Friday, May 26, 2006

Political Outrage

Anybody hear about the latest brouhaha in D.C.? Apparently, a known swindler, Rep. William Jefferson, D-La with shady connections in Africa, had his office raided by the FBI. I say he is known swindler because his chief of staff was just carted off to jail for bribery. This Jefferson man’s up to his eyeballs in Tiki-Pooh.

Yet the nabobs in the House of Representative went ballistic along with the Senate, saying there was a “separation of powers” and the FBI needed to give all the files and moolah back to Jefferson, based on the US Constitution.

Folks, the separation of powers applies to the US Congress and not individual congressmen and congress women. Where is the outrage that these folks, highly paid PUBLIC SERVANTS, should each be above our laws?

That’s right, they’re PUBLIC SERVANTS not some members of a secret club that can deal in hush money, kickbacks, and all kinds of influence peddling. With public approval of Congress in the range of 30% and the Presidency not doing much better, you’d think they’d do a little better.

I’m not going to make any accusations, but the same attitude and impression seems to be going on with the Cameron County Commission voting into a sweetheart deal with Doyle Wells to commercialize our local crowned jewel, Isla Blanca Park.

I say kick all the bums out! On Memorial Day, 2006, it is time to reflect on those that lost their lives to defend our country, and what we’re defending it for … and it ain’t the greedy politicians on the take.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fake SOBs Spotted on Island

It has come to attention that some yahoos are calling themselves "locals" and even "Sons of the Beach." An example is shown above, him of course hiding behind his Whopper. I mean, I've lived here almost a year but I don't claim to the either or both, other than having fun meeting the real locals and SOBs. But honest, folks like in the picture there, that is WAY too much (thanks to Jules at her 'Bruni Digest' blog for the fake SOB picture). Is this some kind of ploy to convince the gals we need more "renting" in the E District? I shudder at the thought ...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tiki Queens

A good time was had by all at the Tiki 'Lighting of the Torch' shebang at Palm Street. Thanks to the kayakers, conga drummers, Malcom the old Tiki King, singers (yes, those Sirens rock!), and of course all the folks, who seemed to number about 60-80 at times. Oh, and we even had a pro Polynesian dancer named Caroline, I think was her name. Here's a picture of two of the Sirens warming up before the show - Nancy and my Tiki Lori.

Did I mention that fireworks went off at 9:15, as if orchestrated just for us?

This year's Queen of the Sargassum is JoAnn Evans. Next year Nancy wants to do a 'Turtle Ball' but by most accounts, folks wanted to continue April Arbor Day and May Tiki Day festivals we inspired. As yes, light the Tiki torches maybe Friday and a formal ball on Saturday ... hopefully it will be OK to tango!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bad Fences, Bad Neighbors

Well this one ought to get your all stirred up – how about building hundreds of miles of fences on the border to keep out the Mexicans? Today the US Senate approved a measure to authorize 370 miles of fencing and the House has already approved 700 miles. Naturally, nobody knows where the money – appropriations – is going to come from. It is sure to cost billions by any estimates, not including patrolling and maintaining the suckers.

I already know why folks want such a fence, since it makes the (you fill in the blank here) feel good. “Good fences are good neighbors.”

OK, but at what cost? Sure, border apprehensions in the Tijuana District went from 100,000 a year to a few thousand today, but the coyotes and folks are just moving their routes to Arizona … and coming in bigger numbers and having more deaths in the desert. So, do I get this right, we will build a few hundred miles of fence to make MORE people cross the border and cause more people to die?

May I also remind the humble reader that 700 miles of fencing, as dictated under the House plan, would stretch from Atlanta to Chicago. Wow, that’s a big ole DMZ (demilitarized zone, but extremely militarized). See, plans are for three fences, each behind each other. One is a favorite for the frontline is to use old aircraft landing pads made of steel, which is no longer any good, to make vertical panels. This is so the drug dealers and coyotes can’t crash their vehicles through the fence. The picture shows the welded landing panels at the Pacific side south of San Diego. You can just imagine it at the Gulf where the Rio Grande comes out – you know, the border.

Then, there’s a 12-15 foot fence made of barbed wire, called “Sandia wire” for the inventors at Sandia Labs. Nice touch. The final coup-de-grace is a regular cyclone fence with curved compound wire on top. The entire triple fence system is over 150 feet wide, allowing border patrols and the military to conduct their operations, patrols, and raids. Of course, the fence system is just bristling with motion, light, heat, pressure, and other remote sensing devices, which requires a lot of teckies and geeks. Heck that’s a lot of resources we’re talking here, when you talk about mountains, deserts, streams, cables, computers, and so forth.

