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July 31, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

What’s driving this? Dunderheads or Muse?

Useless to argue with dunderheads or drunks.

Like a rudderless raft on a raging flash flood, the few brain cells functioning are desperately firing off orders to primitive corners of instinct and centers of repetitive motion habits.

1965.Andy Williams show

No! There will be no strip poker in this establishment. (1965.Andy Williams show.NBC/

Yep, we’re talking about driving while sloshed.

(“Hey, I can make it home. Done it thousand of times – in much worse shape”)

And we all know how too often that turns out. Especially if the drunk is driving the wrong way on the freeway

(The drunk survives, the minivan dies.)

Texas Dept of Transportation has new ideas to stop people from entering freeways and driving the wrong way.

Keeping things in sight, they may lower the red “stop-wrong way” signs and warning signs.

Make the signs shorter.

Makes sense? Seems drunks don’t look up much.

You’ve seen them on the road hunched over their steering wheels trying to stay in the lines.

In addition, perhaps some really bright LED lights on the signs. (Once again, in line of drunk’s sight. Apparently the ones on top of police cars don’t work for the brew crew)

Still not sure. Drunks seem to have a very narrow range of vision. (Most say they have no vision.)

How often do drunks miss the big red brake lights on the car at a full stop in front of them?

In any case,  driving the wrong way on freeways is happening much too often. Bright to try sumthin’

Vintage cops.1931. Public Enemy trailer screenshot: L'Ennemi/US life/

Sir, it doesn’t smell like root beer. And my name ain’t Myrtle. (1931.L’Ennemi/US

Talk about trying. Some choices can drive the sensible insane.

This area’s really growing – as bad as a kid that goes to sleep and wakes up the next morning to find the shoes he wore yesterday, don’t fit today.

One of the counties NW of Houston wants to park some state highway money in their plan to widen TX 249 into a giant fast running toll road from Houston to Waco.


Now there is a nice little university there. (and those students really want a faster way to the big city – and mom’s laundry room)

And the river area is very nice, so maybe tourists (and parents headed to Baylor Bear football)?

But Really? The advocates are saying Waco?

Oh, wait. Off to the side of the road – just along the way, there’s a little place called College Station with Texas A&M University.

Now, there’s no doubt that Aggie Highway stretch is dangerous.

Many parents from Baylor and A&M don’t breathe until they get that call their kid is safe back at school after a visit.

Men playing chess. 1903. Robert W. Paul/USPD/

Dude.I promise they’ll buy it! Hit them with emotion. No one checks the facts. (

But, seriously, tired of all the “hidden” stuff and the disingenuous who promote it.

Developers are throwing up master planned communities and subdivisions faster than a partying teenager with parents out of town for the weekend.

Home sellers know horrendous commutes to work means lower interest in their location.

Kindly offering to help, developers are pushing for new roads ASAP by alerting the public and officials of:

“Traffic congestion” “Gridlock” Accidents. (Gee. Pick any road. Any direction. Same thing no matter where you look.)

“Rapid residential growth that is only expected to continue..” (Especially if they can get big new roads to shorten travel time.)

“Entice economic development” (Yep. More strip centers, fast food places, and Big Box stores coming soon near you!)

“249 corridor includes is home to several points-of-interests including George Bush Intercontinental Airport, TX A&M, various medical centers, and the future Exxon Mobile headquarters near the Woodlands” (Now that’s odd. The airport is between I45 and I59 much further east – quite a ways from Tomball Parkway/249.  Come to think of it, Exxon and the Woodlands is also a long long way to the east. Must be a new definition of “249 corridor”?)

And “an additional hurricane evacuation route” ASAP!

1945.Gene Tierney in swim suit.. April issue of Brief, AAFPOA magazine by US military.Air Force. (US PD. By US employee/

Hurricane? Who’s afraid of a little hurricane? (1945.Gene Tierney.US PD./US Air Force.USPD/

Really? Rather a stretch.

Houston isn’t New Orleans. It’s not on the coast.

Unless you live near a major bayou, a hurricane may flood streets or knock out power, but there’s no need to evacuate.

That’s what happened during the Hurricane Rita mess. Media and Hurricane Katrina victims panicked resulting with huge numbers of people jumping in their cars and sitting on the roads for no reason at all. People died from traffic related incidents, not from a storm.

