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November 18, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Football: cleats, masks, and machetes

Nothing says NFL football like machetes and bandoliers. And Lucha libre masks.

OK. Maybe only in Houston, but one Texan Superfan will be missing a few of his favorite accessories For Monday’s game in Mexico City.

Apparently the stadium there bans certain things…and I’m like, “Wait. They allow all that stuff in NRG Stadium here?”

Superfan's wardrobe and accessories laid out to pack for Texan's game (

When traveling, it’s important to pack the right accessories.(

This creative Houstonian is blending cultures: NFL football gear with Lucha libre (with a little help from his mom)

“Traveling Texans Superfan excited to see team play in home country”

Go ahead and watch the short video. You gotta love this guy.

And it’s so Houston.

Man in costume. Superfan NFL outfit (

Fans, the game day costume challenge gauntlet has been thrown down.(

What will other heritage inspired Superfans create?

Real possibilities with the international population.

Guaranteed to get you some big time screen time. (Think selfies! Fans of Superfans!)

No time to drop the ball, cultural slackers.

NFL is getting desperate for a way to grab eyeballs.

Some are saying pack your own lunch if heading to the Texans vs Oakland Raiders event.

“Team warned top stay in hotel; not order room service in Mexico”

Psyche! Although for serious fans, it’s more than just a game…

But no problemo – even without all the spirited accessories, Superfans like Carranza are ready for some US football. And if this game is anything like the international soccer games here, everyone better hope that stadium is structurally overbuilt and super sturdy.

“Fandom without borders” (ESPN: Why the NFL is in Mexico.)

The games people play. NBA targeted China, remember?

Going long.

Get ready for that pass. (And pass the chips which fall where they may and it’s OK ’cause the dog will eat them.)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Costume accessories of Oved Carranza. Texans NFL Superfan wardrobe. (

Ok now. Eager to see even more culturally diverse and creative fan outfits at the games soon. Pancho Villa and the Zapatistas can’t be the only inspiration out there.(


November 16, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Part two: Of dowsers and doubters

1919 couple in film "A man's fight" Motion Picture News Aug.23,1919.United Pictures (USPD, artist's life (

“Don’t go over to the dark side.Call a geologist for goodness sakes.” (USPD/

Dad casually chatted with the old man for a bit once the spot was marked. (I thought they would never stop.)

Discussing the number of paces it took the stick to go quiet and horizontal from the marked spot – with a man’s stride being about X number of feet. Determining how deep the water was below.

“Yes,” the dowser said, “always used the El mmm.”

He handed Dad the forked stick – with a grin.

The dowser’s truck barely disappeared down the red dirt road before Dad took the stick in hand – palms up with thumbs out – and off he strode across the field.

Now Dad, a scientific sort, was quite a known jokester, so when the stick started jumping in his hand, Mom laughed “Stop that! Stop fooling around. The kids will believe you.”

Only he had a funny look on his face.

“I’m not doing it. It’s jumping around all on its’ own. I can’t stop it.”

I knew when he was joking and when he wasn’t. He wasn’t.

“Me! Me!”

But he wouldn’t relinquish it.

Kept walking back and forth struggling to hold the stick still, but unable to.

Totally stunned. Trying to control it. Trying to figure it out.

Mom, always The Practical, The Realist, grabbed the stick. A look of expectation lit up her face.

Nothing. Not a wiggle. Not a jump.

Even when standing right on the anointed spot.

Dead still. A stick stuck.

“Bah. Ok, great joke.”

Disgusted at being fooled, she stomped to the porch.

I intercepted the stick pass off.

Carefully positioned my hands: palms up, thumbs out. With high hopes took a step.

It happened. It was alive.

It jumped. It wiggled.

I could barely hold on to it much less stop it. No matter what.

It lunged forward. Pulling me along like a team of sled dogs.

The straight stem tugged into a curve down seemingly vibrating with pure happiness at the site of water.


As I walked away from the water sites, it calmed once far from the water it wanted.

