The reason is clear, loss of habitat and pollution.
The demands of economic development always exacts a price on the environment. For years in the nineties I was a windsurfing instructor along the JFK causeway. At that time there was a large nesting colony of these fascinating birds. Several years later prominent real estate developers pushed the construction of the new elevated causeway which chased away the skimmers. This was an obvious cause/effect situation that has been repeated over and over in our area and developers are clamoring for more.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blake Farenthold Votes To End Social Security,For US Default

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Perry says "I will run If I Am Called!"

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Perry Makes Dumb Joke At Latino Conference

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry addressed the Latino Elected and Appointed Official's conference in San Antonio on the the 28th of last month. Perry has long struggled with the perception he is insensitive to Latino issues and he is eager to appeal to this fast growing demographic.

He used this opportunity to boast about a recent appointment of a Latino, Jose Cuevas, to head the state Alchoholic Beverage Commission. He said that Jose Cuevas sounds like a popular tequila brand name. Reportedly the joke did not go over well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Perry Issues Flurry Of Vetoes As Special Session Ends

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

My New Novel Now Listed On Amazon!

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My new novel, The Case of the Grave Accusation, is now listed on Amazon, both in the U.S. and the UK. I am very excited to see my first book in print. The book will be released on June 27 and is now available for pre-orders.
This is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche about Holmes and Watson traveling to the present day to investigate an author who claims that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had plagiarized the Hound of the Baskervilles from a friend, murdered him and committed adultery with his wife. Well! When I heard about this I thought "This is a case for Sherlock Holmes!" Thus came the idea for the story.
The publisher is MX Publishing of London. This company has a large line of Holmsian pastiches and other works. One of their leading authors and Holmes experts, Paul R, Spiring, edited the book and added a section to the book which expands on the actual case which inspired my fiction. I hope Holmes fans and everyone else will enjoy the book.
I am so encouraged I have returned to another novel I have been working on which has been languishing lately.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

City Hall's New $10,000 Timer

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

American Bank To Pay For Harbor Bridge Lights

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The American Bank has announced that they will pick up the tab to light the Harbor bridge. I wonder if they will re-name it the "American Bank Bridge?"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"I Never worked For A Poor Person." Blake Farenthold

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Civic Pride Campaign

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There Should Be No "Official" Texas Music!

