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April 4, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Flying floaties

Not Aladdin on a flying carpet , but some sort of magic may be involved.

Not Tom Sawyer on a makeshift raft, but it is an unconventional adventure.

Not cats on a Rumba, but just as funny.

Trimaran powered by foil

Look Ma! No sails. No mast. Still flyin’ across the water.(project kite

A boat on a different sail.

(Possibly Wile E Coyote’s latest from Acme?)

The last America’s Cup sailboats raced on high heels.

Is this the next step up?

See that little patch of red in the right corner? That's a 18sqm kite powering the trimaran. (project

See that little patch of red in the right corner? That’s a 18sqm kite powering the trimaran. (project

It’s a K2 Kitefoiler

Wonder what the seagulls think.

And what hawks are planning.

Talk about challenges.


Kite fighting competitors with kite sails leashed with glass coated Manjha?

Could this mean changes in design formula, procedural rules, not to mention allowable protests,  for the America’s Cup?

Will they ask the FAA for a no fly zone during races?

Not your typical Easter bonnet. Will this sail sell? (project

Not your typical Easter bonnet. Will this sail sell? (project

New ideas are always floating out from sailors.

(Hey, it’s not specifically prohibited, so it’s legal.

Yeah, that’s frequently heard by race committees.)

Going faster is a disease.

(Oh, look another boat of the same class/type. Catch them!)

(No, sorry we can’t attend your Friday night event. There’s a race tomorrow and we have to work on the hulls)


Probably not covered under any healthcare plan although it’s a common pre-existing condition of almost all gear heads and sailors.

Now this is a driving dream. He's the helmsman. Another crew member manages the kite (project

Now this is a driving dream. He’s the helmsman. Another crew member manages the kite (project

These sailors are flying with a dream. 

And having way too much fun.

Watch them go in these Kiteboat Project videos.

Another kite-flying view. This on San Francisco Bay. (project

Another kite-flying view. This on San Francisco Bay. (project

Next post, sailing into a nightmare….

Meanwhile, it’s sunny. Outta here. You should be, too.

Wind is calling.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Read more?

Stepping it up. Speed is an illness. Not curable - and why would you want to? (project

Stepping it up. Speed is an illness. Not curable. And why would you want to? (project



April 2, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Narrow window. Big thoughts.

It’s open. But locked out.

There’s a party going on at Hook’s.

At the window. (No you shouldn't steal the image) Dog wonder (-ing and descriptive).

Chewed window sill. Is that the reason?

Uninvited or was the RSVP card chomped by mistake?

Dog. Tired.

While everyone is partying, stuff is piling up here. 

  • Website supporting US farmers, farming, and food. Use the finder to locate restaurants that serve locally grown food. Find bed and breakfasts, farms to visit (and stay overnight), local hayrides, mazes, cattle drives and more. Search by state and location. An app is available, but the website has better pictures and descriptions.
  • k9s4cops/kids:  “One trained protection dog is a better investment than a school full of armed teachers.” A sensible idea. Nine school campuses already on leash. Radio’s “Lucy Lipps”/1997 Forbes’s “Queen of the Internet” is moving mountains to get things done. She’s got a kid. “Putting our children first by creating safe campuses across the nation with K9s trained and ready for action.” She’s serious.

Big ideas. Do what can be done.

When staff and Hook were scrambling getting things ready for press, I could have helped. Big paws.

Here, I’ll stand on your foot so you get the full press effect….both feet! A full courtly press!

Baffled such skills were overlooked.

Hear that happens sometimes with people, too.

Watch being kept.

When they say “doggy bag”, is that a yummy snack or some sort of canine attire?

Hopes high for the former. That Hook has all the answers.

Go ahead and wander over. Say hello to everyone there.

Just holding down the fort and the couches until you return.

Molly, the always wonder (-ing and -ful) dog

happy picture- leave it here.

Keeping the light on for you. See ya’ at Hook’s: gate’s open!






March 31, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Delivering on the flyby.

Called for reinforcements.

It’s now or never.

Not going to take it without a flight.


En guarde. Do not underestimate.

Loud calls complaining ignored.

Few alternatives.

Time to flock for defense.

Perhaps even the anticipated disruption was too much. Too stressful. 

Was it real cause of that recent death of “undetermined nature”?

Owl suicide?

Doves not sitting on the fence any longer.

