SE Texas visited by Harvey, and Santa in 2017

Back am I at the old keyboard after more than a month. And in looking back over the past year — soon will 2018 come, next week to be  exact — likely the largest story where I live and one that was prominent nationally was Hurricane Harvey.  Harvey made three landfalls, the last being some 40 miles southeast of where I live as Tropical Storm Harvey. The most extensive damage from Harvey was from a continual rain and flooding, also in my area.

Tropical Storm Harvey takes it rain-soaked ass outside of Texas. NASA photo

Some 15 or so miles down the road from where I live is Nederland, Texas, which set a new rainfall record of more than 64 inches of rain over five days. The area closest to where I live in Beaumont had a bit more that 54 inches.  Permit me to add that the average annual rainfall for the Beaumont metropolitan statistical area is more than 50 inches a year.

Harvey plowed into the central Texas Gulf Coast area near Rockport on Aug. 25. Not much in the way of forecasts came forth to indicate the upper Texas Coast would be hardest hit, though not from hurricane winds, from Harvey. It is also not, I should add, correct to imply Southern Texas was not walloped by the hurricane. It was.

When the storm moved out of the Coastal Bend area some weird natural trickery took place that would make Houston and the Beaumont areas familiar to those who keep up with national news. I present the trickery, as described by the Weather Prediction Center of the weather service’s parent agency NOAA, for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

 “Harvey weakened as it moved north-northwest toward central Texas. Regaining tropical storm status on the 26th, Harvey slowed significantly east of San Antonio. Remaining within Texas borders for 60 hours, Harvey wrapped dry air around its southern and southeast portions of its circulation showing up as a dry slot on satellite imagery and forcing convection with heavy rainfall into its northeast quadrant near Houston near a thermal boundary, appearing extratropical. As Harvey moved east offshore Texas, thunderstorm activity began to focus within its northern and northwestern quadrants which prolonged the heavy rainfall across southeast Texas between the Sabine River and Houston.

 “Harvey moved back ashore across southwesternmost Louisiana on the morning of August 29. Harvey weakened to a tropical  depression during the evening of August 30 and continued tracking north-northeast, becoming fully extratropical on September 1. “

As I have noted here before, I have long enjoyed the rain. Coming from Southeast Texas, one doesn’t have much of a choice. I suppose one might consider me a “pluviophile,” that being one who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. It has since snowed here and a cold rain is falling outside now. I am now reexamining my pluviophilia. As it stands, only rainy days that ARE Mondays bring me down.

A whole lot of folks felt a whole lot of hurt this year. Some continue to feel it. They may be spending their days fixing up their waterlogged homes while sleeping in a camping trailer or even a tent.

One of the several people who stirred my interest in storytelling and journalism is the late Charles Kuralt. The bald and comfortably-appearing newsman traveled from town-to-town in search of “real American people” in his “On The Road” segment of the CBS Evening News. That segment celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Kuralt died 20 years ago. Steve Hartman was given the On The Road segment starting in 2011. I bring up Hartman in this missive because of a recent segment that, as sometimes his spots do, tugged at heart strings. But this time, it was in a post-Harvey environment. It happened in Beaumont.

Secret Santa is generic name for one who provides gifts for those who may be unknown to the recipient and the giver.  Sometimes, those gifts may be larger than others. I remember of hearing of one Secret Santa in particular who comes out of nowhere and usually gives no less than $100 and sometimes more. This guy may have been featured by CBS in past years, I don’t know. I just know that Hartman of CBS gave this year’s report that Santa is alive and well.

I leave you a link for that piece of story-telling where I live. Hartman visited here in Beaumont a week or so ago when the real Santa was here to spread cheer. Among those involved in helping spread the cheer were a number of Beaumont police officers — a department where my late brother Robert spent more than 30 years — with many of those officers who didn’t have to work due to their homes having been flooded but still came out to do their jobs.

By the way, over the past, I do not know how many years, I have been told there is this war on Christmas. Supposedly we are to believe that saying “Merry Christmas” has been banned among the general public. These right-wing fools like 45 (who lives now in the White House) try to sell  such division to a mostly ill-informed base. What an ass. I asked Santa if he would bring me a new president. Perhaps by sometime in 2018. That would really make for a happy new year.

Money, money, money, money. Money!!!

It’s been so long. No, I haven’t gone on a long trip. Although, if my Power Play ticket hits all six numbers tonight, I might just take a trip.

I once would daydream about hitting the big lottery pots. That was mostly when I was able to walk an hour a day for exercise. But I am lucky if I can stand for 60 minutes within a day.

“New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team” — Roger Waters, Pink Floyd.

If I were to fantasize about winning the lottery, it would include thoughts of seeing whatever doctor was possible to help my lower back which pains me so standing or walking today. Then I would hire a personal trainer to help whip my overweight ass into shape. All of that would be little to accomplish if I won the $154, 800,000 cash value of Power Ball.

Oh hell, I would buy my dream home somewhere — likely in the East Texas piney woods — and maybe a townhouse on some coast somewhere. And a vehicle? Oh yeah. I would buy an SUV, trading in my  newly purchased 2004 Chrysler Pacifica; I’d buy some kind of full-size pickup; and I think I’d probably buy some cool little BMW. I had a Beemer once.