Confusing, this NW area road improvement proposal.

Know it’s for our own good (and has nothing do at all about opening land up for developers), but….

Hurricane Evacuation route widening and improvement is desperately needed for the counties south of Houston, not north or west.

There are mandatory evacuations in Galveston and Brazoria Counties, not Harris or Montgomery where this road, 249, is located and designed to serve.

People evacuating must be able to get to Houston or towns north first, then get across the city, before heading out of town away from the coast.

I45S is the only major road from Galveston to Houston. (talk about traffic congestion, gridlock, and accidents)

(Let’s not even add in the numerous additional buses that will be on the road loaded with newly arrived illegal immigrant that are in shelters in Galveston and Brazoria counties).

(Do hope there will be enough buses available for Galveston’s elderly, handicapped, and legal residents who are already registered for a bus during mandatory evacuations. Lots of buses on the road for Hurricane Ike. In heavy traffic. Very heavy traffic.)

Sometimes buzz words difficulties drive odd solutions and benefit the ones you’d never suspect.

quarterback. Torsten Bolten/ USPD/Commons,

Go long. Farther. All the way to the River Walk.(Bolten/ USPD/Commons,

San Antonio hopes some will be encouraged to hit the road to play in their city.

The Oakland Raiders’ owner and several top management team have been talking to San Antonio Officials about relocating the team there.

The Raiders want a new stadium. San Antonio has the Alamo Dome and with a few upgrades it would be ready to go for 2015. Also the city is eager to build a new football stadium.

San Antonio is a real sports town. The whole place is electric during Spurs basketball season.

For years the city has courted football teams – hoping.

And for years football teams have had tantrums their home cities with “if you won’t build one here for us we’ll pick up our toys and go to San Antonio. They are ready and waiting.”

Sigh. Please not another “always a bridesmaid never a bride” moment.

Just able to take so many heartaches. Just like Charlie Brown.

Raiders owner Mark Davis’ stadium lease expires in 2014. So he’s looking around.

While San Antonio only sits in the mid 30’s for television fans, huge numbers of football fans drive to Dallas or Houston for games. Season ticket holders.

Bob McNair, (Texans’ owner) Jerry Jones (Cowboys’ owner), do note that San Antonio fans are important for both of their teams.

And McNair, Jones, along with  the other NFL owners would have to approve the move.

So what are the chances?

1943 Judy Garland publicity shot.Clarence Sinclair Bull/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/US PD:

Oh, this time it’s for real. I know it is. It’s just got to be! (1943 Judy Garland.Clarence Sinclair Bull/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/US PD:

Hope springs eternal as once again as San Antonio leaps as the bride throws the football.

For once it would be nice for a football to fall where it should.

Easy travel these days means lots of opportunities for muses and dunderheads.

Just like Roseanne Roseannadanna always said “Well, it just goes to show you, it’s always something.”

Rambling on,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

And something special from one of the greatest muses of all: Gilda Radner, 1980



  1. sportsattitudes / Jul 31 2014 12:36 am

    It is difficult to say whether or not the Davis family is just using San Antonio as leverage to get a new stadium in Oakland. I actually thought the New Orleans Saints had a reasonable chance of moving to SA permanently after Hurricane Katrina but the NFL ultimately had no taste towards violating good taste by relocating a devastated city’s football franchise. The fans of San Antonio will await the result of this latest flirtation to see if it indeed blossoms into a happy marriage.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 31 2014 1:38 am

      New Orleans needed the Saints. It’s just who they are (both the city and team). Here at the Texans’ practice sessions, it’s all pretty much “no way Raiders move there.” Telling you , San Antonio is a real sports town – any team that ends up there will have unbelievable fan support (and it’s not that far from Austin and other places for game road trips). Basketball season there is city-wide and totally wild. Fingers crossed, but afraid it’s Lucy just flirting again. Thanks for dunking a comment


  2. shoreacres / Jul 31 2014 12:37 am

    Re: the evacuations and need for more routes… I read just this morning that the decision’s been made in McAllen to evacuate illegal aliens first, “to make sure the women and children reach higher ground safely.” Uh — last I checked, there were women and children in the valley who are U.S. citizens. Just saying.