Eyes as big a saucers, Dad and I.

Mom was stink-eyed.

father and daughter 1919. "Mayor of Filbert". Moving Picture World, May, 1919 (USP /

“Dad, do you think Mother will ever get over it? After all, she was the always the one rumored to be a bit touched…” (USPD/

No mistaking that scowl. Making fun of her? 

We shuffled back and forth. Eyes down.

Dad looked to see if she was looking, then whispered, “Looks like you have the touch”.

For the remainder of the afternoon Dad and I followed the El mmmm around the farm over hill, creek banks, and dry stream bed.

Just to make sure we didn’t dream it.

We didn’t, I assure you.

Dad never dismissed the experience.

Many things can’t be explained. Like finding the well water exactly at the depth the dowser predicted.

I haven’t held an El mmm branch for some time.

Might have been smart to stick with it, though.

Could have become legendary for directing parched shoppers to the closest bottled water source.

Never doubt a dowser

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Part One is here, in case you missed it.

More to muddle over?

  •  Science for a changing world. Water Dowsing. (What is it. What science says)
  • Skeptic’s Dictionary. Dowsing (a.k.a water witching, radiesthesia) Lots of history, testimonials, the 1980’s German study, Munich physicist Hans-Dieter Betz, types of dowsing including for drugs, guns, and bombs. Quite a reading list too.
  • Live Science. Dowsing: the Pseudoscience of Water Witching. History from 1556, but even with New Age ideas, still no better than chance?
  • WIKI. “Dowsing. Pictures and information. Martin Luther was against it (1518). Jesuits declared dowsing superstitious and perhaps satanic ( but, then again, maybe not, the decided.). Types of dowsing equipment, scientific studies, possible explanations, and famous dowsers.
Woman in costume. Betty Linn.Jan,1922 "The Tatler" USPD:,-artist's life /

Did Lady Luck smile or was it something else? Didn’t matter. My white tennis shoes were no longer pink.(USPD/


November 14, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Epic clash: dowsers and doubters.

He was an old man – which wasn’t unusual considering – nor did he seem to find it unusual I was tagging along and filing every single word. It seemed to amuse him.

The three of us, the old man, my dad, and I struggled through the brush to locate it: a fine energetic El mmm tree (that’s how he said it: “El mmmm”) with roots deep into the soil by a stream.

Our old well had become unreliable with too much red mud in the bucket too often. Dad wanted a deeper one.

So of course we needed an expert: the local dowser.

Man in overalls leaning against by old storefront. 1935 Dorothea Lange1(1895-1965)FDR Pres.Lib./ USPD:, by Fed employee (

Don’t judge a dowser by his overalls. He looked the part.(USPD/

Now Dad was scientific in thought. Mom, too.

Kids loved to visit our house to mess with the chemistry sets, real microscopes, and sometimes cow eyeballs in the freezer next to the ice cream (depending if what unit was being taught that week).

Dad had already figured that the new well would be along a hidden underground river’s path – most likely between our current shallow one and the dip in the ground where the old, old one that had been dug shortly after the civil war beside the giant oak tree, also of that era.

But he was always curious about the old ways.

All the old farmers said this dowser never failed to find good water and to tell exactly how far down it was.

The leaves had fallen, but ground not yet frozen when his schedule had time for us.

A quick examination of the tree’s branches, then the dowser selected 2 forks and quickly, cleanly, cut them with a sharp knife.

“‘precciate you lettin’ us have these branches” he thanked the tree. (Who seemed OK with it all. )

Back up by the house, we watched him pace back and forth among the existing wells with the fork’s branches in his hands: palms up, thumbs out.

farm children in a field. 1940 (USPD: Dept of Ag./

“Do you think he’ll find it? Druther get my iron from vitamin pills than that well water.(USPD/

As predicted, he stopped halfway between the two old well sites and announced there was the spot.

