Category Archives: Texana

Fish Camp

Mr. Boy drove off to College Station this morning to participate in Texas A&M University’s four-day “Fish Camp” for incoming freshmen. As in “fresh fish.”

Originally an invention of the Corps of Cadets when A&M was an all-male military school (officially co-ed in ’63 but not actually until women were allowed in the Corps in ’74), Fish Camp included some inevitable harassment of the newbies. It was only the prelude to Fish Year.

Mr. B. says it’s not that way now. Camp (in cabins around a lake) is just a chance to learn Aggie traditions while making new friends, with time out for swimming and games. We’ll see.

Lonesome Dove

Barbara Ellen and me watched the conclusion of Lonesome Dove the other night, weeping at the appropriate parts because we’re both suckers for cinematic manipulation.

I thought the ending was weak but after all that came before it was acceptable. I still like the book better.

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