    It would be interesting to know what plans are being hatched in Harris, Galveston, Chambers, Brazoria, etc.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 31 2014 1:31 am

      One of the “shelters” is a collection of mobile home/buildings with walkways. Another a cheap wooden frame built with white picket fence. Paid lots of money for those.
      As far as “children”, although the media keeps showing toddlers, it appears at least 85% are preteens or older – some do have their own babies with them. They will stay in the foster care system/schools until age 23. (Legal resident foster kids in TX dumped out at 18 – no support – no place to go. YMCA tries to help provide rooms when they can)
      Want to make some money? “Foster parents have the ability to collect more than $7,400 per month, considering that they can house six immigrants at any given time.” Oh, most seem to be 15-17 (just like in CA where the agencies said they didn’t know where the little ones were) Here’s the link
      If I was on that hurricane evacuation list for a ride out of Galveston area, I’d be looking for alternatives. Seems like now it’s everyone else first before citizens. Thanks for driving in


  3. Paul / Jul 31 2014 5:58 am

    Wow – lots covered in this post Phil. Yeah, roads get built where they beneift those with money. No doubt. Sports teams are always threatening in order to get better deals. We had an NHL palladium built here in Ottawa some years ago and the team would only support it if the gov’t built a 4 lane road with two exits leading to the facility. Lotta tax money for exits that are only used occassionally. They also got a big tax break on property taxes, free city bus rides to/from on game nights, etc, etc. Fundamentally that facility was about 50% tax payer money – many of taxpayers can’t afford to got to games because they are too expensive. But their taxes funded the better off who can afford to go. Silly me thinking that tax money should be spent to benefit all.

    As far as emegency evac is concerned – there is never enough time or money to really plan , and not much desire. All sorts of plans and meetings are made but when push comes to shove, it only ever covers a tiny bit of what is needed. Money is again the big problem. Committing funding to emerg planning is often seen as a waste of time and money.

    Great post Phil.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 31 2014 2:14 pm

      This coastal area has seen plenty of storms and is actually very organized in storm situations (without any feds telling us how to do it). A good plan and people following it- is why there is much less damage – and human harm when hurricanes hit. Houses in this area were built years ago to exceed Florida hurricane construction standards. Ike came pretty much right over – no damage. (People here know their elevation, and build accordingly…and don’t whine that someone else should pay if they don’t and a storm crushes it all) Mandatory evacuations are planned with certain groups/subdivisions leaving at assigned times. (We generally drag feet and watch storm movement/predicted storm surge heights…and the road flooding – so we can jump out at the last minute if necessary – without fighting traffic…but we grew up here and maybe better at predicting storm risk)
      If people really care about all those newly arrived border people, they wouldn’t be putting them in harm’s way in the coastal areas/hurricane zones of TX and Florida. Not a question of “if” a hurricane come – more like “when”.
      Houston really should see hurricanes as a nuisance more than a danger. You take precautions for losing power, lots of rain, and there’s also severe winds, but no need to run. Media really stokes fear.
      Sports and money. How much do people pay cops and firemen? Embarrassing.One local city NW of Houston admitted the entire police force qualifies/gets food stamps because they are paid so little. But people want and support all those sporting events…to forget their dreary lives and have some fun!
      Thanks for tossing a comment over the goal posts!


  4. katecrimmins / Jul 31 2014 1:42 pm

    I may be a skeptic but there is always a motive when something is proposed and it usually (always) involves money and not always in a good way.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 31 2014 1:57 pm

      Developers have always had too much of a free hand and a bully stance in this area…and they love to come up with ways to convince county/state/city to spend public money on something they want. It’s the normal tug of war around here..if no one’s watching, watch out. If there’s such concern about minimizing hurricane damage (there’s a proposal for a national “plan” for coastal areas with a lot of federal involvement…but it doesn’t address/mention the constant flooding along some major rivers/lake areas) If there’s so much worry over hurricanes, why aren’t the evacuation roads given priority? There are several alternative small routes – but they flood in high tides sometimes under regular conditions. The start date for the most promising route is 2017 – with actual construction starting later. The NW developers are seeing as traffic there has gotten bad there, more building is starting in the southern counties, not theirs. For the average citizen, it’s always something. Thanks for constructing a comment


      • katecrimmins / Jul 31 2014 2:51 pm

        The magic words in our area are “it will create jobs.” Then approval goes through lickety split!