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By Karen Brooks
Associated Press
An effort to make Western swing the official music of Texas could see miles and miles of opposition, as one Hill Country music lover finds herself in the opening stanzas of a debate over what defines "Texas music."
"When we're talking about a symbol, we're talking about culture and heritage and history, and something that has been long lasting," said Paula Jungmann, a Boerne housewife who is pushing for the legislative declaration. "When I look at Western swing, that is what I see."
But while she counts no time in politics, Jungmann is discovering that elected officials and creative artist types are pages torn from the same songbook in two big ways:
You never know what they're going to do, and you'll never get them all to agree on anything.
Some musicians — and the "Beer-drinkers and Hell-raisers" who love them (thank you, ZZ Top) — are wondering whether lawmakers should be trying to define and symbolize Texas music in terms of one genre.
Particularly if it leaves out Hank Williams' pain songs, Newbury's train songs and "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain."
"The official sound of Texas should be Texas music in all its glorious facets," said Texas writer Joe Nick Patoski. "No official proclamation is necessary when everybody knows we make music better than anybody else."
Do Bob Wills and Asleep at the Wheel get the nod over Janis and Willie and Stevie Ray and Freddie King? Is swing more of a Texas icon than country or Tejano? Does Tommy Duncan trump Selena, Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez,
and Buddy Holly? What about the modern sounds of Erykah Badu , Arcade Fire and Explosions in the Sky?
The lilting poetry of George Strait and the raucous protests of Steve Earle and the made-for-the-road tunes of Pat Green and the Dixie Chicks? Let's not forget about jazz great Ornette Coleman, and the hippie favorite Edie Brickell and the Cajun rhythms of Marcia Ball, and the Texas rock of Doug Sahm and Roky Erickson.
And where do the Germans fit into all this?
And how many people will respond to this article listing all the people who haven't been mentioned here?
(For the record, more than 130 Grammy winners alone hail from Texas. So, "I quit. I give up. Nothing's good enough . . . ." Thank you, Edie.)
Jungmann said there is no better icon of the Lone Star State's dance hall heritage than the jazzy, progressive genre first made popular by the likes of Bob Wills and Milton Brown in the 1930s.
It's what drove her to spend the last three years of her life writing to congressmen and state lawmakers to persuade them to add swing to the long list of Texas symbols, which also include the bluebonnet, the mockingbird, the Dutch oven, salsa and the cowboy boot.
A GOP senator from San Antonio rose to the occasion and filed a lyrical resolution singing the praises of the music.
"Born and bred in Texas, Western swing is a musical melting pot that represents the diverse groups that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of our state and the distinctive way of life that has flourished here," reads the resolution by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, "and it is indeed a fitting symbol for the rich cultural heritage that is shared by all Texans."
Of all people, you'd think Ray Benson, founder of the legendary swing band Asleep at the Wheel, would be on the bandwagon.
The front man is as complex and surprising as Western swing itself, and he turned down a request to support the resolution, saying he'd rather see them honor all kinds of Texas music.
"I would hate to have to stand next to my fellow musicians who play blues, rock and roll, jazz, opera, and say, 'Your music is not our official Texas music,'" Benson said.
Eddie Wilson, founder of the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin in the 1970s, now owns Threadgill's, a cradle of Texas music. And he also has a problem with politicians relegating myriad artists to the B-side.
"The one huge thing Texas music has over all the rest of the world is diversity," Wilson said. "We have more types of good music than any other geographical designation on the globe. Making Texas swing 'official' just cuts it down."
But Jungmann is not alone in her desire to see Western swing and the dance hall tradition, in all its glorious promenade, stay vibrant.
"It's a symbolic way of honoring Texas' musical past and to create an awareness of its history, especially for generations who haven't been fortunate enough to experience that part of Texas culture," said Tom Buckley, editor of Texas Music magazine, who supports the measure.
A few other versions of the idea have been floated: state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, said he may try to change "western swing" to "Texas music." And Benson suggested creating a second official state song, like "San Antonio Rose" or "Miles and Miles of Texas." The Wentworth resolution is awaiting a vote in a Senate committee, and Jungmann is determined to boogie back to Boerne with a victory.
She knows Western swing has made Texans dance all night for generations. She just wants it to stay a little longer.
Highlights of the proposed resolution to make Western swing the official music of Texas:
"In the field of music, Texas has nurtured important developments in a variety of genres, but of the many styles that have thrived here, one is particularly emblematic of our state's unique character: Western swing."
"A lively sound that has enjoyed enduring popularity over the course of nearly a century, Western swing reflects the ethnic diversity of Texas by encompassing many of the musical traditions that were introduced to the state by the groups that settled here."
"A key to the appeal of this spirited music is its exceptional ability to get people dancing; this quality, too, is evocative of Texas, a state in which dance halls have historically been central to the social life of its communities."
"Born and bred in Texas, Western swing is a musical melting pot that represents the diverse groups that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of our state and the distinctive way of life that has flourished here.

This is my take on this "official" music idea!

This is a really bad idea! I love western swing but there can be no one, single type of music named as the "official" Texas music.
I am a Texas born musician who is now semi-retired but I have been playing music since the 60's and I have seen, performed with and listened to thousands of great musicians of many different genre. Are you going to tell one group of musicians and fans that "their" music is not "official?"
What about Willie Nelson fans? Nearly everyone would agree that Willie Nelson is the de facto "official" musician of Texas. He does play some western swing but his music is mostly just plain country music, with a strong helping of blues and other influences.
Well, too bad blues lovers, Lightnin' Hopkins fans, Leadbelly fans, Blind Lemon Jefferson fans. Your music didn't make the cut!
Too bad Tejano fans. Flaco Jimenez, Freddy Fender fans, they didn't make it either.
Sorry rockers, forget the 13th Floor Elevators, Steve Miller, Edie Brickell and all the others, not "official" enough!
I think Texans used to be proud individualists and could think for themselves. Is that no longer the case? If so then I think my personal favorite music, "Texas Blues," should be the "official" music of Texas and as for everybody else that's just tough!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Texas To Raise Speed Limits

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Perry Flip Flops On Washington's Involvement In State Affairs !

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Texas Governor Rick Perry has spent the past few years bashing Washington and the Federal government. He has been very critical of the President and has flirted with secession. He produced a book, Fed Up, which outlined his complaints about so called "big government"
Now Texas is beset with a huge and tragic outbreak of wildfires burning across large sections of the state. These fires have caused entire communities to evacuate and have destroyed many homes.
Perry has sent out an urgent appeal to FEMA and the President for help saying that Texas does not have sufficient resources to deal with the scope of the disaster. This is true and it is proper he should do that. It is also true that FEMA and the Federal government will respond with aid. It is correct and proper they do that.
There is some irony in this.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

City Has A Plan To Finish All Of The Unfinished Projects!

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The city is on top of things as usual!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blake Farenthold Says Safety Net Now Should Be Called "Safety Hammocks!"

