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

Monday, July 9, 2018

sea butterflies

I had not heard about these little buggers until moving to close to the ocean. 
The story below is from Florida, but we have been getting multiple reports from the beaches of South Padre Island that sea butterflies are showing up here too. I haven't been in the ocean lately, so I haven't had the "pleasure" yet.

Fiberglass on the beach? Nope, those are sea butterflies.

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Volusia County beachgoers were confused on Tuesday by something unusual washing up on the sandy shores. Many thought it was fiberglass, but Volusia County Beach Safety said that's not the case.
kinda looks like fiberglass
Officials said the mini marine organisms are a pteropod called cresis acicula, more commonly known as a sea butterfly. Currents generated by tropical storms and hurricanes bring the needle-shaped sea snails from their usual home in the warm Caribbean waters to the Sunshine State.
Sea butterflies use their tongues to propel their cylindrical silica bodies, creating a movement that resembles a flutter.
Though they float like a butterfly, they also sting like a bee. They're sharp bodies can stick into the skin like a splinter and multiple pricks can lead to small, reddish bumps.
Officials say it's not an allergic reaction because sea butterflies are non-toxic.
Aside from the misguided fiberglass reports, Volusia County Beach Safety said lifeguards rescued three people from the ocean Tuesday and they flew the red and purple flag today.
And here is an interesting story about sea butterflies from the Smithsonian.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Buntin clan

Shortly after we bought this house on South Padre Island, the house two doors down (east) of us also sold. We had looked at that house too but decided it was too weird. It used to be occupied by a family of seven, IIRC, and they had changed the bedrooms around in an odd fashion. It would be a lot of work to adjust it.

Enter the Buntin family. They bought this house and re-worked it themselves, and now about 10 or more live there. Not only did the family buy that house; they bought Palm Street Pier and changed the name to Lobo Del Mar Cafe. Other members of the clan also bought other houses on the island, and at the last count, there are about 60 of the Buntin clan now living on SPI.

They have created a mini-real estate boom. And they are just the nicest people you'd care to meet. All 50 or 60 of them.

Traveling clan stakes claim on South Padre Island
Valley Morning Star
Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald
Carrol and Rupert Buntin walk on the dock at their new
establishment, Lobo del Mar Cafe on South Padre Island.
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — It’s not hard to imagine the Buntin family with its own reality show.
The reality of this sprawling, musical, nautical, entrepreneurial clan — now ensconced on South Padre Island — may be beyond the grasp of television.
Helmed by Texas native Rupert Buntin, the Buntins’ adventures have taken them to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and Washington state, attracting media attention and entertaining/mystifying crowds along the way.
In January, the family purchased the Palm Street Pier on the Island, renaming it the “Lobo del Mar Café.” All the family’s business ventures — parasailing, marine charter, entertainment, etc. — are done under the Lobo del Mar moniker.
The Buntins arrived here from Port Hadlock, Wash., where they owned a marine salvage operation, a parasailing company and a trading post. During their spare time, they entertained tourists and locals with their trademark, homegrown musical extravaganza featuring guitars, drums and bagpipes, Celtic, Middle Eastern, flamenco and Mexican folk music, and Irish step, hula and belly dancing.
“Our show, what we did in Washington and Hawaii for a long time, that’s three hours long usually,” said Brady Buntin, a bagpipe player, bagpipe builder and the ninth of Rupert and Carrol Buntin’s 11 children. “There’s 18 dancers and they do these big numbers. It’s got all this stuff going on.”
So much that it won’t all fit in the Lobo del Mar Café, thus the full show has been staged only a few times on the Island, and at other venues. Still, Lobo del Mar features live, local music seven days a week, including the “fam jam” every Tuesday.
“It’s just us boys, and I’ve got a niece that plays slide guitar and Dobro,” Brady said. “She plays with us, and it’s just all of our tunes that we like to play, that Mom and Dad like to hear.”
It’s been nice trading the kilts — yes, kilts — for boots and jeans, Texas style, he said. Brady builds a number of other old-world instruments in addition to bagpipes. His parents’ families were musical, and his father played steel guitar before joining the Navy, he said. Instruments always were laying around the house — in this case, the boats on which the home-schooled Buntin siblings grew up.
Several of the older kids were raised in the Northwest before the family set sail in a caravan for Alaska, where Brady grew up. Lobo del Mar is from the name of the Buntins’ second boat, Sea Wolf.
“We worked as gill netters in southeast Alaska,” he said. “We did electrical work. Then we went to Mexico when I was still a teenager, and lived there for 14 years.”
The family had begun to disperse as the children reached adulthood and went off to pursue their own careers, though they realized they liked it better when they were together, and so they regrouped on the Sea of Cortez during the early 1990s. There the Buntins ran a charter boat business for the tourists. Some of the boys married Mexican women, then the whole group relocated to Hawaii in 2006 and resumed business, bagpipes, belly dancing and all.
“There were only 50 of us then,” Brady said. “Last time we counted, I think there was 60 or so. Every time we count, someone else has a kid. I think there’s going to be 61 at the end of this year.”
After six or seven years in Hawaii, where another couple of brothers married locals, the clan weighed anchor once again and headed back to Washington so Rupert could eat salmon and Dungeness crab, which he missed, Brady said.
“He’s really footloose,” he said. “My dad just loves to travel, loves to see the world. That’s how we grew up. Every few years he’s like, ‘Let’s go somewhere else.’ He’s always saying there’s too much of the world not to see.”
But after four years of cold, damp life in the Northwest, Rupert’s thoughts turned to his first home — Texas.
“He came down here last February,” Brady said. “He’d never been to the Gulf. He could not believe South Padre Island. It was just like a jewel. So he called up the family and said, ‘I’m not coming back to Washington,’ so we sold all of our businesses and moved down here.”
The clan came down in batches, with Brady moving his family here about one year ago. The clan has been busy sprucing up its restaurant/bar while trying to hang on to the “washed-out beach feel,” he said. “You can pull your boat up, gut your fish on the dock, and walk up and have a drink,” Brady said.
Lobo del Mar has two boats and offers parasailing, fishing charters, dolphin tours, sunset cruises and watercraft rentals. The family kept on most of the staff, has installed a new kitchen and tweaked the menu, Brady said. “We kept all of the good stuff,” he said. “We’re just adding more stuff that we like to eat and upping the quality of everything. Keeping the prices low but upping the quality. The family eats here. We like good food.”
Brady describes the family as “laid back people” who work seven days a week. “Except for me,” he said. “I just try to look busy.”
Carrying on a ritual the Buntins have observed for years, every evening at sundown the pipes come out. No matter where in the world they happen to be, Rupert wants to hear the pipes every night before he goes to bed, Brady said.
Business is good, meanwhile, and the people are “awesome,” he said. As for the chances of restlessness one day causing the family to up and leave, Brady declined to speculate.
“We don’t make plans like that, but I’ll tell you this about South Padre Island: From what I’ve seen and all the brothers and sisters I’ve talked to, this is the favorite place we’ve ever lived,” he said.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Lawson Rollins