What was not predicted was how that El mmm branch, held at the start straight out parallel to the ground, started bucking and jerked like a unbroke horse fighting a halter as he walked.

Then the stem of the branch lunged forward, slowly curved down pointing to a spot on the ground.

The dowser walked off and came back across at 3 different angles.

The El mmm would not be fooled. Always the same spot.

Then he would walk away, counting the steps until the branch rose back up horizontal to the ground and became still.

Mother chuckled and went inside. Brother smirked.

Dad and I were mesmerized.

The quivering stick seemed to have a mind of its’ own – a strong one.

To be continued Wednesday….(It’s just too long)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Little Girl sitting with fox on a kitchen table. (1959 National Lib of Wales. Geoff Charles/Universal PD/

Can we keep him? We can tell the neighbors it’s a cat or a science project.(1959Nat. Lib of Wales. Geoff Charles/PD/





November 13, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Shark Tank potential

If any idea has a chance, this one does.

Find a solution to a common problem and the world will beat a path to your door. So I’m sweeping the porch in preparation.

Selfies have become mainstream, but there’s a problem of limiting hand usage.

Even with a long selfie stick, one hand is always occupied making it near impossible to hold really big protest signs so they can be read, do “hands up”correctly, pump both fists to show enthusiasm or protest at the same time if you also have to hang onto dogs, partners, small children, or hold multiple food items/coffee….

You see the problem.

People have stuff and need two hands for normal activities, yet still want to take selfies.

Solution: a backpack design featuring a long arm that a cell phone can be attached which arches over the wearer’s head.

The arm might be remote-controlled by the wearer to swing or rotate for selfies in profile as well as face forward.

Better than taking a purse that could get stolen lost in the riot, game day, concert crowds.

Reel potential here for screen queens.

So Shark wanna-bes, anyone ready to bite into a great new product?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge



November 9, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

A Solid Thought

woman (1921)Ziegeld Follies' Anastasia Reilly.(The Tatler.Oct.1921) USPD:

Don’t call me, baby. Kept me up all night squalling.(USPD/

They, the future. Piling on.

Whiners from sleep deprivation.  Smelly mess.

After this, no one can admonish them with “What have you done to earn your keep?”

They avoid meeting eyes, knowing they are full of it.

No, baby, everyone’s  not a winner. That was a lie.

Truth, though is that every single one has something they are good at. So go with that.

Take those plastic disposable diapers and go.

(Parents everywhere would be ecstatic if you only would…)

Women and many children lined up. (Wellcome Images. UK. Iconic Collection-569402i)

You see germs and messes. Others see building materials. (Wellcome Images.UK..569402i /

Take those toxic landfill killers and build, Baby, build!

Why use steel or precious lumber for framing and structure when unwanted diaper lumps could be placed like Legos then covered with concrete.

Like they do with Superfund toxic waste dump sites. (Instant parking lot or highway! People have such short memories…)

A straw pole thinks recycled diapers could become the new adobe perfect big outdoor walls.

Problem solved by creative thinking.


Dry those tears and waddle proud.

To those who much is given, mush is expected in return.

As the churl turns,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

JFK. (1989) “For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us—recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities….” Read the rest here.

Woman in dress with balloons. Ziegfeld Follies' Helen Barnes, 1915-1918. (

See, no matter how much time passes, history will not look kindly on this dress. Not solid building material at all. (USPD/


November 7, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Chain saws

Sun with rainbow rings of red, yellow, and violet. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Let’s see. Who shall the powerful freak out today?©

In a different time, an omen. Halos around the sun. A bored star trying on some ring-a-ding jewelry. Waiting along with the commuters.

And that’s when I saw it: the cheery, little, eco-friendly hybrid car: full of himself, or at least, the driver.

A tiny car, not shy though, even when traveling between a garbage truck and a four door monster-sized pickup.

Maybe it was traveling with close friends like little kids do at schools, knowing the danger of that road.


The lettering on the vehicle’s sides certainly indicated an elevated concept: “Green Pest Control”.

