There’s an art to driving. People notice.
Psychologists will probably decide what a person drives impacts self-image as well as others’ opinions of an individual. So we’ll all end up with identical cars just to level life’s driving lanes?
Meanwhile, people are just being horribly inconsiderate of others and artfully choosing the most outrageous vehicles.
Hilary has voted for her campaign vehicle.
It’s a special Chevrolet Express conversion van. (GM, of course. Subtle details pull votes.) People are ridiculing the mileage, but considering all the bullet proof glass and heavy armor, you would expect it to be a bit toady. Better a stodgy drive than the elitist limo that she normally travels around in according to her “people”
Shortly everyone else running for President will be rolling out their choices.
Like Rick Perry, who reminds many of that rowdy, gun-toting, rich oil man/Senator/Texas cowboy (really from Connecticut) in the Simpsons, he’ll want something flashy and distinctive. Maybe this:
What if all U.S. Congressmen and women were assigned cars from a motor pool during their lucrative life long careers terms of office as public servants? As a perk. Being full of patriotism and verve, the obvious choice would be something like this:
Something more practical? How’s this?
First, it has a roof and would be better for the weather caused by climate change. Also it would be easier to manage a crisp neat appearance if spotted along the way by irritated taxpayers throwing rotten fruit out of frustration of being unable to get the “ordinary folks'” message across to Congress. No embarrassing marks or blemishes left to bear witness people were upset with them. And there’s protective roof and windows…and door locks.
Even better, let each legislators’ constituents choose monthly which vehicle design their legislators/elected officials should get to drive each month.
Suspect the motor pool would need a bunch of this model.
Would elected representatives and appointees would think and act more cautiously if this was a potential ride?
There’s an art to driving through life.
Last weekend was the 28th Annual Houston Art Car Parade.
Now an international event with over 250 cars this year, it’s one of the biggest
collection party of Art Cars around. Normally it hits the road in May, but this year it was decided to move the event to April in hopes of better/mild weather. April is usually gorgeous, but it’s been a rainy year. Still the clouds held off for the show. (Not that it rain has ever made a difference for participants or crowds.)
Being a bit under the weather and having so little voice that any attempt at cheering or expressing delight would have done me in totally. (Promise to not talk? Impossible. Who could not chortle with joy over art cars? Sigh.) Luckily there’s plenty of TV and on-line coverage of one of Houston’s favorite events.
Watch the parade on YouTube. You will not want to miss the Jet car, the Trojan Horse car, some old favorites like one covered by Singing Fish (and they do!) and all the new ones. Great videos with lists of entries:
- 28th Annual Houston Art Car Parade. (Part 1) 2015. (GoPro/Carpe Diem Hack video)
- 28th Annual Houston Art Car Parade. (Part 2) 2015. (GoPro/Carpe Diem Hack video)
- GoPro: Lowrider Car Show (Pitbull Music) @ 28th Annual Houston Art Car Parade (GoPro/Carpe Diem Hack video
Cars are created by individuals, groups, companies, schools, kids and adults. Anything with wheels is qualified including cycles, motorbikes, skates, and even Barbie cars.
Any car you think should be suggested to the Washington, DC motor pool for our elected officials?
Basic black is so yesterday.
Coloring outside the lines, but staying in the lanes,
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Oh, sent an agent to cover the parade in my place, but turned out this one was too busy mousing around to relay any content.
Photos of a few of the entries just to intrigue you:
You are bound to remember. (Rocket scientists did.) Summer pools, inflatable rafts, and a cool idea.
Toss that pretend floating island into the sparking-like-stars water.
Then run. Fast. Before the “No running!” whistles blew) with a great leap and less than graceful attempted landing onto the float. A successful splashdown – one without hitting pool side, or other kids – was a thing of wonder. Worth the lifeguard scowls.
And parents who said “If you bust that one, you’re not getting another” before they went back to reading their books.
Inspired by childs’ play, SpaceX’s reusable rocket uses the same technique – with a little new technology.
Landing from a iffy-controlled fall onto a floating target – whether a kid at a pool or a rocket in the ocean – isn’t easy peasy.
Weather cooperating, SpaceX plans to launch an unmanned Dragon space capsule to International Space Station powered by their Falcon 9 rocket.
This will be their third attempt to land a returning rocket on a barge. (Maybe paint Mickey Mouse on the barge instead of a “Land Here X”? Falcons can target a meal miles away. Channel that spirit animal.)
The first Falcon 9 crashed. (Remember how that little kid was in such a hurry to launch himself into the pool before the life guard could grab him but he slipped. Crashing, cement pool burns, and a bloody lip? Like that.)
