"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fw: How Dry Is It In Texas?

About three weeks ago, one of my best friends forwarded an email to me, which I in turn forwarded by publishing it as a post.

Another good friend forwarded the following email to me, and here I go posting it as well.

That last post resulted in a commenter opening up on me with both barrels, about factual inaccuracies in that email, and I received an education.

This time, I'm gonna use the email as inspiration, and as a skeleton for a much larger and more diverse post.  In other words, I'll probably go all over the map.

*********** Start of email **********************

How Dry Is It In Texas?
Cows are giving powdered milk.
A buddy in Longview said he'd killed a mosquito that was carrying a canteen.

A man in Dime Box said the chicken farmers were giving their chickens
crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs.

In Lake Palestine , they caught a 20 lb catfish that had ticks on it!

But just this week, in Bryan, a fire hydrant was seen bribing a dog.

It's so dry in Texas that the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet-wipes, the Presbyterians are giving out rain-checks, and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water.
Pray for rain!

*********** End  of  email **********************

Now, I'm sure you will be shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that Texas is no stranger to extremes in anything, including weather.

In 1836, Santa Anna surprised the defenders of the Alamo by showing up much sooner than anyone expected.  This was the day of Napoleonic warfare, and the General considered himself (and styled himself) "The Napoleon of the West".  Of all of the Napoleon wannabes that came along after the original, he was probably the best by far.

That type of warfare requires a large train of supplies, usually wagons pulled by oxen.  The Texians expected him to wait until spring before moving out because of considerations of forage for those oxen and for the cavalry's horses.

But, the General was a gambler and got underway in mid-February.  He lost that gamble a bit;  a blue norther coming straight out of Canada, down the plains and hitting his army (without proper winter gear; some of the soldiers even barefoot) with a blizzard that cost him as many casualties as the battle itself.

Update - 19 Jul 2010 - Ah, Hell!! - Every word of that anecdote above is accurate; Santa Anna's army truly did  get hit with a freak blizzard while on their way to San Antonio, and did  suffer casualties as a result, but further research discloses that this  event happened in northern Mexico. They had not crossed into Texas yet, and neither did the snow (over a foot), making the anecdote interesting,  but utterly useless  as an example of Texas  weather extremes.  Oh, well...  :(

Visitors to Texas also tend to notice that it gets hot  here as well.

The quote, "If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas", attributed to both General William T. Sherman and General Philip Sheridan probably evolved from a much more mundane, "Damn, it's hot down here!"

It's been that way since before there was a Texas.

If you get all of your info from The Weather Channel or the mainstream media, you'd think we've had nothing but record after record after record recently.  But, that just ain't the case.

About seven weeks ago, I published a memory-lane post ( Just 50 years ago today ... ) about my 19th birthday, on 25 May 1961, and things going on at that time.

Now, let me bore you with birthday # 10, in May of 1952, in San Antonio, Texas.

I got my first bike; a brand new J.C. Higgins from Sears, Roebuck.

I'm not sure if a whole week went by before I got my first cast, after taking a spill and landing on my elbow, cracking it.  Dad had to rush home to drive me and mom to the doctor, where the cast was put on, costing about $50.00 if I recall correctly.

I think the bike went for almost that amount, and that we paid about that much in monthly rent.  As a mechanic in 1952, I doubt his weekly take-home pay was much (if any) higher.  I do recall that he was less than thrilled at this turn of events.

Shortly after, mom took me (still in the cast) and my brother to spend a few weeks with her parents and some cousins of mine in rural Arkansas, the money for the trip having already been put aside (I think).

1952, going by train both ways.  Going up was by a steam-powered train from San Antonio to Fort Smith, Arkansas, winding though small towns like Palestine, Texarkana, and so on,  taking maybe 15 or 16 hours to get there.  Coming back was a special treat; her parents driving us down to Little Rock so we could ride Missouri Pacific's Texas Eagle  back to San Antonio, doing the roughly 600 mile trip in maybe 10 hours.

Before we started back, the cast had already been removed and my arm back to normal.  So, upon return, I proceeded to wear out that bike, in San Antonio summer, and got myself introduced to heat exhaustion.  Scared the Hell out of mom (and me too, for that matter).

As I noted above, it does get hot down here.  Triple-digit temperatures were not at all unusual in San Antonio at that time; we just called it "summer".

Back in those days, before every house on the block had a TV, they ran newsreels in the movie theaters, between the features.

A staple of them, every summer, was a shot in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, D.C, or Los Angeles with the announcer going ,"How hot is it?", and then showing someone cracking an egg over the pavement and watching it fry.  I suspect that whoever put the summer newsreel together would be drummed out of whatever guild or union they belonged to if they failed to include that.

Now, I know (because Al Gore tells us so) that we are living in the "End Times" because of "global warming", "climate change", or whatever they will come up with next.

My problem with being so damned old is that my memory goes back a long way, and although I've had a scare or two about my recollection, when I took the trouble to look things up and check them out, I found that memory to be working just fine.

Along with that age comes a little bit of cynicism about the fact that nearly all  of the "cures" proposed for AGW, climate change, or whatever involve putting people who couldn't even run a lemonade stand in absolute totalitarian control of every aspect of our lives.

Am I exaggerating?  Consider Energy Secretary Steven Chu's recent defense of banning incandescent light bulbs, "We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."

This arrogant snot is literally telling you that you are just too damned stupid to make your own decisions; so they have to do it for you.  They absolutely believe this.  They truly believe that, "for your own good", you must get their  permission for whatever it is you feel like doing.

If you doubt that, then you do not even begin to comprehend the mindset of these people.



Desertrat said...

Aw, now, young fella, we've been sorta dry out in Terlingua, these last few months. I've had 0.25" of rain at my house, starting with a tenth in August of 2010. I saw a coyote trotting down Terlingua Creek the other day, with three cottonwoods right in behind him. If the creek ever did flash off, the fish would likely drown from the brand-new environment.

Hot? In May of 1981 when that good old Marfa High stationary cell set in, Terlingua was having daytime highs of 120º and lows of 100º. A wee tad on the warmish side.

The "Drouth of the Fifties" burned us out of the cow business near Austin, by 1949. We were down to ten head on 300 acres, and feeding them...

Santa Anna showed up early because he brought fodder with him, speeding up his march from the Border. Didn't have to stop to let his horses graze.

P.M.Lawrence said...

"In 1836, Santa Anna surprised the defenders of the Alamo by showing up much sooner than anyone expected. This was the day of Napoleonic warfare... That type of warfare requires a large train of supplies, usually wagons pulled by oxen."

Actually, the genuine version involved living off the land and not running low by keeping moving, avoiding the need for slow supply trains and protecting their routes, which in turn allowed the very speed needed to dispense with them. Part of Wellington's skill, both strategically and tactically, was to force the French to forego those logistical advantages and their particular battlefield strengths and meet him on his terms. That supply issue really shows up in the Peninsular War, when he holed up behind the Lines of Torres Vedras with the French "besieging" him - only, he had had the defences prepared in advance and had resupply by sea, while they had to forage over the same area all the time and had guerillas attacking their replacement supply routes. (That was how Yorktown was planned to turn out, only the French had control of the seas just then, the defences weren't prepared fast enough, and the other British forces didn't cut off the enemy supplies adequately in the limited time available.)


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