Usually the peaceful ones, now proudly sporting uniform stripes on their shoulders.

Their coos curt with a hard edge.

Duck discarding their fluffy Disney images.

Determined quackers not cracking jokes.

Bills not to be ignored.

And they know intelligent use of the web better than most.

Even the swaggering bird thugs, the grackles, have been enlisted.

Although they are still demanding an investigation into a sudden abrupt disappearance of one of their own.

And are refusing to sit near the hawks.

Tweets in silence mode, they take to the air.

The sea gulls calling range and targets.

No sidewalk shall be left on marked!

No  nautical attire left unruffled!

No pocket pooch’s nerves left unjangled!

A thoughtful species?

Birds of a feather.

Take that 2014 South West International Boat Show attendees!

Set sail immediately! Don’t make us come down there!

Marina at your own risk!

Tossing popcorn is futile!

(And we know where your car is.)

In defense of one piece and that’s quite enough,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Beak to beak skyway. (Is this a toll booth?)

Beak to Beak Skyway. A toll booth? Sunflower seeds?


March 29, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Simply a damp slipcover.

Blog Post inside care label: “Little thought needed. Prefer sunny line dry. Shrink resistant.”

There now. Reassured. A “no effort required” end of week post.

Too limp for more.

A damp fog is slipcovering Galveston. Perhaps as encouragement to sleep in.

One crafty reason is to hide birds, wild life, and beaches from oil sheen. (and that seems to be working fairly well so far.)

A more haunting reason is to hide a time slippage.

closeup with flag

No Statue of Liberty in Galveston, but the docks still a welcomed sight to many who arrived. ( webcam)

The Tall Ship Elissa was built in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1877.

Now protected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, she’s now docked by the Texas Seaport Museum.

You can sail on her as a trained volunteer or as a wedding party or reception guest.

 Sail along with the Tall Ship Elissa in this video 

No doubt during her misty trips or moonlight sails, you might hear whispers by sailors or passengers from long ago.

Galveston’s port of entry was once known as the “Ellis Island of the West”. Many immigrants who arrived here are listed in the museum’s database.


Not the Houston Ship Channel, but a small Galveston channel lined on one side by restaurants, cruise line docks, and warehouses with commercial ship building docks lining the other side. Those are jack-up rigs lurking on the right. ( webcam)

Although a commercial area, this waterway a pleasant place to sail with interesting sights to see, people to wave at, and you can usually dock by the restaurants.

Sailors will need to watch for tugs and barges, because obviously they aren’t paying attention.

Shrimpers along here may have small children at the wheel – sometimes they aren’t tall enough to see very well.

Below is a picture of an ocean-going jack-up rig being serviced.

Compared to the white car on the road, it’s a giant. Even the yellow dock crane looks small beside it.

During use, the deck inches upwards on the girder legs. The vertical skeletal outline of one leg can be seen.

(It may be planning on doing a Hillary: you know, leaving the country until controversy dies down.)

A jack-up rig in for service. It's big

A jack-up rig in for service. It’s big, but in hiding? Knows how Gov.Christie’s staff must feel: getting blamed for all the bad stuff? ( webcam)

During the late 1800′s and early 1900′s Galveston was called the “New York of the South” or the “Wall Street of the South”. Many vintage buildings survived multiple hurricanes. (So if they could construct buildings this strong back then, what happened with modern architecture styles and new construction methods? They should be even better, right?)

Below is one side street leading from the Strand to the cruise ship docks.

The rigs are awkwardly huddling in the back.

The trolley rails across the bottom aren’t old, but these recent ones following those of past years.

late 1800's this was the New York of the South. Wall Street with street side and docks out the back. This is a side street leading to the pier with tall ship. trolley track cross the front

During late 1800′s a fancy place for strolling along. Getting ice cream. Emporiums then and now. Then the docks were actually at the back door these buildings. The water was filled in and docks moved back. ( webcam)

Galveston? People naturally think beaches.

Chat while heading over to other side of island for that. Better prepare you.

Don’t bring those blindingly white sand and blue water dreams. Just don’t.

The geology is completely different. An old place.

The coastal shelf here is shallow and sandy. You can walk a long way out (Carefully – there’s deep drop offs between sandbars. And strong currents…easily able to take you to Cuba.Watch your step there.)

