Sunday, June 30, 2013

Who Defines Marriage? Same-Sex Marriage. ‘God Did Something Pretty Drastic’. NFL Murder Charges. Trayvon Martin and Justice. When Evil Walks In. Niagara Falls. Sandy Koufax.


For “Scripture Sunday”:

Who Defines Marriage?

June 25, 2013 - “The Supreme Court is expected to make two major rulings impacting the state of marriage in the United States.”


The Consequences of Accepting Same-Sex Marriage

June 26, 2013 - “The Supreme Court decides on same-sex marriage.”


Pat Robertson Warns DOMA Ruling Leading U.S. To Ruin Like Biblical Sodom: ‘God Did Something Pretty Drastic’

“During his 700 Club broadcast this morning, televangelist Pat Robertson warned that the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will lead the United States to a fate similar to the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed by God in the Book of Genesis for their sinful and inhospitable behavior.

In response to the news, Robertson mocked the suggestion that the battle for same-sex marriage has any similarities to the civil rights struggle during the 1950s and ’60s. Ultimately, the televangelist concluded, Americans’ “liberties are in danger” as governments continue to expand same-sex marriage, abortion rights, and the “removal of the Bible from schools.”

imagesCAXWZKQG “Read the bible,” he warned his audience, “because Sodom and Gomorrah, that’s where the term comes from, sodomy. Look what happened to Sodom. After a while, there wasn’t any other way, so God did something pretty drastic.”

Robertson, of course, was referring to a portion of the Book of Genesis in which God warns righteous residents of the city to flee because he intended to destroy it with fire and brimstone for its aberrant behavior. This particular story has often been used by evangelical Christians in their fight against same-sex marriage, often suggesting that the “immoral” sodomy performed by homosexuals will eventually lead to the destruction of civilization.”  More at:


NFL Murder Charges and Evil

June 28, 2013 - “News of a high profile arrest in the NFL can lead us to consider our perspective on sin.”


George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin and Justice

“What happened on the night of Feb. 26, 2012, at the Retreat at Twin Lakes Community in Sanford, Florida? This week a Florida jury began to hear starkly differing accounts of the events that led to the death of teenager Trayvon Martin at the hands of 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Everyone claims they want justice. Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, was quoted as saying, “I’m here today as Trayvon Martin’s mom as I have been every day. I will be attending every day to get justice for my son. I ask that you pray for me and my family because I don’t want any other mother to have to experience what I am going through now.” Meanwhile Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, asserted his client’s innocence. “He shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after being viciously attacked,” he declared, and he then went on to tell the jurors that there are “no monsters” in this case.

With all the publicity and racial overtones the case has garnered, we may expect some emotional moments in the courtroom. And with the polarization of opinion and many commentators having jumped to quick conclusions, it will be hard for the jury to render a just verdict. We don’t envy them their task.

imagesCAQXZ1QY But what are the facts? When there are claims and counterclaims of injustice, it’s often hard to stick to the facts and to say, “I don’t know enough to render a verdict,” or, “It’s best to reserve judgment.” After all, rendering judgment will be the purpose of the trial.

Someone once said that in this country—the United States—we have a legal system, not a justice system. All too often financial resources determine the quality of the legal representation a person gets in court. A wealthy person may blow millions of dollars in defense costs, while the poor person is forced to work with a court-appointed attorney who may have little or no time for the low-paying case. Sadly, it happens.

But what of this controversial case? Will it end in justice? We hope so. Yet this and all matters of jurisprudence would really benefit from some of the greatest pieces of legal wisdom ever proffered, those to be found in the law of God.
“You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute” is one of the wonderful nuggets of justice God Himself gave via Moses (Exodus 23:3).  More at:


This morning on WGN TV:   When Evil Walks In

“We live in increasingly perilous times. No place is safe from violent, tragic events. But why? What is the ultimate solution?”

Transcript at:


On This Day:

Daredevil crosses Niagara Falls on tightrope, Jun 30, 1859:

“Jean-Francois Gravelet, a Frenchman known professionally as Emile Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The feat, which was performed 160 feet above the Niagara gorge just down river from the Falls, was witnessed by some 5,000 spectators. Wearing pink tights and a yellow tunic, Blondin crossed a cable about two inches in diameter and 1,100-feet long with only a balancing pole to protect him from plunging into the dangerous rapids below.”



Sandy Koufax pitches first no-hitter, Jun 30, 1962:

imagesCAYTZQMB “On June 30, 1962, Sandy Koufax strikes out 13 batters and walks five to lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to victory over the New York Mets 5-0 with his first career no-hitter. Koufax went on to throw three more no-hitters, including a perfect game on September 9, 1965, in which he allowed no hits and no walks.

From 1962 to 1966, Sandy Koufax executed what are arguably the five greatest seasons by a pitcher in baseball history. His newfound control limited his walks from 4.8 per game to just 2.1. His first no-hitter on this day in 1962 saw him walk five men, but after six innings he had already struck out 12 batters. He pitched a no-hitter every year after that until 1965 and led the Dodgers to World Series wins in 1963 and 1965 and the National League pennant in 1966. He won four World Series games, with a .95 earned run average and 61 strikeouts for his postseason career. Koufax won three Cy Young Awards (1963, 1965 and 1966), all of them unanimous. In 1965 he struck out 382 men, breaking Rube Waddell’s 1904 record of 350 by 32. According to longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, Koufax was so well-regarded that he would often receive a standing ovation from fans while just warming up for a game.

Sandy Koufax retired after the 1966 season at just 30 years old because of arthritis in his elbow. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972.”



Jay called to say that he was on his way to church in Louisiana.  Translation:  He, his mother and their neighbor were going to Coushatta casino.

I walked Misty around here before I went to church.  When I arrived for Bible Study, I saw a very nice gentleman and his wife who I had known at the Huntsville, TX church.  They have been going around to the different Church of God churches.  After introducing them to our pastor, his wife and other members of our congregation, they enjoyed the sermon which was given by our pastor titled “Is There Anything More Important Than Believing in God.” 

Everyone that they spoke to asked them to stay for our potluck, and they enjoyed that too.  All the food was good, and I stayed as long as I could, but I knew Ray was tending to our Cat Habitat, so he couldn’t let Misty out for me for her 4.00pm ‘outs’.   

It was a very hot, but good day.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Unknown Region Of Space. Obama Protesters. Humiliation of America. Snowden’s Father. Dirty Medicine. Massive Corruption. Drug Fraud. Fraudulent Safety Data. Atlantis Docks With Mir. Katharine Hepburn.


For “Summary Saturday”, or News, some new, some old:

NASA's Voyager 1 Spacecraft Encounters Unknown Region Of Space At Solar System's Edge

“Scientists are receiving puzzling data from Voyager 1, launched more than 35 years ago, and now 11.5 billion miles from the Sun, about to leave our solar system's heliosphere and enter the interstellar space medium that pervades the Milky Way Galaxy.”  NASAgovVideo

More at:  and:


NASA's Voyager 1 Spacecraft Encounters Unknown Region Of Space At Solar System's Edge

voyager 1LOS ANGELES -- “New research pinpoints the current location of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft: It's still in our solar system.

