Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Nasty but Pretty Picture

Image source: Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife

Those dark red streaks indicate very high concentrations of Red Tide. It was still offshore between Mustang Island to Mexico like this on October 27-28th. It has become a quite popular picture, and could win some prizes.

Be nice to see some sandy blue-green there instead, eh?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thinks Assyrian

Check out this Assyrian babe Linda George while I write a spot here. Yeah, some Michael Jackson schtick at first but then she gets into her groove with the local stuff.

Anyway, I just happened to get interested in the Assyrian language, and bopped around the Inter-Web as is my usual style. Assyrian pre-dates Arabic, Semitic, and Greek languages by a wide margin, thousands of years, and might just be what the "babel of Babylon" was about in the Bible, although I don't understand that rant either.

So anyway, there's the map and the dark green areas show where you might find a few Assyrians still living, at least the ones that haven't been exterminated yet. It was once a huge empire encompassing parts of Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. Their religion is similar to Greek Orthodox, which is why they're constantly being exterminated - because they're not Muslim.

Maybe a feel for the music before we get too wild here, OK?

I duly plan to take mental journeys to other places such as the Mayans in Mexico, and see if I can find some of their native music which (haha) ought to have at least one imitation of a Michael Jackson song. Oceania? Mali? The mind reels.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rock Balancing Rocks

Wow, look at all those rocks ... we don't have a real native rock within a 50 miles down here on our SPI sandbar. A fellow named Mark Bailey gets his kicks by balancing rocks in odd positions and photographing them - quite an art I should say. When I lived up there by Block Island, we'd stack flat rocks for trail markers. This dude is tippy-trippy. I find it rather pleasing...

Bad Truck, Bad Truck!

My poor truck is sulking because I offended it again today, but for good cause. I don't mind the rust or fixing the 11 year-old Ford wonder of technology, but this has been the pits. Several island car shops have totally screwed me too - I know, not the truck's fault but she has to put up with the abuse all the same. But today she "ran out of fuel" with nearly a full tank of gasoline and I about kicked the **** out of her.

Well that would be the latest rip-off car shop that installed a fuel pump inside the fuel tank (why God, why do you allow humans do put fuel pumps inside a fuel tank?). I'm having Charlie B of Beach Services look at her tomorrow, and try to say some nice things to the old gal.

And a good girl she has been, only 67 thousand miles on her and a strong engine. We've been all over Texas in it, and way up the wild end of the island by Mansfield Pass on the beach. We've hauled I don't know how many tons of stuff for our home and our friends. She has a special sixth sense in case I've had a beer or two, which is especially endearing.

I can handle the A/C needing to be redone, or the horn needing something to make it work, or that rusty hood latch that makes me think I need a tetanus shot when I touch it. But it can be unnerving to have repeated failures when I only burn a tank of gas every month, and barely get 80 miles in between breakdowns.

Sell her off into slavery? Cash for Clunkers? No way. I swore this would be my last car, and while I might be proven wrong, have faith in the old gal. But maybe I've worked on too many 1950 and 1960 Fords that you could actually rebuild. If I bought another pickup, it would only rot just as fast in the salt air, and I'd probably get something used anyway. We'll see how it goes; I think she'll be able to be a dependable ride again after we fix her all up. Charlie can do the easy stuff and Danny over in Port Isabel can do the rough stuff.

And as a compliment to my truck, it always breaks down right in my parking lot. Now that's a classy girl.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Cool Bird Cam

That's right, these are real pictures taken from a bird cam!

One of the more interesting scientific studies I've read was about how pelagic birds such as the Albatross hunt in the open ocean. The images and study are found in this link.

From picture A to F, the bird cam shows nothing, an iceberg, a killer whale, some other albatross, a ship on the horizon, and the moon.

The big finding was many bird cam pictures near the killer whale, which became a major finding because that's where the albatross found dinner! Yes, they did lots of diving there, the 3 birds that were equipped with miniature cameras taped to their back feathers.

That confirms my earlier supposition (see older blog post) that these birds can find fish very well. But this study says they won't forage and dive into the ocean for a meal unless something really big is there, such as a killer whale, pod of large tuna, marlin, or whatever.

Anyway I thought that in this age of computerized cams everywhere, the bird cam was pretty darn cool.