I bought, kind of, a 1972 BMW 2002. I became its driver in 1990 from my friend Bruce. It was a rather odd-looking vehicle with three colors. I drove it during my first months in a small East Texas sawmill town where my first newspaper job resided. I edited  a weekly paper, all with no experience except a degree in journalism. I must have done something right. I was told the paper turned a profit for the first time in years during my tenure.

Here is my take on winning the big money:

  • Being an old sailor man, I find it hard to fathom someone who wins a jackpot who previously hadn’t thought for what reason or reasons, he or she might use a lot of money.
  • No one will feel that you are s**t if you buy an expensive car. If you can afford it and want to kiss it all over, who cares?
  • I don’t care one way or another what you do with you money. If you want to fund a kangaroo path in Melbourne, just do it!

There is so much silliness one might think of should one hit the jackpot. Besides my material world items — not to mention I would fly off or ride a ship to wherever —  I would  likewise try my best to help people.

I think I would do whatever possible to help, relatives first, then friends or acquaintances or family to attend college. Check back with me when or if I win the Power Ball.

I once worked as a firefighter. I have and have had relatives and friends who became firemen/firefighters. Two nieces are officers in my hometown volunteer fire department. They also work as police officers in a nearby town. I would like to help out fire departments or other public safety services in my hometown or other groups whose existences mean quite a lot to me.

Will I win? I never won more than $10 playing Lotto. I won $50 once or twice and $100 doing scratch off on my 40th birthday in Massachusetts. I had to split it with my friend who bought the ticket. Oh well! If I win the almost $155 million. I will not let you know, at least not immediately. But if you know me, you might some day see the green. Or not.

 

I’m a working on it!

Something is happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. I am trying to find my way around on layout of this blog. Once I can find my ass from first base, I’ll let you know. But this is still a project under construction. Just picture someone working on a road construction job who is slouching over a shovel. There you have it!

I pity (me) the fool

I think I made a mistake.

Sometime, a year or two ago, I determined that Hilary Clinton was the best choice for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.

Later, everyone and their brother or sister decided they should run for the Republican presidential nominee. The good money seemed to say that Jeb Bush was likely the nominee.

The news media found a comical presidential candidate in Donald Trump.

Oh, he is just a fool. We will give him some air time and will have a little fun at his expense.

“Wrong!” as Trump says in his hourly tweets.

The news media were the ones who were fooled. I, a mere mortal, likewise were fooled and I was foolish. Donald J. Trump, the 70-year-old real estate magnate courtesy of his inheritance and a public blowhard, will be sworn in on Friday as the 45th U.S. president.

I think that all the free publicity Trump was given during his daily call-ins to CNN and MSNBC and Fox got Trump nominated as the Republican presidential candidate. Big money and Big Brother, the Russian president and Wikileaks were also successful in electing Trump.

Trump won the electoral college. Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million. Yet Trump won, and became the elephant in the room.

The outgoing President Barack Obama had his legitimacy challenged by so-called “birthers” who questioned the president’s birth site. Heading that call of those conspiracy freaks — who believed Obama was born in Kenya as his father was — was the “Head Birther” Donald J. Trump. About eight-plus-years later, as Republican nominee, Trump finally and curtly admitted that Obama was, as reality shows, indeed was born in the United States.

Trump has refused belief that Russia and his bromancee, Vladimir Putin is behind the efforts by Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election for Trump. The new president does not appear as if he wants to ruffle any of Putin’s feathers. And it makes me wonder, (music from Stairway To Heaven,) does Trump really feel that people are out to call his presidency “illegitimate.” It is not surprising, as Trump feels everyone is out to get him, at least those who oppose him.

The next four years, more or less, should be an exciting time for some. For others, it will just be a crying shame.

Like the A-team star from the 1980s known as Mr. T would say: “I pity the fool.” And I guess I was the fool during the past election. We will see how many millions of fools who supported Trump will join me.

 

“Busy as a bong on Willie Nelson’s bus.”

There is no need mentioning that I have been quite lax in writing in (or is it on?) my blog.

Part of the reason is that I have been busier than a bong on Willie Nelson’s bus. Part of it is work. My office is down to just me after as many as three people had been staffed out of it. It’s a long story. There is nothing to get upset about. You do all of the work you can do until you can’t do any more.

The medical side of my life has also been busy. I’ve had trouble sleeping. My neck hurts more than it has. My lower back pain has increased in pain by twos. To top all of this off, I have cataracts. My sight hasn’t been too hot, it is horrible at night. I see “starburst” halos on all lights that make it difficult to see where you are going. After finally getting to see an optometrist who seems to know what she is doing as well as consulting with an ophthalmologist, I have been scheduled to have cataract surgery almost three weeks from now. My left eye will go first. I haven’t heard about the right eye yet. I’m hoping it will be done fairly soon to have some stable eyesight. We’ll see how it goes.

I am also enrolling in a VA weight and wellness program. I need it. I have been successful with diets in the past. But chronic pain cut the walking I did every day with an occasional hike. I really miss that. I doubt I can get back to what I consider as “normal” weight. That is about 190-195 lbs. That is about 90-95 lbs. away.

In past times, when I was younger, I lost weight primarily to feel better and to look better. I would like to look better, although that is not a primary concern at 61. I definitely would like to feel better.

So, there is an update of my life. We shall see what happens. I have never been good at New Year’s resolution, maybe I will make one this year. If not, it is a personal resolution, to write more. Get a book done. Find a place to live. Get a dog. Maybe a cat.

That all sounds reasonable, right?B