Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The top picture shows the Shakespeare Salt Travel Beach rod, a nice 11'6" six piece affair. http://www.bosfish.co.uk/PRODUCTS/RODS/ss553beach.htm
The second picture down shows a dandy 7' five piece Shakespeare Travel Boat Rod. http://www.tackleshop.co.uk/tackleshopcouk/ctl10390/cp44734/si3489060/cl1/shakespeare_salt_travel_boat_rod_20lb_to_30lb
The bottom picture shows a Daiwa Wilderness Travel Beach Rod, a 12' or 13' four piece rod.

I have owned the Cabela's telescoping surf rod for over a decade. I think I'm the one who convinced them to sell it, and I'll talk more about that later.
I want to buy one or more of these rods. I'd really like the Shakespeare Salt Travel Beach Rod, with the Daiwa 13' Wilderness Travel Beach Rod as a strong second choice. Actually, I'd like to have one of each.
Daiwa and Shakespeare make these very useful rods but do not sell them in the USA. I have found very little interest in any of the UK companies wanting to give me a quote on shipping either. I have tried to buy the Shakespeare pictured at the top of the page for well over a year now from all of the UK fishing shops I could email. Many just did not respond, and the few who did acted like I was asking them for a spot-on recitation of the elements of the periodic table instead of a shipping quote.
I've had the same problem trying to buy the Daiwa surf rod from the same dealers. No go. I tell them I live in Texas, I'm willing to pay what I know will be exhorbitant air shipping rates and that I'd like to buy two travel rods. Now, I could understand the hassles involved if one were shipping one piece rods that were 12' or 13' long. I think it'd be a big hassle to ship a rod that was 6' or 7' long.
But these are gonna be like maybe a hard plastic or cardboard tube just a little over 4' long at the most for the Daiwa, and much shorter for either of the Shakespeares. Not unlike architectural documents or drawings that might have been shipped overseas in pre-internet days.
I traded some drums with a very nice fellow in Germany. Shipping was a wee bit more complex than shipping parcels in the states, but not much. A customs form, some insurance, and just pay some money. Not that complicated.
I wonder if they are concerned about any shipping charges for warranty claims, as the Daiwa USA Rep Miguel wondered in the email he sent today in respose to my question about how to buy one of these rods.
Miguel responded in 7 days, which is reasonable given the nature of my question, but told me that the Wilderness Travel Beach Rod was not carried in the U.S. (I had long ago figured this out). He said he couldn't arrange for one to go to a US dealer for me to buy (?), nor could they sell me one direct (understandable). He said he'd try to call the UK shops for me, and left a 1-800 number, so I'll try calling him tomorrow.
I know the power of the internet. So do you. The Cabela's Telescoping rod pictured above, THE BIG WATER, is a nice light to medium duty surf rod. I think I am the reason they sell it.
Back in the late 90's, we had a small SUV and got a new hot rod four door import mid-sized sedan. We liked taking it down to Port A and Corpus, but with first one and then two kids, space was at a premium. I had several inshore saltwater rods that were two piece and fit well in the trunk of the car, but my longer surf and pier rods wouldn't even fit into the trunk.
I found some asian company that actually had a picture of THE BIG WATER rod on the internet, and some text in some asian script. But at the bottom of the page was the address of the U.S. representative of whatever company was making this rod. That company was located in Houston, in a ghetto-esque long since seen it's heyday office building on Harwin Drive.
No one was there. I left a letter indicating my desire to purchase a few of those rods, for real American dollars, and my phone numbers and slipped the letter under the door.
Cabela's didn't have an online presence yet, but in their catalogs they had blurbs about asking customers to suggest products that they should carry. So I did. And I sent them a letter asking them to sell this rod and in six months or so, it appeared in their catalog and I got an email telling me they were selling it. I bought two right away.
I've since bought several more, and they're a quite decent rod for small to medium sized salt water fish. For a guy like me, who often makes fishing a quick highlight to an otherwise family activity beach trip, it's a handy rod. I've caught quite a few fish on it, albeit smaller ones, but have caught sand and speckled trout on it of anywhere from 2 to 3 pounds and it did just fine.
But it's not a heavy duty surf rod like the Daiwa and Shakespeare rods featured above. Something capable of hauling in a kingfish or some kind of mackeral, or a barracuda or shark, or any other sort of the wide variety of fish one can catch in and near the Texas Gulf Coast surf.
America, and especially this American/Texan, needs one of each of these rods. The boat rod is handy not only for boat fishing, but for canal, bay and especially pier fishing. I have a German version of the boat rod shown above, and I don't care much for the spigot ferrules that it features (which are different from those shown above) but once I get it together it's a heck of a rod.
I use my German travel boat rod for pier fishing on my California trips. In October of 2008, it saw action at the Malibu Pier and at the Santa Monica Pier. It landed two halibut. I took a big heavy duty Zebco Saltwater reel with me, for sometimes simplicity is best The rod fits in my carry on bag and since I don't check bags due to the cost, my carry on is usually crammed to the hilt with stuff. The closed face Zebco, specially designed for salt water, is much less likely to be damaged than an open face spinning reel that I would normally want to have. I've also used my Curado loaded with braided line for pier fishing on this rod.
The German rod came from an online American dealer (who barely speaks broken english) somewhere in the northeast part of the country. It was decent price and overall I'm happy with it. The fit is so tight that it is hard to get apart, but I finally hit upon the solution of using the rubber pads that you open jars with to twist the pieces apart without using the guides as leverage. So two rubber pads solved that problem.
I figure there has to be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of guys and gals like me who would like to have a compact but heavy duty surf rod that would fit in the trunk of even a small car for folks who like to fish at the beach. A lot of folks are moving to smaller cars and suvs from their giant SUVs these days, and have much less room to carry stuff. Our next vehicle will probably be a four door Toyota Tundra truck, if I have any say in the matter. These travel rods would stow perfectly behind the back seat, safe and sound.
I've got a couple of good friends in the UK, as does the wife, who would gladly take delivery and then reship them to me. But I hate to bother them with something so trivial, and it's an extra hassle in their already busy lives. But I guess it has come to that.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Fishing Season is here again. Soon, and in some places, fishing season has already arrived. I read that there have been some outstanding bass already being caught at Lake Fork (not surprising) but also a huge bass was landed at Lake O' The Pines, the first super huge bass ever from that lake turned over to the Lunker Bass program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