The second Falcon 9 faced bad weather and high seas, so it splashed down for a water recovery. (There was always a big loud kid and his group at the pool that hated you. A soon as you’d leap into the air towards the raft, they would kick and splash up a storm so the raft would buck and dart out of place leaving you without the planned docking spot. Jeers and humiliation. Just the same. Exactly.)
An “out-of-the-raft thinker”yourself treading water trying to keep up with SpaceX?
- Watch the launch Tuesday @ 4:10 ET. Here or here.
- All the updated SpaceX news here. NASA’s SpaceX blog.
- Bad weather delays SpaceX rocket landing attempt, Dragon launch (Space.com)
SpaceX really shouldn’t be upset with their rocket recover battles. Landing on dancing waters is an ambitious plan.
Some can’t even manage ordinary landings on flat land holding still.
Monday an early United flight to Houston’s IAH airport got that sinking feeling as all wheels and landing gears ended up in the mud.
It was before dawn and terribly rainy. Sounds like they bumped down as usual, then were unable to get traction enough to hold it in the center of the runway, so it skied off into the mud.
And sat down just like a nervous bunny hill skier.
While at a tilt, no one hurt, but all luggage stuck inside (even 12 hours later)
Did I mention it was an early morning flight from Vegas?
Somebody has to say it “What happens in Vegas…….”
A little sleepy? Pre-dawn flight. Lack of sleep. Nothing else implied.
Some barely awake might have worried at first that the tilting plane aisle’s was caused by one last Bloody Mary at the airport.
Hopefully there was no permanent damage caused by mascara brushes or lipstick tubes.
- VIDEO. “United Airlines plane gets stuck at Bush IAH” Passengers talk. (KPRC/NBC local news. It’s been 12 hours. It’s still stuck. So is their luggage.)
- It is so not the pilot’s fault. Seriously. Maybe the plane just thought the grass was greener.
The starry skies are friendly, it’s just the landings that are hard.
Dragons, falcons, and passengers know.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
If anyone knows about splashdowns, it’s Esther Williams. Talks about extravaganzas.
There’s something mysterious about her.
She’s always there – looking over the stout brick fence. Not sure if she’s spying or intrigued by the activity along the green belt.
Never tries to duck or looks embarrassed if spotted.
Sometimes a small nod or slight wave.
But no words from her.
Some widowed relative kindly offered shelter or a wayward cousin sent after getting into trouble?
Always outside “not wanting to be a bother” and staying out of the way?
Or desperately looking for rescue?
While intrigued, it’s been a little awkward to snap a pix.
Not knowing her position in the household.
Or her emotional state.
Intruding might prove sticky.
Still, there’s something about her. “Being of the world, but not in it”
Bet she answers the phone with a booming “To whooooommmm do you wish to speak?”
There every day: an observer a bit off kilter.
jerked guided the Really? Must you smell every blade of grass obedient dog in the direction where Lady Enigma stood peeking down like Rapunzel.
Would the seeds of conversation be the start of anything?
More amused than ever after being up close and personal.
Somehow the cheery old dear reminds me of Carmen Miranda.
Not out of her gourd, that one.
Bet affection grows if you give her a chance.
I keep thinking she’s watching for Uber.
More avant-garde inner city than subdued suburban ranch.
Won’t be surprised if she vanishes only to be spotted in pictures of some socialite’s garden party.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
The stains on the floors. Footsteps hesitant as somewhat sticky coatings try to hang on to soles with each step. Hindering any rapid departure or escape.
Was that a memory scurrying down the hall? Or some homesteader slipping into shadows to avoid eviction?
Perhaps, nothing but an eddy from your own motion.
Why. Why bother coming back. Looking for what? Redemption or absolution.
Sometimes buildings’ porous walls seem to suck in and hold the screams, the yells, the cries while the bubbles of cheers and laughter evaporate.
Because sorrow lasts longer than joy?
It’s 50 years old. Still young in other places, not here.
The Houston Astrodome was touted as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” in 1965 when it opened as the first domed indoor air-conditioned sports stadium.
It was a wild and crazy era: Space mania. Jetsons. Sputnik. John Glen. Cape Canaveral.
Between innings, ground crews (Called “the Earthmen”) wearing space suit costumes with helmets would groom the baseball diamond. Mini-skirted “Spacettes” ushered visitors to seats.
Originally the glass roof was clear, but outfielders soon complained high soaring fly balls disappeared in the glare. In addition, patrons were forced to wear sunglasses and certain seats became far too toasty as the sun beamed through the glass. So they painted the roof. Then the grass died from lack of sun. Enter AstroTurf!
Elvis, George Strait, Billy Graham, Evel Knievel, Muhammad Ali, the Supremes, Judy Garland, Seleena, rodeos, tennis matches, football games – all filled the seats.