Lawson Rollins is an awesome guitarist from North Carolina. No relation to Henry, I don't think.

Friday, July 6, 2018

moon and Mars

There is always a reason to look up, especially if you are in South Africa or Central Asia.

Longest Lunar Eclipse of Century This July

This month, sky-watchers in several regions of the world will get to witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century.
The eclipse on Friday, July 27, will be fully visible for 1 hour and 43 minutes and partially visible for 3 hours and 55 minutes from parts of South Africa and most of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
According to, the eclipse will peak at 8:21 p.m. UTC (or 4:21 p.m. EST) and the full eclipse will end at 9:13 p.m. UTC (5:13 p.m. EST).
During a lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow blocks the sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the moon. A total lunar eclipse occurs when Earth’s dark umbral shadow completely covers the moon.
“Total eclipses are a freak of cosmic happenstance,” reported. “Ever since the moon formed, about 4.5 billion years ago, it has been inching away from our planet (by about 1.6 inches, or 4 centimeters per year). The setup right now is perfect: the moon is at the perfect distance for Earth's shadow to cover the moon totally, but just barely. Billions of years from now, that won't be the case.”
The July 27 eclipse will be the second lunar eclipse of the year. The first took place Jan. 31 and gave way to a super blue blood moon, which occurred when the full moon passed through the Earth’s shadow for a total lunar eclipse and gave off a reddish tint.
Unfortunately, the United States will miss out on the celestial spectacle this month and will have to wait until July 2020 to witness a lunar eclipse, according to
Mars is Closest to Earth Since 2003 This Month
The Red Planet is just about to reach the part of its orbit called opposition, where it is exactly opposite the sun in Earth's sky. This year, it will also herald Earth's closest view of Mars in 15 years. Earth and Mars orbit the sun at different distances. Because Earth is closer to the sun, it orbits faster than Mars. Once every two years (or thereabouts), the sun, Earth and Mars create a straight line with respect to each other — the opposition. [Mars Opposition 2018: What It Is & When to See It]
Opposition this year will happen on July 27, with the closest approach of Mars on 3:50 a.m. EDT (0750 GMT) on July 31. Mars will be bright in the sky — its brightest since 2003, when it came to its closest distance to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. In 2003, Mars was about 34.7 million miles (56 million kilometers) from Earth, according to NASA. This time, Mars will be 35.8 million miles (57.6 million km) away and will be 10 times brighter than usual.
You can currently find Mars in the mid-to-late-evening southeast sky in the constellation Capricornus, according to It will be at its brightest between July 21 and Aug. 3. In addition, the sun will start setting earlier around that time, making it easier to see the planet higher in the sky.
While Mars will look much brighter than usual, don't believe the hoax saying that Mars will be as big as the full moon. That's been circulating the internet since 2003, and it's just as false now as it was then. In reality, Mars will be only 24.3 arc seconds wide from Earth's perspective and will still appear as a bright, star-like object. The moon will appear 75 times larger, at 1,800 arc seconds, by comparison.
more at Original