They take those lunker bass and breed them, and since most of those lunker bass are already of the Florida strain, they get some pretty huge baby bass going on. Then they take the breeding bass back to the lake it came from and let it go. To fight another day.

I've always liked Lake O' The Pines, as well as nearby Lake Caddo. One of my friends used to set up a fishing camp at both of those lakes at various times in the eighties, and I've seen some good fish come out of both of those lakes. My Grandfather used to talk about having fishing camps at those lakes during the 30's and 40's, and to hear him tell it back then, the fish were jumping on the hooks in those days.

White bass will be running in lots of parts of the state, and probably already are in some parts. Then the crappie run and largemouth bass spawning begins as well, amongst other fish. It's been so cold up in the northern part of the state that some of the rainbows stocked this winter in the deeper lakes might still be hanging in there.

My friends in East Texas are already talking about the white bass and I suspect it'll be moving south and west very quickly. I've had exceptional fishing adventures during the white bass spawn from the Trinity River below Lake Livingston to the Colorado River above Lake Buchanan over the decades.

One place I'd like to be is on the Trinity River, below the damn, in a boat fishing a salt water pier rod deep in the old river channel, using live crawfish for bait. That always worked well for what some of the locals called "Gaspergou" fish, which we called White Bass.

Another place that I'd like to be right this very moment is on the Rio Grande, in the Big Bend National Park at the Langford's Hot Springs, fishing for catfish with frozen shrimp. With a bright moon like there is tonight, it's a wonderful and magical place to be. The locals I met there some 13 years ago, drinking in the bar of the Starlight Lounge in Terlingua getting ready to go midnight catfishing at the Hot Springs, told me how it was the best springtime fishing spot on the river, because of the hot springs.