Since last summer, the long-running spacecraft has been exploring uncharted territory where the effects of interstellar space, or the space between stars, can be felt. Scientists don't know how thick this newfound region in the solar system is or how much farther Voyager 1 has to travel to break to the other side.

"It could actually be anytime or it could be several more years," said chief scientist Ed Stone of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the mission.

Stone first described this unexpected zone at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union last year. A trio of papers published online Thursday in the journal Science confirmed just how strange this new layer is.”  More at:


Obama Protesters Rally Near Mandela Hospital In South Africa

A protester kicks a banner with the face of  U.S. President Barack Obama as they protest against his visit, in Pretoria, June 28, 2013. Obama heads to South Africa on Friday hoping to see ailing icon Nelson Mandela, after wrapping up a visit to Senegal that focused on improving food security and promoting democratic institutions. Obama is in the middle of a three-country tour of Africa that the White House hopes will compensate for what some view as years of neglect by the administration of America's first black president. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS) CIVIL UNREST)

A protester kicks a banner with the face of Obama as hundreds rally against his visit in Pretoria.

“About 200 trade unionists, student activists and South African Communist Party members gathered in the capital Pretoria to protest Obama's visit this weekend, calling his foreign policy "arrogant, selfish and oppressive".

"We had expectations of America's first black president. Knowing Africa's history, we expected more," said Khomotso Makola, a 19-year-old law student.  "He has come as a disappointment, I think Mandela too would be disappointed and feel let down," Makola said.

South African critics of Obama have focused in particular on his support for U.S. drone strikes overseas, which they say have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, and his failure to deliver on a pledge to close the U.S. military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba housing terrorism suspects.”  More at:


Why U.S. is being humiliated by the hunt for Snowden

imagesCAJDDXV4 (CNN) -- “The increasingly slapstick global steeplechase in pursuit of Edward Snowden, the former American contractor who leaked top-secret details of surveillance programs, looks like a cross between "The Hunt for Red October" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities."

To Asian eyes, Snowden is a new, more useful kind of Quiet American. Having picked his brains or pockets or both, Hong Kong happily let him go.

Russia says it feels "threatened" by U.S. criticism. This is as close as Sergei Lavrov, Moscow's dour foreign minister, has ever got to making a joke. If Putin and pals can stiff Obama on Syria and Iran, they can certainly "lift" a tale-teller and endure a cyber-tiff or two. These are tears of laughter, not pain.

Crowing Chinese comments about how the heroic Snowden has "torn off Washington's sanctimonious mask" give a clue to what is going on here.

So, too, does the uppity behavior of tiny Ecuador and Iceland. If these international minnows dare challenge the pomp and majesty of Imperial America, how stands the Empire now, Caesar?  

Fraying at the edges, is the answer.”     More at:


The Humiliation of America and what it means for you

US flag up-close

“America is in trouble. For all of its vaunted power, it has experienced grave challenges in dealing with a 30-year-old computer consultant who, following his own conscience, deliberately leaked critical classified information. He gave classified records about how the United States government conducts widespread monitoring of its own citizens to a British newspaper. This action, of course, rocked the Obama Administration, and with it the world.

Media and political commentaries examining this situation have erupted around the globe, particularly as America authorities failed initially to take Edward Snowden into custody. Writing in a widely read piece titled "Why the U.S. is being humiliated by the hunt for Snowden ," Simon Tisdall, foreign editor of the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, called the ongoing situation a "pants down day" for the United States. He made these ominous comments:

"Important people are making themselves ridiculous…High on the list is John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State. Huffing and puffing, Kerry warned China and Russia of 'consequences,' as seems probable, they have conspired to deliberately thwart U.S. justice by twisting the long arm of the law.  Tisdall went on to point out how American law is today not recognized as universally authoritative.

If one reads the Bible, he or she will quickly discover that God has quite a bit to say about how people and national governments are to conduct themselves. He always, without exception, uses the biblical Ten Commandments as core guiding principles. They apply to all nations and peoples.

Perhaps surprising, many secular authorities recognize this prior influence of biblical law and statutes, particularly when it comes to the legal history of the United States.

Despite this spiritual bedrock foundation, many of the American laws based on the Ten Commandments and other biblical principles have been steadily eroded.  

With escalating humiliation of America through the Snowden situation, one cannot help but be reminded of an ancient national prophecy that is activated by the breaking of God's law: "I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze" (Leviticus 26:19 See All...).”  Complete article at:    By Michael Snyder


Snowden's father gives conditions for his son's return

images[11] “Lonnie Snowden, the father of Edward Snowden, the former government contractor accused of espionage, has sent Attorney General Eric Holder a list of conditions that he believes could help secure his son's return to the U.S. to face trial.

In a letter sent to Holder on Thursday, Lonnie Snowden's lawyer Bruce Fein detailed the three conditions: No detention or imprisonment prior to trial, no gag order, and allowing Edward Snowden to choose the venue for the trial.

"Mr. Snowden is reasonably confident that his son would voluntarily return to the United States if there were ironclad assurances that his constitutional rights would be honored, and he were provided a fair opportunity to explain his motivations and actions to an impartial judge and jury," Fein wrote. Fein asked Holder to agree to those terms in writing.”  More at:


Dirty medicine, May 15, 2013:

“The epic inside story of long-term criminal fraud at Ranbaxy, the Indian drug company that makes generic Lipitor for millions of Americans.

On May 13, 2013 Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs with intent to defraud, failing to report that its drugs didn't meet specifications, and making intentionally false statements to the government. Ranbaxy agreed to pay $500 million in fines, forfeitures, and penalties -- the most ever levied against a generic-drug company. (No current or former Ranbaxy executives were charged with crimes.) Thakur's confidential whistleblower complaint, which he filed in 2007 and which describes how the company fabricated and falsified data to win FDA approvals, was also unsealed. Under federal whistleblower law, Thakur will receive more than $48 million as part of the resolution of the case. 

Fortune's account of what occurred inside Ranbaxy and how the FDA responded to it raises serious questions about whether our government can effectively safeguard a drug supply that last year was 84% generic, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, much of that manufactured in distant places. More than 80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients for all U.S. drugs now come from overseas, as do 40% of finished pills and capsules. (Click here for a list of Ranbaxy products in the U.S.)”    From:


Dr. Mercola warned us all about this over a year ago:

Massive Corruption Revealed to be at the Core of Many Drug Approvals

“A study has come out showing massive corruption behind drug approvals for drugs that are basically worthless and, too often, end up being dangerous to your health

One study includes a review of the antiviral influenza drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir), which was widely recommended as effective based on one published meta-analysis; but when researchers gained access to the raw data of the clinical studies, they realized the drug was being misrepresented and was not effective at all

The report details exactly why it is so important that clinical study reports be fully available for review -- without them, a drug may appear effective and safe when it is anything but

When it comes to your health, you simply cannot accept claims at their face value … you've got to dig below the surface and use all the resources available to you to determine what medical treatment or advice will be best for you in any given situation”  Complete article at:


FDA Allows Drugs to Remain on Market Despite Uncovering Fraudulent Safety Data

imagesCA7K80DH “What do you get when the federal agency in charge of monitoring drug safety is funded largely by the companies producing those very same drugs? A massive conflict of interest and an agency that is more interested in serving the drug industry than the American public.

