Monday, June 30, 2008

Croc Thieves!

Beware of a recent rash of minor thievery on the beach - people stealing Croc sandals. We've lost a few pair, since we always leave them on the beach to go swimming.

To top it off, Lori walked the dog on the beach today, and some jerk stole the bling off her Crocs! Boy howdy she was hot about that, just steaming. "My mermaid," she forlornly cried.

So I now wear my oldest ones that I used to paint the house last year - they look and smell and heck, with a mysterious, black "x" factor growing inside the soles. I keep trying to tell Lori not to wear nice new ones to the beach, like the Camo ones she recently lost (way cool colors). Maybe a beach bag or back pack with a zipper is the may to go, to keep the kiddies half honest.

Otherwise, the beach report is really good, little weed, no jellyfish, very clean water today. Grandma waves, we call 'em.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Three Finger Salute

Bill Gates resigned from Microsoft Corporation today, in a weepy-eyed meeting with a bunch of his employees, leaving to concentrate his efforts on what is the largest charity in the world, the Gates Foundation. It makes me wonder is about a billion Microsoft personal computers will get "the blue screen of death" without his leadership, and we'll all have to do the three finger salute at once (CTRL+ALT+DEL).

Over two decades ago my friend Andy up in Austin said two words to me: "the Internet." Boy howdy was he right. To be honest, I started out on mainframes and the Apple - or was it a MacIntosh? That's almost a Biblical question by now, but you have to hand it to Bill Gates for exploiting computers and the Internet as a new frontier to be conquered.

You know, there really aren't any new frontiers to fill our imaginations anymore. Even nano-tubes are bio-tech are ho-hum. No more cheap labor in the world, although last I heard President Bush was looking for signs of life on Mars so maybe they could make sneakers, T-shirts, and underwear on the cheap for us American consumers.

It was equivalent to the Gold Rush of 1848 to 1855, something that captivated the spirit. I think that's what is wrong with the economy right now, that we don't have any new frontier of knowledge and experience that can be exploited. Maybe somebody will start a new rage going, but when Bill Gates leaves the company he started, you know that party is pretty much over.

I salute ya, bruddah.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Teaching a Bulldog How to Swim

Here is Malia telling me she wants to go to the beach. She just plain loves the beach, as I'm sure many Island dogs do. The only thing is, this brand of doggy can't swim for nothing. Heavy bones I guess, one time we put an orange doggy life preserver on her and she floated upside down like some weird buoy or something.

Why didn't the Lord give me a nice black female Labrador or something? But as fate would have it, I inherited a beautiful American Pit Bull named Malia. It's really my daughter's dog and she can have it back but we're so attached I guess Samantha gave us a break. Me, the Labrador dude, with a freaking pit bull. I'm having a Rodney Daingerfeld moment here.

But we're working on the surf part. We're definitely not ready for the "ride on the boogie board" trick yet - that was funny as heck. Two weeks ago we learned that if a big wave comes, you have to jump up or you go under ... she's a jumper now. Little steps.

People ask what kind of dog it is and I say "American terrier" without mentioning "pit bull" because I don't want to set any alarms off. I've seen what some of these dogs can do and am realistic. The most important thing is to not ever let them loose, since they tend to form hunting packs with three or more dogs of any kind. Results can be disastrous. Get real that is their nature when wild. That's why Malia's on a short lead and constantly watched.

But she's a lover, has to sleep between us at night, and only freaks out over the possum, which she hates with a real passion. We have a routine worse than the Army, with mandatory walks here and there, some play, sleep, belly rubs, and loads of kisses for no good reason. I swear she can tell time. Plus she's a real hit on the beach, and let's all the kids pat her. Dudes and babes nod approvingly like I'm macho or something (huh?). Getting better about passing other dogs walking on the beach too! This was a big one. I'm sure Malia just wanted a sniff, poor girl, but we can't jerk daddy's arm off trying to do so.

Teaching a bulldog how to swim is really something, an almost hopeless existential cause like Sisyphus trying to push a giant rock up a mountain. For now, we stay where we can stand, and we don't seem to mind the ridiculous flaming orange doggy life jacket. As long as we're not upside down.

Friday, June 20, 2008

We finally make it out ...

Had a great day thanks to Mr. Bill Fisher and had beautiful blue water the whole way out for a 12-hour trip. No big takers and lots of seaweed to clear from the lines but much fun was had. It's fairly exhausting exercise - but it sure beats work!