Rolling with irony.

The driver’s door lettering listed “Green Mosquito Control” at the top of the menu.

The little biters are all a-buzz.

How green and environmentally friendly is it to kill off a participant in the food chain? Mosquitoes contribute and have rights, too.

Bullying by dominant individuals is no longer tolerated these days.

No doubt some class action suit is in progress.

No shooing off easily these days.

Talk about scratching the surface. Yes, I’m feeling itchy.

Sun surrounded by rings outside front window. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Red means stop – and notice the rings/halo around the sun. Considering the temps, hard to believe it’s caused by ice crystals. This is an outbound flight path, so some insist the rings are created by pollution and chemicals given off by air traffic. Could just be the sun trying on new outfits for Fall. Or the aging star begging for  attention and, maybe, a sky selfie. Old wives’ tales warn to get ready for rough weather and stormy times. Seriously? We’ve already got those 3 Supermoons in the last 3 months of the year (With Nov 14th being an “Extra Super Supermoon” that won’t happen again until Nov. 25, 2034)©

Why is it the lane not chosen always the one that gets there faster?

A really old well seasoned and obviously well-loved Jeep rolling past with elbows draped outside all the open windows. (Sun was roasting passengers in their tin cans with 85 F that day.)

The majority of the back window covered by an intricate white line decal of The Virgin of Guadalupe.

Now there’s a smile: young guys leaving work, arms out the car window on a Friday afternoon.

Rolling cool with Mary.

Chained between the lines, but knowing what I saw. Circling past.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Not enough to make you feel lassoed?

Clouds with vapor trail X in sky. All rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

What? Trial run? X marks the spot? Hope not. We are one of the places rumored to be targeted  for election day terror attacks. Joint emergency groups actually held a big practice disaster drill downtown over the weekend. Seriously, dudes, most of us already voted. Stop circling the wagons. Maybe that’s all wrong and it’s really the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstake Awards van headed this way. I’d better go home and sweep the porch so it’s nice in the pictures…..©

November 3, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The art of water works

In order to get someplace, you have to know how things work.

Not always just point and drive.

Like with a sailboat, none of that going as the crow flies.

Marina on right, and Clear Lake Channel from Outriggers. NO permissions granted. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

Outriggers. local favorite after tourists season. View west down Clear Lake channel. Fishing on rocks at right. Marinas on either side of water.©

See the little grey “house” in the picture above? It’s really a fuel dock for a marina.

Note the little white sails just to the left of it. The boat is under sail moving to the right.

small sailboaat now sailing to left. NO permissions granted. ALl rights reserved. Copyrighted

Small sailboat now sailing back to left. (port) ©

The sailboat is heading down the channel from Clear Lake to Galveston Bay into the wind.

The skipper has to put a little thought into it as the wind is coming from behind where we are sitting. The passengers/crew will have to be alert and be ready to move .

Try to sail directly into the wind and a sailboat stops: dead in the water (and the skipper looks foolish or inexperienced. Horrors!)

sailboat getting closer under sail. ALL rights reserved. COpyrighted. NO permissions granted

Making progress zigzagging to utilize the wind and keep the sails full so he keeps moving. Just turned back to make another pass across ©

Sailboat pointed at marina. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted.

Still sailing on the same leg – towards one of the marinas. Those “sticks” aren’t power poles everywhere. Those are sailboat masts. This is is one of the largest collection of sailboats and marinas in the US which is why the Texas coastline is sometimes called the Third Coast.©

sailboat by bridge. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

After more turns and zigzagging, the boat is opposite our table. Sometimes boats tie up, people get off to eat here, or grab a beer from the breezy bar underneath. But maybe later. A nice Fall sailing day shouldn’t be wasted indoors ©

This is a J boat, about 22 feet, a racer which is why there’s not anything decorative or fussy in the design or cockpit.

It is steered by a tiller to the rudder instead of a wheel and when out for a leisurely sail, can comfortably hold four.