The waves constantly stir up the sand, so the water will look sandy-colored. (Except in winter it can be blue. Sail off shore and you’ll see blue water most days, still it’s not clear like the Caribbean.)

across on the other side of the island. the beach and one of the jetties. surfer. undertow

Looking down from the sea wall with the boulevard and parallel parking on top. The jetties break up the wave action and protect the wall. Walk them in the mist and it’s like a movie set with waves crashing over you. Don’t slip! No mystery. Could be a horror. ( cam)

The jetties are fingers made of giant granite /concrete boulder-sized cubes.

There’s a pretty broad walkway down most of them. More fun to hop from slick rock to slick rock, but easy to twist ankles or break limbs.

Popular spot: for strolling, for fishing.

Probably an over-protective mom’s worst nightmare.

There’s a surfer dude with a red board right at the water’s edge on the left. He’s a local.

Surfing discouraged here: jagged rocks and strong undertow.

Besides you have to carry your board across the street, down the sidewalk, down steps in some places. And metered parking.

So why surf here? Always an adoring female audience on the seawall looking for surfing stars.

good place to watch oabove it all. harleys and kids

The Spot. Not a morning person. ( webcam)

The Spot, a favorite place to eat and observe.

Get there early if you want to park the Harley up front.

Bar’s on the east and multi-story indoor and outdoor decks for eating on the west.

Weekends pretty wild here. All welcomed. Always good food and fun, but most enjoyable during off-season or when school’s in session.

With a big view of beach, waves, and people, you could sit for hours and work on that novel.

Pyramids. 3 of them. bet you didn't know civilization here was that old

Pyramids. Bet you didn’t know civilization here was this old. ( webcam)

There in the mists, three pyramids. A mirage? A time warp?

Moody Gardens. (Named after a prominent BOI family, not a response to mists)

A non-profit created to use nature and science for rehabilitation that grew into an educational destination for conservation, recreation, and research – while still focused on advancing rehabilitation.

Moody Gardens glass pyramids. A nod to the Mayans and Aztecs

Best secret? There’s a beautiful white sandy beach with clear fresh water lagoon.

(Finally, the tropical vision you expected.) Moody Gardens webcams

Locally, none too sad about quietly standing under cover of mists.

Perhaps hiding a bit longer before the onslaught of giddy tourists.

With luck no one will find the off switch for those commercial grade fog machines.

Things still under wraps. Maybe tomorrow, sun lovers: Galveston webcams.

Warm moisture keeps you looking young, they say (like anyone could tell in this fog).

Think that covers it. Slip on into the weekend

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

all afternoon

Barely able to make out the waves and a jetty on the left. It’s a big drop off to the beach from the top of the seawall here. Always a hazard for cars, bikes, and people not paying attention. Big medical center nearby, luckily. ( cam)

March 28, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Hostage by grounding.

“Are you an eagle?”

(Inquisitive eyes. Young. On the level.)

“I don’t have feathers” (Smile delivered. No desire to crush thinking.)

IMG_1636 Morning sky

“You fly.”

“Mostly birds fly.” (Directing gaze to soaring seagulls.) “Easier with feathers.”

“Maybe a bird’s not what you think it is.”

The sand underfoot grabbing. Trapping next steps.

Scoffing mind ridicules.

Flight interrupted.

Why is it easier to believe what eyes decide to report than what reality may be?

“Thoughts soar.”

Perhaps, then…

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Other flights of fancy:

    • Get facts from local birds. Houston Audubon. Reports on Galveston Bay Oil Spill, the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary, the beach, and migratory birds. Links to videos and interviews. Pictures.
    • Procter & Gamble donates tons of Dawn dish soap to bird rescue groups. There’s little publicity about this. As Ken Hoffman said in his column, “If it can clean a gallon of crude off a pelican, think what it can do to last night’s spaghetti on your dinner plates.” 90% of birds cleaned by oil survive and are released. Dawn for all!
    • The most gentle Big Bird of allNASA 905, is coming home to roost soon. The Boeing 747 modified to give earth-held space shuttles a lift will be driven down the roads from Ellington to the Space Center. The shuttles’ chaperon will be given a place of respect and recognition in public view as well as our hearts.
IMG_1724 highway skies

Now back to what is real…whatever that is. Could be the road to no where.






March 26, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Doors. Not panthers.

Good news is that it had a door

The bad news, it had a door.

The snarling panther did not look welcoming.

