Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tea Bag Parties?

Here's a picture of Texas Governor "good hair" Perry leading a bunch of tea bag party folks, made famous because of his ludicrous belief that Texas should secede from the United States. Unfortunately, it looks like he'll be out next governor.

But aside from these laughs, I truly am worried about these strange alliances, such as with the John Birch Society. Those people were idiots of the 1960s and what, they're back in favor with the ultra-conservative mainstream? Man we really are screwed then, aren't we?

OK, we can write off Texas but the interesting part is that elsewhere, the Tea Bag Party hates the GOP, especially Bush and McCain. I hope they fight like tigers and maul each other. That would be fun to watch.

The Tea Bag Party - home of the deranged, the disgruntled, and people who fly planes into the IRS building in North Austin. If they weren't armed to the teeth with heavy ammo I would insult the crap out of them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No Global Warming?

January 2010 compared to 1971-2000 average temperatures, NASA

There's a lot of misunderstanding and trash talk about climate change these days, and I'd like to point out that in spite of all the warts and errant emails, January 2010 was the second warmest on record since the 1880s (source: Jeff Masters blog).

It makes sense too. You can see the cool areas in northern Australia, Europe, and the south-central US including Florida. Oh, and it's warmer in Vancouver. You really can't deny that.

You can debate all you want what it means, or compare it to what you think happened in the Medieval days, whether carbon dioxide is the culprit, whatever. But I still hear people saying "there has been no global warming since 1995." This is blatantly untrue. The rate of warming may have slowed since then, and when annualized the results don't seem very much, but the temperatures are still warmer and warmer.

There are some that will still say that "they cooked off all the numbers and faked them." Sorry folks, since 1979 we've had some satellite sensors up in space that aside from some calibration issues, is very good quality data - and NASA is taking efforts to make the data available to the public so you can interpret it for yourself.

So let's clear the air here: climate change and a warming trend is happening.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One beer at the Wanna

A couple times a week I visit the Wanna-Wanna on South Padre just because it has seen unusually cold and it has a million dollar view. That's Rick on the right, and old-timer from the Sheraton days, and Joey.

One hundred and eighty degrees the other way is a million-dollar view of the ocean. It's cool to watch the high seas during a winter storm, inside a Tiki bar with plastic windows up and the propane porch heater cranked on high.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Bird O' Paradise

I was working in the backyard and noticed an odd growth on our bird of paradise. There were three dark shoots and the one on the right side had already flowered. I must have missed it in all this cold and rain. Anyway, I'm waiting to see that the other two do.

It's been there a while, too, over 5 years and we had it as a potted plant in Austin for several years before moving here. I guess it decided to do its thang.

Monday, February 01, 2010

First Signs of Spring

it might seem like jumping the gun, being in the throes of deep winter, but there are subtle signs of spring appearing here and there. The Huisache is making little flower buds that will turn the bushes a deep color of gold. That's always the first native plant to slower down here.

You can tell spring is right around the corner because the clover grows fast. I wish is was a pretty clover, but most of the older yards with native grass get burrs, and are treated as pests. Next, noxious weeds will sprout as if by magic, evil looking plants indeed.

Barring a hard freeze - one more cold front is forecast in maybe two weeks - the mimosa trees and Tepaquatche will start to flower by Spring Break, with the mesquites to follow several weeks later. The palm trees with sprout long shoots from their tops as well, meaning allergy season will be on its way. Hey, what's a few sneezes when spring is fixing to happen?

If you look real close, you can see small plants that I call "bluebonnets," although the wine cups and various colored oddities (whose name are a mystery to me) will not flower for quite some time.

Now is the time when Valley fruit and vegetables reach their maximum. Fortunately, the January freezes didn't hurt the crops very much.

Curiously, you can tell spring is right around the corner when the Winter Texans finally show up in full force. February is maybe our biggest month for the wandering snow birds. It is still cold as Hades up north, but spring starts this month down here at latitude 26.

And the Kite Fest is always a harbinger of spring as well. This year's show was quite chilly but the crowds were some of the largest ever, according to the sponsors.

And soon you'll see the Spring Break venues start gearing up for Texas Week, which is around the third week of March. February is too early but only time will tell if the trucks will show up at places like Chaos and Mooncussers, the revamped Tequila Frogs. Louie's also does some major construction on the deck some years.

And just like the land crabs, we'll emerge from our burrows. Speaking of crabs, the ghost crab on the beachside had a pretty good spawn this year, with lots of new crab holes in the beach.

And watch your birds. The seagulls and roseatte spoonbill will go into mating colors. The redwing blackbirds will begin to assemble for their migration, squawking like banshees.

It's a wee bit early for spring yet, but if you look closer there are some signs.