Yes, they should all have life jackets on. Slipping under the patrol radar since it’s not the busy weekend/summer season. (Still warm here – 80’s F. But windy Fall days are cool on the water.)

sailboat with wind in main sail. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

You can see the main sail is curved and catching a strong wind gust that blew in from the bay (at left). Caught them by surprise. With 2 people sitting on the downwind side (right), and a sail full of wind, the boat was almost pushed flat into the water. Luckily the crew is nimble and swift – ducked down and moved to the other side to counterbalance, and the skipper steered up (into the wind) a bit to dump some air out of the sail. And voila – no problema other than slowing down a bit©

sailboat under bridge close to bulkhead. ALL rights reserved.No permissions granted. Copyrighted

The skipper had just enough wind to complete the turn he had planned as he started under the big bridge. He’s good. You can see the passage narrows here. The wind gets flukey. You have to know, you have to be quick, you have to know what your boat/crew can do, and you have to plan ahead. Or it can be costly.©

sailboat in narrow passage under bridge.ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

He’s planning on just clearing the bridge passage and making another turn before running out of room, speed, or wind in the sail It was close. ©

It’s quite a ballet – more of a tango, perhaps.

Before long, the place where we are eating will be torn down as a twin tall bridge is built in this location. This is one of two roads out during hurricane evacuations. Long overdue.

There used to be a drawbridge here.

It was quite a trick getting boats out – especially during the hot summers with the crowds, weekend boaters, children steering, and beer.

There was a schedule for the bridge. You had to carefully make your way, then flow along with current and wind in the line hoping you timed it right so you didn’t arrive too early at the closed bridge. In that situation, you had to turn the boat around, square dance circle past all the waiting boats, then somehow manage to turn again and slip back into line. Lots of planning and strategizing

Tempers would flair – especially between motor boats and the sailors. Those that aren’t local often didn’t have manners, know the routine/pattern, and ignored the “No Wake Zone” signs.

The big bridge was a big improvement. Change happens. Things gained; things get lost.

Sailboat past the bridge and zigzagging across the mouth of the channel.. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Ah, they made it. Sailboat past the bridge and zigzagging toward the right bank.©

sailing towards Kemah boardwalk ...after a few more sweeping legs and turns. ALL rights reserved. No permissions granted. Copyrighted.

And now back to the left. You can see the Kemah Boardwalk with rides, restaurants, and tourists on the right bank.©

sailboat heading to Galveston Bay. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

There’s the mouth of the channel opening to Galveston Bay. A couple of passes back and forth, but not much more to go.©

Real sailors don’t paddle or turn the motor on (unless that super tanker or cargo vessel is going a whole lot faster than you thought…).

Speed boats may be fast and thrilling. Attract the pretty. Plenty of room for AC, cold beverages, assorted clothing, and pets. Often with loud music and mandated yelling over the powerful noise.

Not everyone gets sailing.

Many times slow.

“Long periods of absolute boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.”

The boat leans, tilts, and feels unstable.

You can’t always go exactly where you want.

And you have to work to keep moving. (Call it Extreme Exercise…with some potential for “boat bites” from equipment.)

There is something to be said for focusing on how the winds blow, knowing where you’re going, looking ahead, and being willing to work to get there.

Afternoon reflections on skillful manuevers in the water.

Or do you think there’s any parallels eddying there?

Currently drifting,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

restaurant view overlooking waterway and racing sailboat sotrage on right. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted NO permissions granted

Overlooking waterway and racing sailboat storage on right. Many of the smaller J boats and racing crafts are lifted out of the water between racing sessions. Keeps the hulls cleaner so they will be faster. Don’t be fooled. Small “plain” racing boats often cost more than a larger boat, maybe as much as a small car. Realistically, the chances are that the owner isn’t rich, drives an old car, doesn’t wear expensive clothes, or lives in a fancy place with designer furniture. Different priorities. Once the wind talks…©


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