I wouldn't mind fishing on a nice, slow, green and deep pool of many rivers that I've fished on. The Medina. The Blanco. The San Marcos. The San Gabriel. The Guadalupe. Sitting underneath a huge grove of shady trees, knowing the fish below are looking for shade and a nice spot to linger as well.

Despite the fact I just got back from the beach, a nice trip to Matagorda wouldn't be bad either. Drive as far down the beach as my 2wd SUV will go, and set up fishing camp.

These are all places I'd like to be right now.

As the inland saltwater bays and surf begin to warm, and the chain of life kicks in strong with lots of shrimp and mullet and croaker, so too will return the specks and redfish as well as many near inshore species like Mackerel.


I've been back to work just a week now after our very nice and highly relaxing spring break. We got so relaxed so fast when we got out of town that the relaxation just took us over.

Then I woke up and went back to work.

The relaxation didn't last long. I need another vacation already.

As my good friend So-and-So used to say...I need it Stat.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


As detailed here at the Gunner's Journal,


That's sad news. Not only are the lever actions made by this company venerated by firearms enthusiasts, the bolt action and semi-auto .22's have stood the test of time. My first rifle, a Marlin bolt action .22, held HUGE amounts of any type of .22 ammo in it's tube magazine, and I've shot it so many times that it's like an old friend.

I also have a scoped Marlin lever action 30-30 rifle. If ever there was "the standard" for Texas deer rifles, this gun has to be in the top five contenders. Almost every deer hunter I know has one of these in their arsenal, as well as lots of folks who don't hunt much anymore but kept our old guns.

Both Marlins were from my Father, who really loved their construction and reliability.

The funny thing is that if one of the reasons their sales are down is that folks are buying assault type rifles, the Marlin .22 is really a far better survival rifle in some aspects. It may lack the knock down power of a .308 or even a .223 but you can buy a ton of ammo for it for very little money and the lack of recoil means multiple shots can be landed in a target area in relatively quick time.

Maybe some good American will buy them. Surely there is some mega-millionaire/billionaire out there with some history with these fine guns. A new marketing strategy, some new r&d for some new models WHILE keeping the historical standards. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010


The upper image is of the ultra compact yet still allowing full hand grasp revolver grip. I use this on my J frames. It is far superior to the stock skinny wood grips that come on some J frames. The back strap ad front strap are covered and the Pachmayr grips make my Model 38 Bodyguard Airweight a pleasure shoot, particularly when considering the original minimalist grips.
There is a place for the small wooden grips on the J frame, and that is when ankle holster or extreme summer IWB carry is required. I am looking for a Pachmayr grip adapter to use in these situations.
For nearly 30 years I've carried the Compac grips on my Colt Cobra, and again, for concealment the wooden grips beat out the Pachmayrs but for shooting comfort the rubber grips rule the road. The Cobra has the larger wood grips, which render it a more pleasureable gun to shoot than almost any other snubbie in it's size, weight and caliber, but the Pachmayr Compact grip again covers the back and front strap and minimizes much recoil.
I recently got a set of the larger presentation grips for my Cobra. They are the same grips I used on my Python as a police officer, and they fit my hand exceptionally well. Shooting them on my Cobra, it made my favorite gun even mo' betta' to shoot. I wish I had gotten a set of these 30 years ago, but I'm glad I at least got them now. Makes the Cobra quite a bit less concealable on a belt holster under a shirt but it's not so bad in an IWB rig. The Presentation grips make shooting this already excellent gun better with much less recoil.
My wood grips on my Python lasted about a week, after shooting several rounds of magnum loads through them.
My Thompston Contenders in .410/.45 LC have both sported Pachmayr grips and foregrips, as well as my Browning Hi-Power Practical and my Colt Commander, since the time they were new, which is as long as 25 years ago. I once had a Pachmayr grip on a CAR-15.
All of my old Pachmayrs look as good as they did when they were new. Many of my law enforcement and just plain old shooting friends don't like the "look" of Pachmayrs and other rubber grips. I've always been a function over form kind of gun guy, and to me they look great anyway. I love a nice set of wood grips on a Detective Special or Cobra, but I like my Pachs on them.
I know Hogue grips are great too. I've shot several guns with them and was always very impressed. But Pachmayr got me hooked and since I've had zero issues with them, I'm a loyal 30 year customer.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Micheal K over at DLISTED has a great idea DLISTED is a hilarious gossip site that's fun to read when new stories like Jesse James giving Tiger Woods a run for the money in the girlfriend department are coming out. He's got a great idea for a new reality show: THE HO-LYMPICS.

