Category Archives: Texana

The Tecate Journals

Author Keith Bowden’s superb writing is what carries this extraordinary story of mountain biking/raft- and canoe-cruising of the Rio Grande from El Paso in far west Texas to Brownsville on the Gulf of Mexico.

His encounters with riverside Mexicans, thanks to his fluency in Spanish, are fascinating. Although he had previously lost his young daughter to cancer, one likes to think her spirit was with him over the loneliest stretches of the river’s wilderness.

The urban sections of the river, from Laredo to Brownsville, are equally compelling thanks to his linguistic ability, but it’s the upper reaches of the river where he goes for days without seeing anyone that make the tale.

Metal detectors for schools

Since more gun control is a non-starter after the Santa Fe, Texas, high school massacre, mainly because the shooter wasn’t old enough to possess a gun yet had one anyway, Barbara Ellen’s suggestion is to install metal detectors.

Makes sense to me. Federal funding for metal detectors at schools would be the ticket. It would let the pols put their votes where their mouths are, and do something tangible at the same time. Probably too much, but maybe not.

Arming teachers would be smart but probably too smart for the majority of teachers. More gun restrictions for the law-abiding makes no sense, not that nonsense ever stopped a pol. It’s too late to change the culture. Few movies get made, after all, without a gun as a plot point.

Metal detectors are neutral and workable, if expensive, but federal funding could ease the pain. They’d stop all big knives as well as most guns. Just do it!

Hero service

Got to like the state’s new Hero service on state highways. Your car breaks down, you call Texas road assistance (the number is on the back of your driver’s license) and the Hero shows up to replace oil, gas or fix a damaged tire. Or, in the case of Barbara Ellen on Mopac North this evening, put out safety cones and wait for your tow to arrive.

Eric was her Hero who made me a little redundant as I showed up (alerted by her on smart phone) to help her stay calm, cool and collected until the tow arrived. Unfortunately she has a for-shit insurance company which had to negotiate the tow first so it took more than a hour to arrive. Eric calmly waited the whole time with friendly chat as well.

“That’s my job,” he said. “We wait until the fix is made or the tow arrives.”

Nice deal. Especially because it’s free. Thank you State of Texas. And Eric too.

Blue Origin’s highest yet

The New Shepard capsule soared 347,000 feet Sunday above West Texas, about 66 miles, her planned operating altitude. Sixty-two miles is the accepted boundary line for space.

“Another spectacular test mission,” Ariane Cornell of Blue Origin said during a launch webcast. “Everything looks nominal from here.”

For now the capsule holds only a dummy astronaut and some commercial experiment packages. Ultimately billionaire Jeff Bezos intends to send six passengers for a spectacular suborbital ride to space. Then the capsule will land back near the launchpad near Van Horn on three parachutes while the reusable booster rocket lands vertically on the pad.

Via Space dot com

Why weren’t the Davidians spared?

“Four ATF agents and five Davidians died in the initial gunfight [outside Waco] and another Davidian was killed later that day [25 years ago]. After a 51-day siege, 76 Davidians [including women and children] died when the compound went up in flames on April 19.”

They weren’t spared because of those four dead ATF agents. I was a reporter on the picket line at the time and so I know that it was widely understood (if rarely spoken) by the news media as well as most everyone else that if you killed a cop you paid with your life. Today it’s pretty much open season on cops.

Via Instapundit

No-crash policy still in effect

My good Southwest Airlines (which was called the National Airline of Texas in the 1980s before it went national) maintained its sterling no-crash policy even after a horrific engine explosion at 32,500 over Western Pennsylvania.

“One person is dead after an engine exploded on a Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday, sending a piece of shrapnel flying back into a window which caused the woman sitting next to it to be nearly sucked out of the aircraft.”

But she wasn’t and the pilots and crew got it down safely. Good show!

Via Daily Mail

UPDATE: The pilot-captain Tammy Jo Shults is a former Navy fighter pilot who is being celebrated for her coolness. “Southwest 1380 has an engine fire,” she announced. “Descending.” Later she says “Actually no fire now but we are single engine.” Hear the entire talk between her and Air Traffic Control. More on her past here.

2nd Amendment news

You know you’re in Texas when the high school senior delivering your order of chicken fried rice and egg-drop soup wears a Smith & Wesson t-shirt.

“I like your shirt, ” I said. “Thank you,” the young fellow replied with a grin.