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Blake Farenthold has continuously insulted those who need some form of government assistance, including social security. He says instead of safety nets we should now call them safety "hammocks!"
This from someone who inherited a fortune and is listed as the fourth wealthiest member of the current GOP freshman class in Congress.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Little Lord Farenthold

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Newly elected Congressman Blake Farenthold has repeatedly expressed his scorn for those receiving any kind of government assistance, including social security. He calls it welfare. He may not know that working people pay into these programs throughout their working lives in the form of payroll deductions. Social Security, far from being "welfare," is a mandatory loan a worker makes to the government, which collects no interest and which will not likely ever be paid back in full when a worker retires. Nevertheless it is an extremely important of most retired senior's income.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Farenthold Displays Hostility Towards The Poor, The Retired and The Disabled

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Appearing on C Span recently Blake Farenthold, the Republican who defeated Solomon Ortiz for his long held seat in Congress, representing the 27th Congressional district, displayed a disdain and even hostility towards the poor, un-employed, Social Security recipients and Lone Star Card Holders. Farenthold suggested those programs should now be referred to as welfare! Just another Marie Antoinette moment for the rookie rep

Monday, February 28, 2011

Corpus Christi City Council Sends Contradictory Messages!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sphinx of Texas

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Hopefully it want take as long to get rid of Rick Perry as it did Hosni Mubarak!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Does New Ordinance Outlaw Sale Of Pipes In Corpus Christi?

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Perry's Baby

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Perry Catches Flak For California Trip During Big Freeze!

From Fort-Worth Star Telegram
By Dave Montgomery

"RICK PERRY WAS CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' WHILE TEXANS ENDURED BLACKOUT NIGHTMARE," screamed the headline of a news release from Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Gray. Perry is in California to participate in the 100th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's birth. But spokesman Mark Miner said Perry was monitoring storm-related developments back home.
"It shows the Democrats are out of touch," Miner said. "He's been in constant communication with the office and is dealing with the weather situation and other issues facing the state on a regular basis."
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas ordered rolling blackouts Wednesday to deal
with power plant breakdowns. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, serving as acting governor in Perry's absence, oversaw the emergency, but Perry also issued a public statement urging conservation measures to "minimize the impact of this event."
On Thursday, Perry was aboard the USS Ronald Reagan and was to spend the night on the aircraft carrier. Perry is among hundreds of Republican dignitaries who will be at the festivities commemorating the birth of the 40th president, who died in 2004. Perry left Texas on Wednesday and is expected to return Sunday. Miner said the governor is also using the trip to meet with military leaders and discuss economic development issues
with California business leaders in hopes of luring jobs to Texas.
But Democrats accused the governor of "fleeing Texas for California during Wednesday's blackouts." Gray called Perry a "Beverly Hills type of guy" who's "focused on becoming a national GOP celebrity but couldn't seem to care less about everyday Texans."
"While we endured a power grid breakdown that literally left us in the dark and looking for answers, the governor not only offered no leadership -- he was nowhere to be found,"
Gray said.
Dave Montgomery is the Star-Telegram's Austin bureau chief. 512-476-4294

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Read more:


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dewhurst Proposes Raising Auto Registration Fees To Pay For New Roads And Repairs

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With Texas' budget problems likely to far exceed the modest estimates put forward by the administration of Republican Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant governor David Dewhurst, of course a Republican as well, has made a proposal to address some infrastructure needs.
It is obvious to anyone driving on Texas roads and highways that there is a huge need for repairs and expansion to help alleviate traffic. Dewhurst wants to supplement the $8 billion dollar annual budget of the Texas Department of Transportation, not by raisng taxes, anathema to Republicans, but by an increase in vehicle registration fees.
Dewhurst claims this is not the same as raising taxes. Of course it is a regressive tax which will hit low income Texans much harder than those with higer incomes.
Dewhurst is considered to be the most wealthy member of the state government with an estate of more than $200 million. He is also widely expectesd to run for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2012.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bob Hall Pier Construction Project Collapses!

Photo: Caller/Times
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Add yet another disaster to the list of uncompleted and delayed local construction-destruction projects supported by local government entities.
A concrete pad under construction on Bob Hall Pier collapsed this morning when crews began pouring concrete. According to news reports the pour was near half way when the structure collapsed. No injuries were reported to any of the work crew.
The pad is part of an expansion project for the pier and is expected to cost about $850,000. The project was expected to be completed by early spring. Wanna bet?
Nueces County Coastal Parks Director Scott Cross said the construction will be delayed about two weeks. We'll see about that.
This collapse raises many questions. Was the project properly designed and was the engineering approved? Were corners cut? Is it really necessary in the first place?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rick Perry Coronation

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City Keeps Cash Pipeline Open To American Bank Center

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Nuces County Airport Losing Money

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