This is not speculation; it’s been shown to be the truth, time and time again. In 2011, the FDA found out that many studies conducted at Cetero Research, a major drug research lab, from 2005 to 2009 were fraudulent, involving manipulated data and tampered records. About 100 drugs were already on the market, approved, at least in part, based on these fraudulent studies.”  More at:


FDA Silent On Generic Drug Fraud, April 16, 2013

“The brand new report from ProPublica reads like a detective story. A whistleblower working for a drug testing firm alerts the FDA that some scientists in the company were fudging data. A team of FDA investigators arrives at Cetero Research in Houston on May 3, 2010 and confronts the president with the allegations. He admits, "You got us."

It turns out that between April 2005 and August 2009 the fraud at the firm was so "egregious" that the FDA could not trust the results of any of the studies done then. Roughly 100 drugs are affected, over 80% of them generics.

You might assume that the FDA would have immediately notified the American public which drugs were under a cloud. In fact, you might think that the FDA would have suspended sales of these products until other testing could confirm that they met the agency's standards. But you would be wrong.”  More at:


On This Day:

U.S. space shuttle docks with Russian space station, Jun 29, 1995:

“On this day in 1995, the American space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir to form the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.

Atlantis remained docked with Mir for five days before returning to Earth, leaving two fresh Russian cosmonauts on the space station. The three veteran Mir crew members returned with the shuttle, including two Russians and Norman Thagard, a U.S. astronaut who rode a Russian rocket to the space station in mid-March 1995 and spent over 100 days in space, a U.S. endurance record. NASA's Shuttle-Mir program continued for 11 missions and was a crucial step towards the construction of the International Space Station now in orbit.”


Katharine Hepburn dies at age 96, Jun 29, 2003:

“On this day in 2003, Katharine Hepburn--a four-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress and one of the greatest screen legends of Hollywood’s golden era--dies of natural causes at the age of 96, at her home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

In her final screen appearance, in 1994’s Love Affair (a remake of the classic 1939 film), Hepburn appeared frail but composed as ever in her portrayal of the aristocratic aunt of Warren Beatty’s character. In 1999, the American Film Institute (AFI) named Hepburn as the greatest female actress in the history of American cinema. When she died on June 29, 2003, the lights on Broadway were dimmed for an hour to mark the passing of one of entertainment’s brightest stars.”



Earlier in the week, Jay had asked to me take him into our town so that he could cash his check.  He owed me some money, so I wanted to be there when he cashed it.   I couldn’t reach him by phone, so Misty and I went down there.   He had overslept and wasn’t ready, so we had a long walk down there, then coffee on their porch. 

It was nearly 11.00am by the time we had been to the bank and bought some things at Krogers, then Jay felt ill, so we came home earlier than intended. 

That was a good thing, as I had an email from someone wanting to buy one of my advertised air conditioners.  When they arrived, I plugged it in to show them that it worked, and they bought it.  One more thing gone.

Chris dropped off a big puppy pen, with a top, for when I take care of Midnight and her kittens for four days over the 4th.  It will be set up in the Grooming Room.  The kittens are weaned now, but I don’t want them running all over the place.  Keeping track of five energetic kittens is not my thing!  Midnight will probably spend some of her time in the Grooming Room, and some in the house, as she and Misty really like each other.

Nila, my foster cat, is getting used to having her headquarters  in my bathroom, instead of the Grooming Room.  Often she will be asleep on her kitty condo in my bathroom, even when she has the run of the house.   She and Midnight will take turns in the house, as I am not supposed to let them meet. 

It must be terrible for the folks in NV, with all those record high temperatures, we didn’t get to 100, but it was too hot to do much outside yesterday.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Gastro-Intestinal Issues? Severe Stomach Damage Caused by GMOs. Natural vs. Organic. Tips for Avoiding GMOs. Two Big Quakes Rock CA.


For “Foodie Friday”:

Are Your Gastro-Intestinal Issues Connected to GM Food?

Are Your  Gastro-Intestinal Issues Connected to GM Food?

“We are creatures of habit. Lets face it. We buy our snacks in fancy packages, and enjoy the carefully engineered delicious food, without thinking about it. Perhaps it is time to start connecting some dots.

In 1996, genetically modified (GM) crops entered human food and animal feed in increasing amounts after being commercially released into USA fields. The main products were corn and soy. In addition to those modified crops, and many others since then, GM mosquitoes have also been introduced into the ecosystem, without the consent of the people.

A recent study published in the peer reviewed ‘Journal of Organic Systems’ demonstrated that Pigs fed a GMO diet showed a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non GMO diet.This finding was a result of a long-term toxicology study on pigs that were fed a combination of soy and GM maize (both genetically modified). Dr. Judy Carman, from the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Australia led the study.

The significance of this 23 week study is that it reveals biological evidence linking GMO crops to significant harm. It showed that there was a 267% increase in stomach inflammation compared to the non GMO diets for the participating pigs. Surprisingly, males had an even higher increase (400%). 168 young pigs were involved in this study.

Other studies, that didn't make mainstream news, indicate a link between GMO food and severe organ damage, cancer, kidney damage, tumors and premature death. For example, it is not a secret that rats fed with GMO's grow disgusting tumors, again as shown by documented scientific published studies. Hello?

Where are the food regulators assessing GM crops to be ingested by animals or people? Where are the long-term negative harm studies from GM food or crops? What about the genetic pollution that spreads and creates unintended results? These are serious questions, without clear answers.

Do you have chills yet? How about pondering this connection?  The GM corn has an insecticide that works.  That 'special' insecticide is genetically grown into every GM corn kernel. Mmm. Sounds tasty. But, as each kernel damages the digestive system of the insects, that same insecticide stays inside the corn, which is turned into animal feed, or processed in your nachos (with corn chips), etc . What does that do to your digestive system?”  More at:


GMO feed turns pig stomachs to mush! Shocking photos reveal severe damage caused by GM soy and corn

“This pig stomach inflammation study suddenly provides yet more credible evidence that GMOs are unfit for human consumption and may be causing severe damage to the digestive systems of both humans and mammals.”

(NaturalNews) “If you have stomach problems or gastrointestinal problems, a new study led by Dr. Judy Carman may help explain why: pigs fed a diet of genetically engineered soy and corn showed a 267% increase in severe stomach inflammation compared to those fed non-GMO diets. (For the record, most autistic children are males, and nearly all of them have severe intestinal inflammation.)”   Learn more:


“Natural” and “Organic” brands, often t’aint so!