1948.Jungle comic #99 cover by John Celardo/Digital Comic Museum/

In our minds, the danger was exactly like this. (1948.Jungle Comic #99. Celardo/

Even after months in the rain, the image didn’t fade. Pretty scary. 

That big black panther printed diagonally on the burlap feed bag that hung across the doorway.

Giant paws with long white claws bookended the broad head full of sharp fangs against a blood-red mouth.

Right at little kid eye level.

Yeah, that image said, “Come on in and make yourself at home.”

 (Black jaguar. Mangus Manske/Flickr/

Just like this – but with glowing red eyes, gleaming fangs, and big sharp claws reaching out.(Mangus Manske/Flickr/

Dusty drapes of spider webs tolerated as possibly friends of Charlotte.

(Inching in carefully).

A quick approach. Balancing with caution once inside.

(Not about to touch the rough wood on either side of the bench.)

Seated. Pants down

(But held above ankles with one hand. That floor…)

(Other hand ready with tissue.)

Why couldn't they have used a bunny feed bag as the door? Which is scarier: the Panther House or the Bunny House?

What were they thinking with that panther feed bag door? Doesn’t “Let’s hop to the Bunny Hut”sound better than “Time to go visit the Panther House”?

Shallow breaths.

Always quick shallow breaths.

Mentally planning rapid retreat.

Too late. 

Thunderous noise runs across the metal roof.

Large paw sounds overhead! A real panther attracted by the picture!

Jerk the pants up and drag the shorts on.

Eyes wild.

Dare to run out or risk hiding inside?

Prey. Trapped.

Vintage poster.1874 Lion Queen./Gibson and Company./Lib.of.Congress/

Must hold the wild beasts off until help arrives! Mom! (1874 Gibson & Co./LoC/USPD/

Then they couldn’t hold back the laughter any longer.

Those older cousins.

Tossing pine cones on the outhouse roof to torment the timid.

After watching my aunt hauling a couple of twisting, screaming, very constipated little kids across the pasture, past the bull, down the hill….

After noticing the triumph of the older boys watching the youngest being dragged – writhing in terror….

1946. typical privy/ R.Lee 1903-1986/NARA541142/USPD: by fed employee/

It is not a Tardis. Do NOT listen to them. 
(1946.Outhouse/R.Lee/NARA541142/USPD: fed employee/

Dad built a brand new “facility” just inside the homestead fence.

Situated so prevailing winds blew fresh air through the large picture window in the back.

Boasting of a just-right step for shorter legs.

Graced with a smooth store-bought seat with a nice lid that shut.

A holder for toilet paper in a dry spot.

A real door with a handle and a latch on the inside for locking. No more “Surprise!”

It was heaven.

It didn’t even matter the horses would sometimes stick their heads through the back window to see what was going on.

If the grid ever does go down.

If Survivor isn’t a game, I’ve got skills and knowledge to bargain.

Same deal as my dad: I’ll build it and I’ll build it good.

In return, each of you is responsible for cleaning the pit yearly.

A bit rustic for you? Pits. I know.

1880 outhouse.Bolduan/Flickr/

Try convincing a small child there’s not a monster down there waiting to grab them. (1880 outhouse/ Bolduan/Flickr/

How about the “Reinvent the Toilet Fair” in New Delhi, India recently?

A challenge by the Gates Foundation to sanitize waste, to use minimal water/electricity, and to produce a low-cost product.

The result was some innovated approaches.

“Toilet-tech fair tackles global sanitation woes” (Seattle Times/AP)

“Gates Foundation Picks ‘Moonshots’ in India to Reinvent Toilets Globally” (TechCrunch)

Science for ordinary every day life.

Urine charged fuel cells to charge cell phones.

A solar-powered heating process that kills pathogens and creates “biochar” to use as cooking fuel or fertilizer.

Now that could really flush out some excitement.

Dig it?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

(1942.Working on military aircraft/Palmer/NARA 195486/USPD:fed employee/

Necessity is the mother of invention. Figuring out how to make things work better is very cool (1942.Palmer.NARA 195486/USPD:fed employee/












March 24, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Bleary observations. Misty remarks

Regretfully, all interviews are on hold.

The incessant demands for full recon reports requests full of curiosity about the adventure, kindly delayed leaving the RC Cat of the Realm spitting in annoyance.