The private parties of the skyboxes were legendary. Jet Set swooned.
There was Judge Roy Hofheinz’s ornate office suite and apartment taking up seven floors.
Once called Houston’s gaudiest apartment, it was decorated as “Early King Farouk” (Bob Hope) or”early whorehouse” (Sports Illustrated). Amid the red carpet, zebra print chairs, psychedelic wallpaper were conference rooms, a putting green, bowling alley, puppet theater, shooting gallery, chapel (with interchangeable stained glass panels for each faith), and private terrace overlooking the playing field. Did I mention the Asian dragon statues? (Shiver. Exactly what outsiders think of Texas: Over the top excess.)
Admit it. You want to see pictures. Click here. (Time Life images)
Dwarfed by the behemoth NRG Stadium sitting a stones throw away, the Astrodome has been mostly vacant.
One of the old dowager stadium’s finest hour was in 2005, when the Harris County judge ordered the Astrodome doors be opened and said “Send them to us”. Bus load after bus load of Hurricane Katrina evacuees arrived to shelter there.
Citizens of Houston and surrounding areas ringed the Astrodome fence perimeter with clothing, shoes, and toys after the Red Cross (who eventually arrived on the grounds) refused local items and said “We only want money.” Actually the families needed clothing immediately. Volunteers organized items by type and sizes and assisted people in finding what they needed. The Red Cross was outraged and tried to have cops arrest volunteers. Uh, no. People here have always had a close relationship with New Orleans – business, party-time, family connections. Neighbors help neighbors.
Which brings up the question as to what should be done with this huge historical building or eyesore depending on your point of view.
It would cost as much to tear it down as to fix it up. There have been proposals and interest from private investors, but the old dear still waits her prince.
It could be a science, space, or history of the area museum?
Someone wanted to turn it into a hotel with shops and restaurants around a garden with trees and waterfalls. Another time it was turn it into a ski slope. There was the giant indoor amusement park idea. A water park. A grassy event arena.
A parking garage? Right there by the football stadium, the rodeo, or with the rail connections to downtown/medical center, some much needed parking for daily inner city commuters?
Anyone remember Civil Defense shelters?
There used to be signs on downtown buildings with basements that were set up to house/feed/medical supplies for a set number of inhabitants if necessary.
Considering recent hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and wild fires, it seems obvious that there will be disasters and people in harm’s way, so how about a massive shelter waiting all stocked and ready?
The US military might consider relocating their “urban warfare” exercises in there.
Plenty of room and they could build any kind of environment they wanted for practice. Hollywood could help with all the sets and special effects.
Better in that contained area than roaming outside in actual cities and neighborhoods as scheduled. Less disturbing for the locals who are not really excited about being “swarmed with special op military attempting to operate undetected among civilians in massive military exercise.”
What better place for boys to be boys and play their games than the Astrodome?
Fifty years ago on April 9th, the Astrodome opened with a baseball game.
April 9, 2015, there was a big party there so people could once again walk inside and be stunned at how gigantic the place is.
Built and supported by taxpayers who are tired of studies, pie in the sky ideas, treading water, and watching the building deteriorate.
Come on, decision makers, we make things happen. Charge ahead and once again push the boundaries.
It’s time. Love it or list it. But do something.
Texas always dreams big, they say.
Built to this point in time.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
- VIDEO and pix. “Happy 50th Birthday to the Astrodome”(ABC/ch13)
- “Things you didn’t know about the once majestic Astrodome” GIANT RATS! And cats. (USA Today Sports)
- “Escaping Astrodoom? Why the derelict Astrodome sits in limbo” PICTURES. Why it should be saved according to architects. (Dallas Morning News).
A wind up, a determined throw, then slamming through the universe.
Baseball? Uh, no. (Odd pick. Jumping to conclusions again. Warned you about that.)
Know that stone skipping across the water game?
A little ricochet action through today’s post. (Blame it on cough drop overload. Although some won’t notice any difference at all.)
Limited amounts make something illusive. Fashion lives and dies on that.
While wandering through the April Fool’s blogs, I skipped into Sacha Black’s world: “Mother, wife, writer…almost an author, full-time worker bee, part-time nail artist”
There a challenge was being filed and polished: “Write a story in one sentence.”
Now not being known for brevity (I heard that), I was startled by a sleeping dragon rumbling, “Remember that time in elementary school when you wrote a sentence that went on and on for pages and pages and the teacher said it was the longest correctly constructed and punctuated sentence that she had ever seen?”
Dragons are not ones to be ignored, so here’s my attempt:
It was time for the little voices to cease, so weary beyond endurance and out of desperation, she let herself slip under the warm consoling waters until she heard once again, “Mommy!”