“You might be surprised to find out that many “natural” and “organic” brands are in fact owned by multi-billion-dollar corporations that are contributing hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of dollars to defeat Proposition 37. These companies present themselves as small, family-run businesses and farms in order to gain your trust, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, Kashi is owned by Kellogg, and has contributed $612,000 to defeating Proposition 37. In 2011, The Cornucopia Institute published a study called Cereal Crimes, which revealed that the popular, “natural” Kashi GoLean cereal brand, unbeknownst to its customers, contains genetically engineered ingredients.

Another example is Silk soymilk, which carries the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on its products but is owned by the nation’s largest factory dairy, Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to the effort to kill Prop 37.  Dean Foods also owns the Horizon Organic brand. Both Silk and Horizon profess to oppose GMOs, while their parent company does everything possible to water down organic certification standards and make sure genetically engineered foods (like rBGH milk) are never labeled.”

Original article at:


Natural vs. Organic Cereal

“Increasingly, organic products are forced to compete with products that claim to be “natural.”

There are no restrictions for foods labeled “natural” (very basic standards exist only for meat products). The term often constitutes nothing more than meaningless marketing hype promoted by corporate interests seeking to cash in on the consumer desire for food produced in a genuinely sustainable manner.

Unlike the organic label, no government agency, certification group or other independent entity fully defines the term “natural” on processed food packages or ensures that the claim has merit.

Natural" claims in the cereal and granola aisle mislead consumers. A new research study from The Cornucopia Institute indicates the "natural" claim is mostly meaningless marketing hype, in contrast to the USDA certified organic label which signifies the food was produced without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), toxic pesticides and other potentially dangerous synthetic inputs. Cornucopia and USDA research finds GMOs, and toxic pesticide residues, in "natural" cereal ingredients... and many "natural" brands are often priced higher than equivalent organic products.”


Tips for Avoiding GMOs

“Avoiding GMOs can be a challenge given the fact that Monsanto continues to silence most any legislation looking to enforce the labeling of GMOs on a state-wide of nationwide level, however it is very possible. While the best option is searching for a high quality organic source sporting the USDA organic label, there are certainly alternatives to reduce your consumption of GMOS when it comes to non-organic food sources.”


Take Action! Become One of the Millions Against Monsanto!

Sign Organic Consumers Association's Truth-in-Labeling Petition:


On This Day:

Two big quakes rock California, Jun 28, 1992:

“Two of the strongest earthquakes ever to hit California strike the desert area east of Los Angeles on this day in 1992. Although the state sits upon the immense San Andreas fault line, relatively few major earthquakes have hit California in modern times. Two of the strongest, but not the deadliest, hit southern California on a single morning in the summer of 1992.

Just before 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, a 7.3-magnitude quake struck in Landers, 100 miles east of Los Angeles. Because the Landers area is sparsely populated, damage was relatively minor given the intensity of the jolt. In Los Angeles, residents experienced rolling and shaking for nearly a minute. The tremors were also felt in Arizona, Las Vegas and as far away as Boise, Idaho.

Just over three hours later, a second 6.3-magnitude tremor hit in Big Bear, not too far from the original epicenter. This quake caused fires to break out and cost three people their lives. A chimney fell on a 3-year-old child and two people suffered fatal heart attacks. Between the two quakes, 400 people were injured and $92 million in damages were suffered. The physical damage was also significant. The quakes triggered landslides that wiped out roads and opened a 44-mile-long rupture in the earth, the biggest in California since the 1906 San Francisco quake.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, and had our walk down there.  When we got back here, Ray did some painting, and Jay and I worked on the fence to the walkway going to my backyard.  The lattice gate is now hung, but we haven’t cut the top of the fence level yet.  We will do that when we are finished with the other fence, too.  We started on the cross fence between the two back yards, but it got too hot to do much more yesterday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

RV Water Heater. Safe Shore Power. RV Awning. "Ant Farm". EternaBond R & R. Classic Diners. Robertson Screws. Korea. Route 66.


For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV Day:

How to adjust the flame on your water heater so it works most efficiently

“Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, shows you how to adjust the flame on your RV water heater so that it runs with maximum efficiency. This is easy to do and can make a big difference in the performance of your heater.”


Test your shore power outlet for safety

“One quick way to ruin an RV trip is a heavy electrical shock. Shore power systems in campgrounds can be dangerous if not maintained or if mis-wired. Protecting yourself isn't difficult or expensive.

On arriving at a campground, don't just assume the power supply is safe. First, make sure the breaker is turned off to the power outlet, then plug in the RV power cord. If you have an exterior power outlet on your rig, plug in an electrical circuit analyzer that indicates circuit problems. If you don't have an outside outlet, plug the analyzer into an outlet inside, and have a helper look at it.

Now turn on the breaker to your RV circuit. If the circuit analyzer indicates all is well, well and good. If not, DON'T touch the side of your coach or attempt to go inside. Switch off the breaker immediately, especially if you should get an indication that the hot and ground wires are reversed. If they are, you have a potentially dangerous situation. Don't touch the electrical box or the side of your rig. Unplug the shore power cord without touching anything else.

If the tester indicates a reversed hot and neutral wire you are physically safe, but you could see damage to sensitive electronics. If your analyzer shows an "open ground" situation, there is still a level of danger to your physical safety if an electrical short took place.

In any case, if your tester shows a problem, disconnect and ask for a new site.”     By Russ and Tiña De Maris


Five quick tips about your RV awning

“A patio awning extends the living area of our outdoor world. Similar to the front porch of your home, the patio awning provides us with shade and cover from a light rain when we want to be outdoors without getting drenched.

Here are five RV awning quick tips to help protect and extend the life of your RV awning:

1) Never leave it out for any extended time you're away from the campsite. A quick wind or thunderstorm can result in expensive repair costs to the awning and the RV. If the wind begins to pick up at the campground, retract your awning to its stored position. Better safe than sorry.

2) If it begins to rain on an extended awning, lower one end to allow the water to run off. If not, it can quickly pool in the center of the awning fabric and the weight can damage the awning itself and/or the awning fabric.

3) Use a commercial RV awning cleaner to clean it. Spray the cleaner thoroughly on the awning fabric, roll it up and let it sit for several minutes. This helps to distribute the cleaner over the entire surface of the awning fabric and allows the cleaner time to work. Open the awning and thoroughly rinse both sides of the fabric.

4) For the most part, there are two types of awning fabric, acrylic or vinyl. Acrylic fabric is a woven cloth. Avoid scrubbing acrylic awning fabric. Scrubbing can remove the water-retardant finish. For stubborn stains blot the cleaner on the fabric with a sponge or soft cloth.

5) Use awning tie-downs to help protect your patio awning from wind gust damage.”    By Mark Polk


Don't let your RV become an "Ant Farm"

imagesCA13WH2N “Did you know that ants can tunnel into some RVs' walls just like in the Uncle Milton Ant Farms that many of us had as children?

Here's a tip from RV technician Chris Dougherty about how to keep these pests from tunneling into your RV and causing structural damage.”