My point is not that anything is good or bad – sorry for sounding sarcastic – but that it costs a lot to construct, operate, and then figure out if it did any good for the investment. As a businessman I face these questions every day. For example, over the last week I was going to purchase some data software for $11,000 … that would make me exactly $11,000 in cash, thereby with absolutely no profit. I apologize in advance if I feel that way about this subject too.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The gold plumerias are back to doing pretty good, after being sorely abused last year when moving down here to South Padre Island. So are the other babies. They've been fertilized some but need some cow chit and three inches of mulch - and maybe some real rain instead of Mr. Sam the Hose Man here.

The yellows and golds come first, with the pinks and whites to follow, and the reds are always last. Strange how it seems to work that way everywhere around here ...

I'm down to 13 plumerias after leaving Austin, from a total of 21. Yes, a wee bit excessive, eh? But they are a fun hobby, and can handle the worst weather except for a hard freeze. Oh, and they smell pretty darned good, too! Nannette has me saving flowers for a Lei for the Tiki Ceremony this weekend.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tiki Time Again

TAWHIRI is the name of the Tiki God of wind and storms and rain. I was hoping for some Tawhiri action today because of huge thunderheads that built up in the 100-degree heat but dissipated once they got within 20 miles of my house. According to the weather gurus, we’re between 3 and 13 percent of where we should be as to rainfall - out here on the Island I’d say at the lower end of the scale. I think we get more dampness from dew than rain! What’s up with this?

Maybe it is because Disneyland invented a fake rain goddess called HINA KALUNA for their “Tiki Room.” According to the Tiki experts, no such goddess exists. Darn those corporate mythologists, Charlie Brown.

It is getting so bad we even wished for tropical storms. Hurricane Emily came in last July and we got nothing over a quarter inch of rain – on the “wet side” of the storm. How can this be?

Anyway, we’ll be having a Tiki “Lighting of the Torch” party on May 20 so come on down if you want … more details to come. And if Tawhiri comes on down as well, we’ll be inside at Palm Street Pier.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mrs. Whip

I was reading the Southern Brewing News and came across an article about a place in my old home town, the Whip In. And yes, there was a lady we called Mrs. Whip, although no, we’re not talking some kind of fem-dom perversion here because they had the best micro-brew and hard-to-find beer anywhere. Strange wine collection like from the Middle East, not to mention they also had some of the best groceries from India, Pakistan, Thailand, and so forth – in a freakin’ convenience store! If you think I’m still kidding check them out at The Whip In

It is located down in South Austin by Oltorf Street, right off Interstate 35. The easiest is heading south, where one would take the Woodward exit. Anyway, the shop has come a long way over the last 20 years and is a true Austin institution.

If you’re in the area on May 7th, there’ll be a big hoedown at the Continental Club, which is of course the funkiest place to see real music in Austin. That’s where folks like Joe Ely and Los Lonely Boys hang out.

And don’t worry folks, just a touch of nostalgia … OK, I miss Mrs. Whip and her cheerful smile, too. And most of all her secret whip.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lots of Feral Cats

Yes, we have outside cats and feral cats. It’s against the ordinances, like you have to keep them inside or on a leash. How ridiculous, we’re allergic as hell to cats and come on, a leash? But we always adopt one or two and get them all neutered and fixed up by the vet.

It was getting a little out of hand … I suppose cats have been hanging out here since 1970. So I called the Town and got one of those traps. The scruffy yellow cats needed a visit to the vet real bad – and hopefully a new home.

Now we had adopted a neutered male named Al, and he’s real dumb. Dumb as dirt. We caught him every night. There he’d be in the morning, licking his paws and asking to come out for a pat and a pee. F-ing Al is what we call him now.

The local Town guy who does the traps said that if you feed the cats, they’re yours. I tried to argue but that’s silly – do those possum belong to me too? How about the feral dogs and coy dogs? Jeez, all we do is make the cats fat so they won’t eat all the birds.

Come inside, Miss Pit Bull might have something to say! But on our walks, the cats dutifully follow us up and down the road like a parade. Al and the dogs sniff each other’s dookie and it is quite a sight, as we steer them to the “safe havens” of empty lots so some whacko redneck won’t call the cops for shitting in public. It is quite a challenge, all this.

Thursday 5/4 - Here's F'ing Al, who of course schnubbed me for a face picture. Instead he did a face plant in the chow. Cats!