  5. PiedType / Jul 31 2014 2:48 pm

    Logic dictates evacuation routes should be constructed/improved near the coast first, then do the routes farther inland. But since when does logic come into play?

    As for wrong-way drunk drivers, I’ve always thought the solution would be the one-way spike strips on the ramps, like you see in parking garages.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 31 2014 3:49 pm

      Logic…too big a word/concept? Maybe “put on your thinking caps’? If the routes to Houston were improved, then there would be few problems (if the media doesn’t get rabid and scare people…they keep showing that bus on fire on the road during Rita…the vast numbers of panicked drivers packing the lanes all the way to Dallas due to rabid media and frantic Katrina evacuees that didn’t understand Houston isn’t NOLA.)
      Spikes was my first thought – maybe concerns about a car flat in the exit lane and one flying off expecting to exit…a head-on..and the insurance companies would blame the exiting driver? How about spikes and a catapult panel in the exit lane? (RoadRunner, Wile E. Coyote, and Acme is bound to offer one?)
      Thanks for sticking in that comment


  6. Ally Bean / Jul 31 2014 10:54 pm

    I live in a county that is notorious for having the highest number of DUIs in the state. From my observations, no amount of improved roads or re-positioned stop signs would reduce this number. It’s a cultural thing; that is, getting wasted is expected, fun, whatever. As such, until the social group decides driving drunk is bad, nothing will change.

    As for evacuation routes, I know nothing from personal experience. Around here our weather nemesis is tornadoes, so our safety route is going into the basement. I hadn’t thought about how lucky we are on that point until I read your post.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 31 2014 11:47 pm

      It’s like many things – people have to decide to behave – and not do things than could harm others. I suspect you are right about the highway department’s efforts will have little effect on that group of drivers.
      Basements are rare here due to soggy mushy ground and high water tables. (There’s an underground storm shelter at the ranch in W. TX) But we often get tornadoes. At our last house I saw 2 story tall pine tree pushed flat on the ground (while running to get kid out of bed upstairs), then the freight train went over taking parts of the roof. We were lucky, but for days the place looked like a war zone.
      Hurricanes you have warning – they don’t sneak up on you like tornadoes. (and those warning sirens going off in the middle of the night – shiver.)
      Thanks for spinning a comment over this way


  7. EllaDee / Aug 1 2014 4:49 am

    Interestingly I’m currently reading Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, detailing events around Hurricane Katrina; absolutely incredible but they do say truth is stranger than fiction, which pretty much sums up many of the issues and scenarios you highlight.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 1 2014 1:20 pm

      We lived there at one time – had friends there who were docs at the hospitals and on phones during and after storm. Dike breakage, not hurricane(the Quarter was dry for a long time after the storm passed), did that city in (and where did all that designated dike repair tax money go that we paid for every time you put gas in the car?) Never will understand why people didn’t leave – they had warnings. And will never understand why all those buses/school were left in low areas to get flooded when they could have been used for evacuation. Bad judgements by so many. No surprise the ones that sheltered here panicked when Rita was looming.AS you say, Katrina pointed out the importance of having solid plans ahead of time. Will never be prouder of Houston than when the Judge picked up the phone and said open the old Astrodome and bring them here. The city responded with donations and help for a long time…without the feds asking. After all, these are our close neighbors – there’s a great deal of connections between the two cities – like family. And they would do the same for us if needed. Helping is just a regional thing…one reason many of us are angry at how this area is recently cast as not compassionate or caring. Let’s not let real facts get in the way. Some talk loudly – some people quietly do. It’s local thing, I guess.
      Thanks for driving along!


  8. jmmcdowell / Aug 7 2014 1:01 am

    Money and power always seem to get their way, no matter the cost or burdens it places on everyone else. And I’m afraid the only way to keep intoxicated people away from driving is to replace every vehicle with one that won’t start if the alcohol fumes in the air indicate someone’s over the limit. And even then, someone would have enough active brain cells to figure out how to override the system and endanger others.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2014 2:16 pm

      You are right. People can regulate and wrap everything in padding, but those bent on self destruction will find a way to continue down the path they have chosen. Maybe it’s some basic survival of the fittest, but their harming those who were just minding their own business during the process is pretty hard to watch.
      Jetsons. Jetson cars…wait those are in progress. Ground based ones anyway.
      Thanks for shifting gears to visit


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