EternaBond How to remove and replace



RV Tips:

“It's a good idea to inspect your RV roof every quarter. Look to see if cleaning is needed, and verify the seals around any openings like plumbing vents, air conditioner, and roof vents. Water is a damaging enemy that must be kept out.”

“Water pressure in your RV seem low? When was the last time you flushed out your water heater? A buildup of crud can actually impact water flow.”


Classic Diners, Retro Diners, and Old Diners Locations Locator Map and Directory

“Do you love lumpy mashed potatoes? Then you need to find a classic diner. Here's the place to start your search.”  Diner Locator.


Robertson screws save time and frustration

“Reader Fred Campbell of New Mexico recently wrote in concerning his fondness for Robertson screws, which some of us airheads refer to as "square drive." As Fred aptly points out, "Robertson screws are those with the square hole in the head as opposed to a cross or a slot."

You'll find many RV manufacturers have used Robertson screws to varying degrees. What's the advantage? The Robertson is square – to a point. Below the top level of the screw head the socket has a taper, which makes getting the bit in the socket easier and can keep the screw on the bit without fussing. Try that with a straight slot or Phillips.

You can thank Canadian P.L. Robertson for the invention, way back in 1908. He had licensed the design to a British party, but they deliberately drove the company into bankruptcy, thereafter buying the rights to the design from the bankruptcy court. Yes, you might say Robertson got screwed in the deal, as he then spent big money buying the rights to his own design back from the crooked character.

Interestingly, Henry Ford gave Robertson screws a shot on Model T Fords, liked them, and tried to buy the license for use. When Robertson refused, Ford would only use the screws on Canadian-built Model Ts, and the Robertson screw never took off in the U.S.

Got any Robertsons in your RV? Fred Campbell warns, "I have seen more people try, and fail, to remove a Robertson screw with a Philips head screwdriver than I care to mention." The frustration is real, and the Phillips head suffers. But a genuine Robertson driver or bit?  We can personally attest that we've lost more Robertson bits than we've ever worn out.

Fred has a similar story: "I had to purchase a Robertson out of necessity when I couldn't remove a screw near a water tank in the old (1970) Layton. It had rusted due to condensation on the tank. I purchased the driver at a Sears tool outlet in 1975, and I still have it to this day. I purchased a second one within the past few years and modified it to fit in my portable 3/8" drill. I use these all the time in my RV."

You can find Robertson screws, and the bits to fit your portable drill at hardware outlets and some hardware stores. They're great for putting in stuff you'll want to take back out later, without the hassle of torn screw heads. We've found they help clean up a fellow's language, too.  Many thanks to Fred for sharing his thoughts with us.”  By Russ De Maris


On This Day:

Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea, Jun 27, 1950:

“On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea.

The original figure of American troops lost--54,246 killed--became controversial when the Pentagon acknowledged in 2000 that all U.S. troops killed around the world during the period of the Korean War were incorporated into that number. For example, any American soldier killed in a car accident anywhere in the world from June 1950 to July 1953 was considered a casualty of the Korean War. If these deaths are subtracted from the 54,000 total, leaving just the Americans who died (from whatever cause) in the Korean theater of operations, the total U.S. dead in the Korean War numbers 36,516.”


Route 66 decertified, Jun 27, 1985:

“After 59 years, the iconic Route 66 enters the realm of history on this day in 1985, when the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials decertifies the road and votes to remove all its highway signs.

Route 66 was the scene of a mass westward migration during the 1930s, when more than 200,000 people traveled from the poverty-stricken Dust Bowl to California. John Steinbeck immortalized the highway, which he called the "Mother Road," in his classic 1939 novel "The Grapes of Wrath."

Beginning in the 1950s, the building of a massive system of interstate highways made older roads increasingly obsolete, and by 1970, modern four-lane highways had bypassed nearly all sections of Route 66.  Drivers can still use 85 percent of the road, and Route 66 has become a destination for tourists from all over the world.”



Nila-kitty-condo-2 Nila, my shy foster cat, is getting used to being fed in my bathroom, and as her three-storey kitty condo is in there now, she is more relaxed.  That kitty condo was always her favorite place to be.  When her litter brother Simba, was adopted, it was a forgone conclusion that it would go with her, not him, to their ‘furever’ homes.  Shy animals feel better with their own ‘stuff’.   I think that her problem with being up at the window seat stems from a loud truck going by, the first time she was up there.  Usually, she has the run of the house, but there will be times when she has to be locked up in my bathroom, instead of the grooming room.

With this excess of tomatoes, I was going to throw them all in a pot with some seasonings, until I saw a recipe for Roasted Tomatoes.  I made two trays of them in my convection oven.  They are scrumptious.

As Jay was having ‘thrift shop withdrawal’, he wanted to go with me when I went into the next town.  Misty and I went to get him, and he was actually ready, so we had just a short walk.

We were early for my chiropractor appointment, so I was seen early.  I think this young chiropractor is wary of putting too much pressure on my old back, so it is still out.

From there, we went to Angelic thrift shop and I bought a stretchy slim black skirt.  Usually, I look terrible in skirts, but I think this one will be alright with a flared blouse over it. 

Next door at the Dollar General, I bought some paper goods, and Jay got some ‘Motor Honey’ for his ATV.  At Lowes, I bought a toilet fill valve, and hinges for the new gates.  We unloaded the paper recycling at St. Marks thrift shop, and there I found a red silk blouse with faint black lines on it, to go with my new skirt.

As my hurt toe was bothering me, just a quick walk around Krogers to look for bargains, and that was enough for the day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chilean Woodstar. "Fish, Swim, and Play 50 Yards Away". Puffin Chicks Starve. Tricolored Blackbirds. Owl Swivel Heads? Penguins, Owls, and Flycatchers! Piscivorous Osprey. 25,000 Bees Poisoned. President John Tyler Weds Again. Highway Act.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Chilean Woodstar

Chilean Woodstar by Jorge Herrerros

"In one of the driest deserts of the world, a tiny hummingbird with a long forked tail and violet throat guards his territory among some chañar bushes along a wash surrounded by lifeless expanses of sand and rock. This Chilean Woodstar continues to hang on, but for how long?

The Chilean Woodstar was once found in desert river valleys of northern Chile and southern Peru, but has only been seen in remnant habitat patches in three Chilean valleys during the last decade. During this time, the population declined by more than 80 percent, from at least 1,500 birds in 2003 to roughly 400 birds in 2012.

This dramatic decline led ABC and partner group AvesChile to petition the bird’s uplisting from Endangered to Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The woodstar’s decline started in the 1960s when pesticides (now discontinued) to control fruit flies were widely used. In the 1970s, the closely related Peruvian Sheartail, which competes and hybridizes with the Chilean Woodstar, expanded its range from Peru, possibly assisted by expanding agriculture and other human-related changes to the landscape.