You'll have to come closer. Exhaustive recent experiments have revealed couchlessness is survivable, but not a  preferred habitat.

You’ll have to come closer. Exhaustive recent experiments have revealed couchlessness is survivable, but not a preferred habitat.

While the elegant polite German attended the previous 100th birthday party, out of consideration of so many vintage celebrants and a couple of wobbly great grand children that could possibly be mistaken for those bendy poles marking downhill ski races by an enthusiastic racing malamute, Molly enjoyed visiting with friends at doggy camp instead.

She was quite disappointed at not being able to deliver her present.(a wild Iditarod sled dog pull of Uncle’s wheelchair around the room. She revealed she’d been practicing for weeks by towing us by leash in the opposite directions during walks. Who would have known, we asked. She just grinned and said it was her secret. Maybe next year?) 

We assured her it was the thought that counted.

Playing wildly with all day while being constantly adored is obviously exhausting.

If only we would get her that iPhone so she could FaceTime, we’d see how difficult it is.

Ignoring RC Cat’s scowl at this request. She did have her paw up first. There is an order to things, we are reminded.


This is what 102 years old looks like. Not tired at all.

Uncle uses a wheel chair for long distances – but not an electric one. (Those are for old people.)

Yes, he eats cake…and potato salad, cold slaw, and fried chicken. No reason not to.

Advice for a long life.

Take one day at a time. Try not to worry.

And eat breakfast. Try his: 2 fried eggs, 2-3 pieces of bacon, grits, and toast. Every day.

Not eating is what kills you, he says.

He wonders why car manufacturers stop making real cars.

Ones with rear wheel drive and some power under the hood.

Few shade tree mechanics these days, he says. All they do is replace parts.

No understanding or figuring out how to make things work when they don’t.

Festive Dogwoods. White and pink - showoffs! (image:dogwoodbloomwatch:blogspot)

Working it! White and pink dogwoods.(Palestine yard/dogwoodbloomwatch)

Lots of things working in spring mode.

A few early bluebonnets waved (They love a cold wet winter).

 Some dogwood trees blooming in the woods. (Was this weekend their soft roll-out?)

Buzzards soaring in delight. (Previous night must have been a difficult one for traveling animals.)

Cows of the misty pasture.(Get your own picture, this one's mine and you don't have permission to use it. Try Wikicommons)

Cows of the mist. They know how things work.

And so many cows! Every available field full of calves or”caffs” as old farmers say.

Green pastures. Loaded hay trailers already bouncing down roads.

Some CA ranchers facing drought have leased pastures here. Looks like some of the out of state herds sold ended up here.

Once again happy cattle strolling and snoozing knee-deep in clover everywhere.

Pleasure to see after years of dry empty fields.

Downtown loves the spring festival. (Palestine, 2013. NTMC.Picasa album)

Spring festival works in the historical town. The Redlands Hotels was once a busy place with elegant railroad travelers. (A rainy 2014, 2013. NTMC.Picasa album)

Showers and mists didn’t dampen everything. 

Like the Palestine Dogwood Festival Trails parade and events.

Like their 29th Annual Car Show.

Being rain driven inside has rewards.

People tend to spend more time talking and catching up.

Who’s dumped the corporate life. How’s the bee business flying? Yoga as a viable career. Does it really pay to offer painting instruction at the vineyard? (It has to be quick because focus shifts to the wine glasses fairly rapidly.) Cruises vs hiking. Home remodeling lessons learned. Is it nap time yet?And which local restaurant gets invaded next.

All important stuff.

Plus shoes don’t end up stained from the iron-rich sand. (That rusty red doesn’t work with everything.)

Noooo! We, as the RC Cat of the Realm, demand such babbling cease. None of this interest Us and thus it interests no one! Now if the recent Grey Mousie Rescue was being related….

We shall retire to Our loft until Staff returns to senses and the Molly’s reports are complete. At least We gained some understanding of the Molly’s mysterious invisibility ability. That potential caused great concern.

Fear the stomp of Our disapproving paws! Fear them!

This sould brighten the day (2013 Palestine Car Show. NTMC.pica album)

This one works. (Palestine Car Show. NTMC.pica album)

A dog tired. An old town. And a well-lived life.

Sometimes best seen through bleary misty eyes.

Phil, the Philosophy Mouse of the Hedge

Green pastures.

Green pastures. Lots of cows. Dreamy. (I like both. You get 2.)


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