Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Another medieval solution to a modern problem!  Just legalize it!

Drug catapult, 47 pounds of marijuana found at US-Mexico border

from the Statesman (Austin, TX)

Authorities dismantled a catapult used to launch drugs from Mexico to the United States last week after they found the contraption and marijuana during a patrol in Arizona.

The homemade catapult was mounted on the border fence
Border Patrol agents found the catapult on Feb. 10, east of the Douglas Port of Entry, authorities said. Agents were drawn to the area when they noticed several people retreat from the south side of the fence as they approached.
They found a catapult attached to the south side of the border fence and two bundles of marijuana with a combined weight above 47 pounds, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said in a news release.
Mexican authorities were called to investigate and seized the catapult. Border Patrol agents dismantled the catapult system.
Federal authorities have seen multiple drug operations including catapult systems to throw illicit substances over the border in recent years. Agents found 45 pounds of marijuana in 2011 after a remote video surveillance system caught smugglers preparing a catapult to launch the drugs into Arizona.
The catapult appeared to have been welded to the fence
Officials have also seen drugs shot over the border with "devices such as air-powered cannons," or dropped into the desert with "ultralight aircraft," according to The Associated Press.
Original, and here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

the wedding

My nephew Austin got married in early January 2017. They had a photographer, naturally, but they also took some video. They recently released the video and you can see it here, if you'd like. I am in there somewhere.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Oroville Dam

Rachel Maddow had an interesting piece on the gigantic Oroville Dam, which has developed a large gash in its spillway.

Now, the National Weather Service is issuing an evacuation alert for those living below the dam. Almost 200,000 people.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

SPI Birding & Nature Ctr

I finally visited the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center for the first time. Hopefully only the first time of many.

Nice building. Five-story observation deck, a huge outdoor balcony with tables and chairs, surrounded by trails, a butterfly garden, and nature, nature, nature.

It was a beautiful morning so I went to take one of the Guided Walks, offered daily and sometimes more than once a day.

I feel so fortunate to have this type of facility just up the island, within biking distance. 

Rose Ann was our guide on this one. She's an ex-teacher, but she added that teachers never really quit teaching, do they? She's also a Winter Texan, like most of the guides are, and they donate their time and experience.

Remember to bring your camera and binoculars, but if you forget the binocs, you can rent a pair for the day. And a cap or wide-brimmed hat will help keep the sun out of your eyes.

This place is truly awesome. Peaceful and educational. These kinds of signs are scattered throughout the Center.

There is over half a mile of these walkways over the water or land. Recycled plastic structure, no doubt, and weathered, but solid as a rock. With five blinds complete with benches to sit. Thank you!

Next time I will bring my Canon camera. This place is a photographers dream. Today I just had my phone, a Google Pixel. 

That blue heron didn't move a muscle for several minutes. Maybe he was keeping a close eye on the alligator just over thataways. I look forward to many more visits.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Smuggling is a way of life here in the Valley, and every week there is a story or two about another batch of marijuana or other drugs being confiscated at the border. By now, just about every method of smuggling has been tried, and no one knows how much gets across the border without detection. Where there is a will.....

Border officers find nearly 2 tons of weed camouflaged as limes

(CNN)At first glance, these limes look like a normal shipment of the green fruit. But they don't contain the citrus juice you would squeeze into your margarita on a hot summer day.
Instead the phony limes were packed full of marijuana. US Customs and Border Protection officers in Pharr, Texas, seized a total of 3,947 pounds of weed in the commercial shipment of key limes on January 30, officials said.
The truck hauling the "produce" crossed the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge along the Texas-Mexico border near the Gulf of Mexico. Over 34,000 of the fake fruit packages were discovered by an imaging inspection system and narcotics K-9 team.
"This is an outstanding interception of narcotics. Our CBP officers continue to excel in their knowledge of smuggling techniques, which allows them to intercept these kinds of attempts to introduce narcotics into our country," said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr. in a statement.
The drugs are valued at approximately $789,467, according to the US Customs and Border Protection statement. The case is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.
This isn't the first time smugglers tried to use fake produce to bring drugs into the United States. Last year, agents found 2,493 pounds of marijuana stuffed into fake carrots at the same border crossing.

Monday, February 6, 2017

I Love SPI

Well, there IS recycling here on South Padre Island. We do indeed have a LITTLE bit of cardboard and paper (from the move). But no glass, which is curious.

Love SPI: Island launches cleanup campaign

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Spread the love.
Island leaders are asking the community to love the Island this Valentine’s Day by participating in its clean up campaign.
The city’s “I Love SPI” campaign, in partnership with Republic Services, also known as Allied Waste, is meant to help residents get involved in maintaining the Island’s natural beauty.

An extra brush and bulky item pick-up service will be added to accommodate additional brush collection.
The campaign will run through Feb. 13. Residents may place brush and bulky items at the front of their property for collection.
“I would like to thank those that have participated thus far and encourage everyone to take part in this wonderful program,” said Barry Patel, SPI mayor. “This helps to prepare our city for our peak season, where people flock to the Island to enjoy our beautiful beach.”
Island residents can take advantage and clear their yard and house of unnecessary debris.
Officials believe trimming trees and plants will spruce up the Island. Properties will look better and homes will be safer from brush fires and other hazards in preparation for the busy Spring Break season.
Residents are also asked to take care of mowing and trimming around fences, concentrating on the back of the properties during the campaign.
Island officials said participants in the campaign may be awarded an “I Love SPI” T-shirt and Milkweed seeds, to help promote Monarch Butterflies on the Island.
The “I Love SPI” campaign was introduced in 2012.
This year, the city is also encouraging residents to bring recyclable items to the regular recycling drop-off service held every Saturday from 8-11 a.m. at the Community Center at 4501 Padre Boulevard.
Recyclable items accepted include plastics, office paper, newspaper, cardboard, tin and aluminum.
During the “I Love SPI” campaign, the city will also be accepting tires to further help clean up the Island.

Sunday, February 5, 2017