Most of the Chilean Woodstar’s natural habitat has been converted to agriculture or heavily degraded, and the species now relies on a mix of native and non-native plants for feeding and nesting. ABC is currently seeking funding to expand our work with AvesChile to establish a network of small reserves where we can restore and manage habitat for the Chilean Woodstar, experiment with sheartail removal, conduct public outreach to reduce pesticide usage — and ultimately prevent the extinction of this species.” this and other birds and their habitats by supporting ABC.   Can't click the link? Copy and paste this URL:

Photo by Jorge Herreros; Range Map by NatureServe


Fourth of July Beachgoers Asked to "Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away"

As millions of vacationing Americans head to their nearest beach destination for a long weekend of surf and sun, one of the nation’s leading bird conservation organizations – American Bird Conservancy (ABC) – is urging beachgoers to be mindful of the many beach-nesting birds that will be tending to young birds and perhaps a few remaining eggs.

“People visiting the beaches are often unaware of the many species of birds that nest in the sands near where they are swimming, fishing, and recreating. As a result, nests can accidentally get trampled, destroyed, or abandoned,” said ABC’s Kacy Ray, Gulf Beach-Nesting Bird Conservation Project Officer.

"The best thing for beachgoers to do is to avoid getting close to areas where larger congregations of birds are gathered, and to always respect areas that are roped off or marked with signs designating an area that is used by nesting birds,” says Ray.  “The habitat for these birds is diminishing every year due to beach development, erosion, and ever-increasing recreational use, so the birds can really use any break we can give them.  They have no other place to go,” Ray said.

Ray points out that it can be difficult for both the year-round resident and the casual vacationer to see the difference between a bird that is simply sitting on the sand and one that is tending eggs or a nest or young.

You know you’ve entered a nesting area when large groups or individual birds vocalize loudly, dive-bomb your head, or feign injury to lead you away from their nests. If this happens, back away and share the beach so the birds can successfully rear their young.

Ray said that there are special concerns for different regions of the country:”        More at:


Climate change killing puffin chicks.

“Earlier this month, scientists reported puffins are just the most recent species revealing the dangers that global warming brings for our wildlife.

image As oceans warm in response to climate change, new fish species are entering into the Gulf of Maine, causing puffin parents to unknowingly feed their young a more southerly fish that is too large for their young to swallow. And as a result, puffin chicks are starving to death—right beside the piles of the fish that they simply cannot physically eat.

Let President Obama know that you support taking critical action to help protect puffins and many more wildlife from climate change. " at:


Tricolored blackbirds are disappearing faster than thought

Male tricolored blackbird“The tricolored blackbird was once among the most common birds in California, with vast colonies of the colorful and highly gregarious species nesting and foraging year-round in marshes and rangelands.

Scientists have been worried about a decline in tricolored blackbirds for years now, and the latest statewide surveys show that things are worse than they thought. The entire population dropped from an estimated 400,000 birds in 2008 to roughly 258,000 in 2011.”  More at:


How Owls Spin Their Heads Around

Owls Spin Heads

“Owls don't need eyes in the back of their heads to see what's behind them — they can just swivel their heads all the way around. In fact, many owl species, such as the barred owl, can rotate their heads 270 degrees in each direction, which means they can look to the left by rotating all the way to the right, or vice versa.

But how do they do it without severing their arteries or preventing blood from reaching the brain? An illustrator and a physician at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine teamed up to find out.

"Until now, brain imaging specialists like me who deal with human injuries caused by trauma to arteries in the head and neck have always been puzzled as to why rapid, twisting head movements did not leave thousands of owls lying dead on the forest floor from stroke," said study author Dr. Philippe Gailloud, in a statement from the university.”  More at:


Osprey with Fish (4 of 11)

“The Osprey is the only North American raptor to eat almost exclusively fish, (piscivorous), and what adaptations do they have to handle their slippery prey? To help grip its prey, the talons of the Osprey have barbed pads and a reversible outer toe with two (very sharp) talons in front and two in back--unusual amongst hawks. Ospreys will also carry fish headfirst to minimize wind resistance.

Only a summer visitor in much of its North American range, Ospreys winter in coastal California, Texas, and Florida to as far south as Argentina. 

Gregg Thompson photographed this Osprey capturing and eating a large fish. Check out image 7 to see the nictitating membrane the Osprey uses to protect its eye; images 8 and above show how far the Osprey turns its head to tear off a piece.”  More at:   By Gregg Thompson



BirdNote Weekly Preview: Penguins, Owls, and Flycatchers!


Upcoming Shows:

African Penguin

The Greatest
Bird Rescue Ever
by Bob Sundstrom

American Crow

Crow Parents,
Fearless Defenders
by Ellen Blackstone

European Starling

Begging Sounds
And Postures
by Frances Wood

Great Horned Owl

Voices and Vocabularies - Great Horned Owls
by Bob Sundstrom


Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
by Bob Sundstrom

American Coot

Eavesdropping on Babies
by Chris Peterson

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-Sided Flycatcher - Preserving a Unique Voice
by Bob Sundstrom


And our winged friends the bees:

More Than 25,000 Bees Die in Oregon


More than 25,000 bees and other insects were found dead at a Target, Wilsonville, OR parking lot this week (AP Photo)

“The mystery of why thousands of bees fell from the sky has been solved, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.  On Friday, they determined the bees were killed by an insecticide called Safari used to kill aphids. The trees where the insecticide was used are being netted to protect any surviving bees that might wander into the area.”  More at:


On This Day:

President John Tyler weds his second wife, Jun 26, 1844:

“Fifty-four year old widower President John Tyler marries 21-year-old Julia Gardiner on this day in 1844. It was his second marriage. At the time, Julia was the youngest first lady in history. Tyler had wooed Julia from the time she was 19, but it took a tragedy and a narrow escape from death for her to accept him.

Earlier that year, Tyler and an entourage, including wealthy New Yorker David Gardiner and his daughter Julia, had cruised the Potomac on board the new steam frigate U.S.S. Princeton. During the voyage, the Princeton fired off its new cannons in salute as it sailed past George Washington's former home at Mt. Vernon. At the time, Tyler was below deck raising a toast. The cannon exploded on its third volley, killing Julia's father and several others, including members of Tyler's cabinet. Tyler rushed up to the top deck just in time to catch Julia as she fainted at the news of her father's death. After the ship docked, Tyler whisked Julia off to safety in his arms. Thereafter, her admiration for him developed into love and, in 1844, they were married. Julia Gardiner Tyler reportedly insisted that "Hail to the Chief" be played at Tyler's entrance to every official event, thus establishing a presidential tradition. One of her constant companions was a greyhound given to her by her husband.

Tyler's first wife had been Letitia Christian, with whom he had eight children (one died in infancy). She died of a stroke in 1842. He and Julia had seven children together bringing his total to 15; Tyler holds the record for the most children sired (legitimately, at least) by a president. He was a devoted husband and doting father to his rather large brood of children from both marriages. The extended nature of his family, though, along with his penchant for overspending, left Tyler perpetually in debt. When he died of a stroke in 1862, he left Julia practically penniless. She died in 1889 in the same Richmond, Virginia, hotel room in which her husband had died 27 years earlier.”


AN AMAZING FACT:  “There has been one United States president who, when he died, was no longer a citizen of the United States. It was the country’s tenth president— John Tyler.