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Rude Pundit

Let's check back in with the Rude Pundit.

Our Deeply Perverse President Won't Shut the Fuck Up

One of the weirdest moments from last night's campaign rally for some fuckin' asshole GOP senate candidate in Great Falls, Montana (motto: "We hate those Mexicans so much even though most of us have never met one") was when, for no apparent reason other than that the roulette wheel in his brain of "Shit I Don't Like" stopped on it, President Donald Trump attacked a line that George H.W. Bush said 30 years ago. It's the equivalent of saying, "You know what always pissed me off? That St. Elsewhere finale" to a group of high school students.

Here's what our goddamned demented president said, "All the rhetoric you see here, the ‘thousand points of light,’ what the hell was that by the way? ‘Thousand points of light.’ What does that mean? Does anyone know? I know one thing. ‘Make America Great Again’ we understand. ‘Putting America first,’ we understand. ‘Thousand points of light,’ I never quite got that one." The crowd of slobbering knob gobblers hooted and laughed as Trump did his little prancy jig of derision, all agreeing that a metaphor is just too fucking hard to understand.

Now, I have no love for George H.W. Bush, and I don't give a single, hard rat turd that he's an old, old man confined to a wheelchair with a recently dead wife. Yeah, yeah, he was a war hero and he's done a lot of charitable stuff post-presidency. Fuck that guy. He was a shitty president who helped pave the way for political campaign damnation with the Willie Horton ad. And he jizzed out George W. Bush. Fuck him. 

Still, Trump's attack is just fuckin' weird. First off, it wasn't Bush's 1988 campaign slogan. Those would have been "A Kinder, Gentler Nation" or "Experienced Leadership for America’s Future," which are arguably easy to comprehend. "A thousand points of light" was an instantly mockable line, but it was from a speech and Bush was talking about volunteer organizations. He even said he was talking about those. I can remember criticizing the phrase at the time, thinking, "That evil motherfucker just wants charities to take over shit that the government is supposed to do." But it wasn't too hard to understand, for fuck's sake. You'd have to be a fucking moron and/or a Trump supporter to not see what that means.

Trump's tone at his rallies has gotten increasingly deranged, increasingly threatening, and increasingly unhinged (yes, that is possible). Last night, he started his usual riff on one of his obsessions, the "truth" of Senator Elizabeth Warren's racial heritage (which is really of a piece with his refusal to accept that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii). Deriding her as "Pocahontas" - he doesn't even use her name anymore and his slavering hordes love it which makes him do it even more because leadership or something - he then created an entire scenario of facing Warren in a debate.

He literally acted it out as he said, "I'm gonna get one of those little kits. And in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she's from Indian heritage...We will take that little kit and say — but we have to do it gently, because we're in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit, and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs probably two ounces."

So, let's see, in one small segment of a 70-minute "speech" (if by "speech," you mean, "blabbering from an old man who finally has an audience to cheer on his incoherent brain farts and misanthropy"), Trump was not just racist, but he was sexist, rapey, rape-mocking, and bullying. What a puddle of weak shit our president is.

In a single tweet in response, Warren reamed out Trump, reminding him that there are far, far more important things going on than his ability to get the yokels all het up.

Essentially, we don't have a president. How many bullshit rallies has he done in the last week? No, that's not a goddamn president. That's a mascot. We have a Philly Phanatic out there, getting the crowd pumped up, to distract from the vile, awful things done by the vile, awful people who work for this vile, awful man.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Paul McCartney

James Cordon had a special guest on a recent "Carpool Karaoke". You may have seen it, but I think it deserves a special place here too. Oh yeah, happy birthday, America. Here's to hoping we will rid ourselves of the orange cheeto soon.