I did learn a bunch ... next time I want some serious camera work, crew!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wanting to get "all out to sea"

Well we tried, but the captain said it was like 4-foot waves offshore so we ditched our offshore trip today. That's OK, but it was a beautiful morning and the Gulf is hard to predict. Our area of the Gulf is closer to the edge of the continental shelf and has more blue water than anywhere in Texas, but does tend to be rougher as a result.

I hope it works out because the usual style of fishing such as on a party boat if to fish the reefs straight down, most often for the "endangered" red snapper mixed in with a few oddities such as amberjack and king mackerel. This crew only fishes sport fish on top, mostly catch and release except if a dolphin (the fish) or wahoo has big eyes for the lures.

Marlin, both blue and white, and sailfish are the true sports fish for these folks, with the occasional tuna mixed in. The day is long and at least $600 in fuel is burned. And sometimes you don't get a fish up close for a trophy picture but there's always something interesting out there, and I'm always learning.

As the little graphic indicates, there's all kinds of outriggers and gear all over the place so that up to seven lines can be fished in a "spread" to resemble a school of fish being chased. So I'm used to running maybe two or three that had no names other than "my pole" and "your pole." I can see the captain barking orders like "clear the outer left on the cross-bar daisy chain fly-jacks, ya blarmey" and have no idea what he's talking about. Point and make a reeling motion I might be able to catch on.

Hope we can get out soon!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stiffed Again on Dredging

I don't think Gene Gore would mind me using his Surf-Cam picture for a noncommercial purpose such as that huge dredge out there in the channel - the big black ship with the red & white superstructure inside the jetties. We were wonder why the surf was chocolate & cream colored today when body surfing. Now we know - this machine can vacuum up thousands of tons of sand and dump it out the bottom several miles off the jetties in one load. The ship's name is most likely the WHEELER, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vessel.

Once again, we missed an opportunity to get sand on our beaches, especially in the northern area by the Tiki and La Quinta resorts. On has to question why they are dredging now during turtle season and our high tourist season, but I guess the Port of Brownsville rates much higher than we or the turtles do. The bummer of it all is that dredging probably won't be done this fall because the channel is being dredged today, and won't need it then.

This is the third time. After a string of good luck and largely because of Mayor Pinkerton, we used to get sand on the beach every two years. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina and Rita stripped away a good part of our beaches and it's been going downhill ever since. No beach renourishment has been done since the winter of 2004/2005, aside from some very ineffectual trucking.

I am outraged, and question the so-called consultant who actually "found" sand up by Mansfield Pass. Let me ask - what is in the dredge right there? And isn't that OUR tax dollars at work and they're dumping perfectly good beach sand offshore? This poor sandbar; sometimes I have to wonder.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Home Rule

So what do you all think? The Town of South Padre Island could become a home-rule city is they wanted, but there is a curious resistance to that. I like the idea of Home Rule because it means we're "taking the bull by the horns" and are not so subject to the whims of the honorable Texas Legislature. Do you like the idea or not? Yay or nay?

I really don't think one would see much difference, and your property values would change with the economy and not anything the Town did by simply going Home Rule. It does afford the citizen a little more power however, a nice touch as a free-thinker like me. If you don't like somebody in power because they're abusing it, it sure would be nice to have a recall. And referendum, sweet, we can get our own agendas on the Board of Aldermen Agenda instead of just silly "public comments."

Oh so now you know why some politicians are scared. How the budget gets done can change as well, since we're no longer a General Law municipality. Stories about "losing" a million in beach funds because of going Home Rule are patently false. I have heard several other white lies as well. But basically, politicians are used to being bullet-proof once elected and Home Rules takes the carpet away from under all that.

I care not a bit about the politics of the situation. The facts are we have over 5,000 "inhabitants" and it is something to consider. Do ye or would ye want it or not?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Summer is here

Summer might not officially begin until June 22nd but it's here now, with Memorial Day and our little events out of the way. Many locals get real busy; some leave to go on the road for the summer art circuit; some head up north to more civilized temperatures.

The wind seems to blow hard still, as if May hadn't ended yet. It's OK although the fishermen don't like it - that wind can make you feel 15 degrees cooler than if you don't have a breath of air. One thing we missed was a bunch of rain, since usually it will not rain much except for an occasional dark cloud overhead until the September monsoon season. The ground looks parched and very dry already.

Lori and I were just talking how just when she gets out of the school system - 6 more "wake ups" she says - everyone will be too busy or traveling. Well not exactly true, there's the Camp Craft Girls for her and I have some stinky old fishing buddies for me. It's just totally different. It's summer now.