John Tyler served in office from 1841 to 1845. But more than being an American, Tyler was a Virginian. And so when Virginia, along with the other southern states, seceded from the union, Tyler stayed true to his home state and joined them, renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

Tyler had actually served as the chair of the Virginia Peace Convention, which was held in 1861 in Washington, D.C. It was an effort to prevent a civil war. When no compromise was achieved, however, he viewed secession as the only option and joined Virginia and the other states in abandoning their citizenship.

From there, he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress, but it was a position he would never fill. He died on January 18, 1862, before ever serving one day in office. And thus, he is the only president in the history of the United States to die as a former citizen.”


Congress approves Federal Highway Act, Jun 26, 1956:

“On this day in 1956, the U.S. Congress approves the Federal Highway Act, which allocates more than $30 billion for the construction of some 41,000 miles of interstate highways; it will be the largest public construction project in U.S. history to that date.

Highway construction began almost immediately, employing tens of thousands of workers and billions of tons of gravel and asphalt. The system fueled a surge in the interstate trucking industry, which soon pushed aside the railroads to gain the lion's share of the domestic shipping market. Interstate highway construction also fostered the growth of roadside businesses such as restaurants (often fast-food chains), hotels and amusement parks. By the 1960s, an estimated one in seven Americans was employed directly or indirectly by the automobile industry, and America had become a nation of drivers.

Legislation has extended the Interstate Highway Revenue Act three times, and it is remembered by many historians as Eisenhower's greatest domestic achievement. On the other side of the coin, critics of the system have pointed to its less positive effects, including the loss of productive farmland and the demise of small businesses and towns in more isolated parts of the country.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, and had our walk down there.  I had a special job for Jay! 

We are still working on the fence along the walkway to my back yard.  One of the short fence posts that replaced one of the tall ones, needed to be pulled up, and replaced with another one.

The other day, Jay sawed off the tops of the installed fence posts, even when I asked him to stop.  To my thinking, that should have waited until it was all finished when we would pop a line on the whole fence and cut it level.  Jay had cut one post too short, and it was the most important post at the end, as it has a gate and another fence coming off it.  I wanted Jay to fix it, as it was his fault.  He hates fence-post digging, but pulled the post out, and started to clean the dirt out of the hole.

I walked around the corner to help Ray screw the base on the outside table, and when I came back, there was Jay with a post sticking out of the hole.  I asked him where is the short post, as it looked like the same one to me.  I put a pencil mark at ground level and pulled the post out.  There was no way it was in deep enough at one foot.  He had just put dirt in the hole to make the post taller.  It was the same post (which I already knew by a knot in it), and not only that, it was crooked in the hole. 

Now, you can’t very well hang a gate on a square post that isn’t square with the rest of the fence, it just puts the whole thing in a bind.  He realized that I wasn’t going to put up with any of his short cuts, and that I probably wouldn’t pay him until he did it right, so he resigned himself to squaring up the hole.  When he had finished, just to check on him, I put a pencil mark on the longer post and pulled up it up to see how deep it was.  This time it was a good 2’ in the ground, so I leveled it while he back-filled the hole. 

So why do I use Jay around here?  Several reasons.  He is the only person around here who is available, willing to work, and can proficiently use a circular saw.  Ray can use one, but not like Jay, as Jay used to frame houses.  (My little Skill saw bit the dust, and my other ones are too heavy for me to use, so I just use my chop saw.)  Other reasons; he likes to work in the mornings as it keeps him sober and out of his mother’s way.  Plus, he works cheap. 


My wonderful Terry pictured. RIP

Nila, my foster cat, doesn’t consider my bathroom window the best seat in the house.  All the other cats that have been here just love it. 

Nila-2I am trying to get her used to being in my bathroom, as Midnight and her five kittens are coming to stay in my grooming room for four days over the 4th. July.  Nila thinks that the grooming room is her room.

Even though Midnight has been vaccinated and checked out by the vet, my SPCA boss doesn’t want Nila and Midnight to be together.  Nila is all checked out ready to go back to the Habitat at Petco, whereas Midnight is staying at someone’s home until her kittens are weaned.

Keeping them apart is going to be a hard four days.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Luling TX. Watermelon "Thump", June 27-30. Central Texas Oil Patch Museum. Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail. Little Big Horn. Korean War.


For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s visit Luling, TX, in the Texas Hill Country Region of TX.

#Region.R_Description# “The Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Rolling hills, spring fed rivers and lakes, diverse art and music offerings, specialty shopping, and the state's capital city make the Hill Country a favorite destination for Texans and out-of-state visitors alike. Discover the beauty of the Texas Hill Country Region.”

Luling, Texas.imagesCA5HJDPD

“Once known as "the toughest town in Texas", Luling was established in 1874 as the far western stop of the Sunset Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The developing importance of the town as a cattle-raising center, combined with the importance of the railroad as a shipping point, allowed the town to grow and prosper. Being the northern terminus of a freight road to Chihuahua, Mexico added to its stature. As the cattle drives to the railroad head decreased, Luling survived by turning to its rich soil and hardy folk. Luling came to be known throughout the region as an agriculture center with cotton, corn, and turkeys as its principal products.

Cotton ruled the local economy until the momentous year of 1922. On August 9th of that year, Edgar B. Davis' Rafael Rios No.1 blew in, opening an oilfield 12 miles long and 2 miles wide. The Rios No. 1 proved to be a part of one of the most significant fields discovered in the Southwest. Thousands of oil field workers descended upon the little community. They filled every available room and constructed a tent city, called Rag Town, along the railroad tracks. By 1924, the field was producing 11 million barrels of oil per year.

Almost overnight, the town of Luling went from a population of 500 to 5,000 people. Tents filled every vacant area as roughnecks and their families set-up housekeeping. Work was hard and living even harder, but the dream that unfolded was a microcosm of Texas history-a time when a community of farmers and their families responded to the coming of the railroad, only to have their lives changed forever by the discovery of oil.”


“Rich in history, Luling is home to the Central Texas Oil Patch Museum, located in the historic Walker Brothers building downtown.




The museum pays tribute to Luling’s rich cultural heritage and the important role that oil played in the development of the area.  Researchers come from around the country to the Luling Public Library that houses the award winning Historical Research Center, funded and operated by the Caldwell County Genealogical & Historical Society.”  

More at:


Watermelon Thump and Water Tower

“So just how did the annual Watermelon "Thump" get started in Luling, in summer inferno southeastern Texas?

We imagine the sweltering pre-air conditioning populace cleverly turning the local watermelon crop into personal cooling systems -- refreshing liquid fruit helmets with carved eye- and mouth-holes. On the street, they'd spit watermelon seeds at one another in friendly greeting....

This isn't what happened. But they're pretty strange in Luling. And it's hot.

Watermelon water tower.

Entering town from the interstate, the first thing a visitor will notice is an impressive watermelon water tower, poking up 154 feet from a melon patch (or perhaps just a municipal patch). The horizontal green and light yellow stripes, combined with the shape of the 56 ft. diameter storage tank, creates a good watermelon effect.