Slip over to Sacha Black’s blog to read more super short stories.
Maybe cross your fingers, add a touch of polish, and create a one sentence story of your own in comments here or there?
Don’t worry, it’s hats off to any one who attempts the quest.
Speaking of hats, have you seen the BulletSafe Bulletproof hat?
Don’t laugh. With the rising incidents of violent road rage around here, these hats could become a must have for commuters.
It looks pretty much like a baseball cap: familiar, non-threatening, and benign. (Check the video)
Still they might consider adding some of those long ear flaps like a hunter’s cap for a little more protection for when the bullet is fired through the side window.
Hype, right? Bullets through windows while simply driving in traffic?
Happened to us a few years ago. Cops just shrugged. “Probably a gang initiation. Happens all the time.” (Well, that makes me feel better. No biggie. Just routine incident. Child’s play.)
This week they did arrest the man who shot a woman driver in the head because she honked at him. (People are so touchy and it’s not cranky hot from summer yet. Not so good.) Here’s the story.
Not an isolated event which may make bulletproof hats the accessory of the decade?
If they can work out a way to prevent hat hair, the company will have a winner.
(Arrive with smashed hat hair or feeling safe in the car? Is there really a choice?)
Speaking of public safety, it’s spring. Time to watch out for the sneaky crawlers.
No, not Peeking Toms at the window.
It’s the lurkers in the tall grasses and weeds. (No, not some lonely country boys, you really do clutch those stereotypes, don’t you?)
Time for amorous alligators.
After the long chill, they’ve started coming out to sun and strut to impress.
This week a pair of gator party mates were told their reservations were canceled. Just a little too unsettling for the kids who normally swim in the pond. (Video here)
Moved to more appropriate accommodations to Gator Country preserve near Beaumont, TX.
(And just look at them. Scaling activities to mirror “50 Shades of Grey”? Honestly, get a more isolated swamp, next time. Think of the children. Oh? You were? Wait, they are so not on the lunch menu. 400 pounds at 11 feet long? Gator guy – the past 35 years have been good to you. Watch that waistline. Healthy diet and exercise. Swimming is a good choice. Must say, that toothy smile is quite winsome)
Enough bytes for you?
Blog post lite. (Pass the tissues, please. Sneezie is not just a name of a Disney character.)
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
A day without hula.
Without a whisper of sways.
Not a swish. Not a sigh.
No mesmerizing motions. Wiggles and giggles put aside.
No annoying guffaws of “Hey, what’s under there?” (Questionable comment for just about anywhere.)
No Don Ho singing the Hukilau Song.
Standing patiently, eager for spring wardrobe change, the hula dancing palms excitedly chattered among themselves. Trying not giggle when tickled by the tall ladders the landscape crew nudged up against them.
Oh, it’s time. Plenty warm enough now. They nodded.
As Mexican Fan palms grow, they gently fold their lower fronds down like layering petticoats under long hula skirts.
These hanging fronds form warm overcoats against winter’s chill. Little birds tuck themselves in to stay warm…along with roaches and mice, possibly.
So we don’t have to be asked twice when the palms feel comfortable with going a little more bare and flashing a bit more of their stems.
Wary after the unexpected recent Bush League Assault, we were a bit nervous about doing this spring’s palm clip job. The frond stems are barbed and sharp. No doubt used as primitive weapons somewhere if you slashed across time.
So we hired a tree crew to do the trim and to haul off the sure-to-stab-you fonds. (Somewhere there’s probably a palapa welcoming a new covering of fresh-cut fronds.)
Now more like flappers than hula girls, the Mexican Fan palm gals are rather giddy. Like kids who happily shrugged off their shoes and school uniforms on the last day of school.
We’ve apologized to the perplexed squirrels who are suddenly finding their regular routes cut off.
Fond of fronds.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Production note: The entire Staff of the Realm is a bit under the weather right now (sneeze, hack, cough), which is stressing RC Cat out tremendously as Staff is so slow/unresponsive to multiple wake-up whacks on the head in the morning. (“A tidy realm is a realm running on schedule”.) As a result, post schedule may be disrupted for a bit now and then.
Two sitting ducks.
Quite smug with their luck.
No quackers. No Peeps.
Exhausted bunnies asleep.
On Easter weekend, two sitting ducks is enough.
(No silly clucks.)
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Hop over to read something? Some believe there’s always a storm just before Easter as a reminder.
“Easter ‘blood moon’ approaches: Third lunar eclipse of the Tetrad set to make the night sky glow red this weekend” (UK Daily Mail. Got some worried)
NASA world map: Who saw the eclipse.