The center of this rural town of about 5,000 lies along railroad tracks where oil field workers first pitched their tents. Old oil pump jacks around town have been decorated with goofy plywood paintings of animals and characters -- a cow jumping over the moon, a shark, and a yokel eating a big slice of watermelon. Many of the wells are still active, sucking away on people's lawns, in parks and behind businesses. The Central Texas Oil Patch Museum was created a few years ago to chronicle the boom years in Luling.

In 1954, the principal of the elementary school dreamt up an annual festival to celebrate and promote the local watermelon industry. A naming contest led a high school kid to flash on the brilliant name: Thump*. For over half a century, the town has held the Thump, featuring music and events, a seed spitting competition (ready to break the 70-ft. distance barrier any day now), and an affable competition between growers over who has produced the largest watermelon.

Pump jack art - Cow jumps over the Moon.

The Championship Melon auction is where the farmers roll out their super-sized "black diamond" watermelons -- 50+ lbs., and winners have been known to plump up to over 80 lbs. (as recorded in 1962 by the biggest bruiser in the history of the Thump).

A Watermelon Thump Queen is crowned each year, and rides in the parade. The Watermelon Thump is held the last weekend in June.”

* Tipster Tom Stradt explains why you would thump a watermelon: "Basically, you test the ripeness of a melon by flicking the husk with your index finger. If you get a somewhat hollow sound from the melon, it is ripe. Now the earliest local grown watermelons in Texas begin to ripen after the first week in June, so the 'Thump' is a harvest festival of sorts, marking the availability of ripe watermelons."


A Seed-Spitting, Watermelon-Thumping Good Time

Celebrate Luling's quirky Watermelon Thump as it turns 60

Photo by Mickie Bailey

“Looking back on it now, there was a little bit of genius at work from the get-go of the annual Luling Watermelon Thump. When it first began 60 years ago, the idea was to do something humans have been doing since time immemorial: Celebrate the bounty provided by a bumper crop. In the case of Luling, a small town about 60 miles northeast of San Antonio, that simply meant throwing a party to rejoice about the huge watermelons the area produced.

Obviously, this year’s thump—June 27-30—is special because it’s a milestone birthday. But the kind of party Luling will throw reflects just how far the event has come. It began as a small town affair—a good reason for folks to get together for a bit of fun.

Since the introduction of alcohol in the 1970s, which allowed for a beer garden, and the construction of a large pavilion complex in the 1990s, the thump has been drawing crowds from San Antonio, Austin, Houston and even Dallas.

This year, besides the requisite seed-spitting and largest-melon contests, the pavilion and stages will serve as a venue for some high-quality musicians, including Randy Rogers Band and the Turnpike Troubadours. “We’ve really upgraded the music,” promises Nickells. “You can’t see much better music in Texas.” Not surprisingly, there will be an emphasis on the past this June, with a performance on the final day of the thump by The Moods, a band formed in Luling 50 years ago.

If you think you have the skills to take home the seed-spitting crown, you’ll have to be both talented and lucky. There’s such demand to enter the contest that a lottery was instituted to select competitors. If you want to take home one of the massive melons that gave birth to the thump, bring your wallet. The price tag on some of the watermelons has reached as high as $22,500. With that kind of number, it’s safe to say the Luling Watermelon Thump has officially hit the big time.”

If You Go

“Stay: For a little pampering, go to the Francis-Ainsworth House Bed and Breakfast.

Eat: Popular for its BBQ and sausages, Luling City Market draws visitors from out of town, even when they’re not attending the Watermelon Thump.



Do: If you’ve had your fill of watermelon, head to the banks of the San Marcos River for a tour of the Zedler Mill, which provides a glimpse of Texas from the early days. "



Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail







“Located on the San Marcos River near the city of Luling, this six-mile river trail can be floated in two to four hours. Paddlers will enjoy a gentle family-friendly ride on this quiet river lined with beautiful trees and wildlife.”

“The Luling Paddling trail, on the scenic San Marcos river between Austin and San Antonio, takes paddlers for a gentle ride past the historic Zedler Mill. Canoe and kayak rentals are available.”


Events and traditions

“The Luling Watermelon Thump is held each year during the last full weekend in June. It is a big celebration for the locals and draws many people from out of town as well. A favorite activity associated with the 'Thump' is the watermelon seed spitting contest.

Luling is also home to Night In Old Luling, held in October. It features games, food, booths, and a scarecrow contest.

Some of the oil pump jacks along the main streets of Luling are decorated with whimsical characters, such as a girl eating a watermelon.

The Luling Dry Tri. is an annual event held in September. It is an athletic contest comprising three consecutive events: biking 12 miles, running 3.23 miles and paddling 6 miles. A no swim triathlon (Dry Tri.) where anyone may participate either solo, as a two-person tag-team or three-person relay team. Benefits the Luling Police and Fire Departments.”


On This Day:

Indians defeat Custer at Little Big Horn, Jun 25, 1876:

“Determined to resist the efforts of the U.S. Army to force them onto reservations, Indians under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse wipe out Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and much of his 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

The Battle of the Little Big Horn was the Indians' greatest victory and the army's worst defeat in the long and bloody Plains Indian War. The Indians were not allowed to revel in the victory for long, however. The massacre of Custer and his 7th Cavalry outraged many Americans and only confirmed the image of the bloodthirsty Indians in their minds, and the government became more determined to destroy or tame the hostile Indians. The army redoubled its efforts and drove home the war with a vengeful fury. Within five years, almost all of the Sioux and Cheyenne would be confined to reservations. Crazy Horse was killed in 1877 after leaving the reservation without permission. Sitting Bull was shot and killed three years later in 1890 by a Lakota policeman.”


Korean War begins, Jun 25, 1950:

“Armed forces from communist North Korea smash into South Korea, setting off the Korean War. The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly sprang to the defense of South Korea and fought a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years.”



My back was still hurting when Misty and I went to get Jay, but we had our walk down there, anyway.  When I reminded Jay that I had said that I wanted to go to a chiropractor, he had forgotten, and said he would stay home.  I came back here, and changed into different clothes as I had called around and got a 10.30 appointment.  Not with the chiropractor that I saw on Friday, as he isn’t open on Mondays.  My appointment with him isn’t until Wednesday, and I couldn’t put up with it that long.

Leaving here at 9.00, I thought that if I got there early, I might get seen earlier.  As I started to get in the van, I realized that I didn’t have shooting pains in my back anymore.  It had suddenly snapped itself back in.  I bent over and turned from side to side to check it, and it didn’t hurt, though it was still tender.  Oh!  I could twist again!

What a relief!   I changed back into work clothes and went to get Jay, who really wanted to work.

I called the chiropractor to cancel the 10.30 appointment.   Jay, Ray and I did some more work on the lattice fence.  We made and hung the lattice gate, and a couple more lattice panels.  So that blind Misty can’t wander off, each noon when we quit, we have to temporarily tack up a some panels in the spaces each day.