Here's what Michael says (he refers to Jesse James as The Vanilla Gorilla):

"Once more mistresses come forward, someone should organize a Ho-lympics. Vanilla Gorilla's mistresses vs. Tiger Woods' mistresses! There can be events like the sext-athlon (who can make a dude **** a *** from a text message the fastest) and the 300-meter race (who can put all her clothes back on and run through the sprinklers in heels before his wife gets home). This must happen!"

Read the whole post here at http://www.dlisted.com/node/36613

And in other Jesse James news today, I have a vision of the late actor Jim Nabors running down the street clad as Goober Pyle screaming "Citizen's A-REST, Citizen's A-REST" at Barney Fife, if you remember that old skit from The Andy Griffith Show.

Jesse decided to do a citizens A-REST on a Papp for stalking him, who in turn made a citizens A-REST on Jesse for allegedly messin' with his Papp ride. http://www.tmz.com/2010/03/25/jesse-james-citizens-arrest-cops-stalking-valdalism-long-beach-west-coast-choppers-long-beach/

Makes me sad I'm not in LA and that I'm missing all the fun.

Seriously, when Gloria Allred gets involved, there's a high likelihood that someone is going to bleed cash money.

I'm also convinced that Papps are some sort of in-life purgatory for celebs. They get big $$ and don't have to work, but the Papps come along for the ride.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Austin is so nice in the springtime, with just a hint of cooling breeze in the air and blue skies above. I got to swing through Austin today, and eat an early dinner at Guero's with several good friends. We got there at just the right time I guess, just before they got busy. We were so *right on time* that we all got parking spaces in the teeny tiny rear parking lot of Guero's, and that's the first time that's ever happened in a whole lot of visits to that establishment over a long number of years.

I had the El Presidente and of course it was excellent as always. Service was excellent as well as the company. We talked of old times and of the future. It was good.

I wanted to but really couldn't work in going across the street from Guere's on South Congress to the Continental Club for the always-excellent Tuesday night Toni Price "Hippy Hour" extravaganza and sets of her great music. It's always a surprise as to what she might play or who might show up on stage. The Continental Club has always been "my kind of place".

But since I wasn't staying overnight in Austin (and taking a taxi to the Continental) and since had to drive quite a ways to get home, I abstained from the behavior that would likely accompany a visit to the Continental Club, as I'm highly likely to run into some musician that I know from here or there in Houston or Austin over the past near 30 years of playing and listening to music in those towns. And that's gonna make me wanna stay and hang out.

I know a group of Austin drummers who have met for years on a semi-monthly basis at the Toni show, as a meeting point to start the evening and have a meal and go around town hearing various other drummer friends. I also know several groups of just regular working folk (non-musicians) who have for years attended the Toni show on a semi-regular basis as a get together, always followed by dinner at Guero's. It's a great combination.

In any event, I'm back home now, comfortably resting within my own four walls again. As much as I like traveling, and particularly to a place like Port A or Rockport or Port Isabel where I always have such a good time, it's good to be home.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Port Aransas has several good restaurants and of course, we like to eat fresh seafood whenever possible when we are visiting there.

The outstanding meal and service award goes to Caroline at the Pelican's Landing restaurant. Expensive and well worth it. Lobster, Red Snapper, some sort of sauteed shrimp dish and El Fisho Jr.'s chicken strips were great. The food was absolutely worth it's expensive price and the service, with a visiting Texas State University student as a waitress, couldn't have been better. In fact, the service was at a new level for our recent restaurant trips. Service was absolutely excellent even though the place was jumping and packed with large groups. Highly recommended with a Five out of Five stars. Caroline the waitress got a great tip has a great work ethic.

The Crazy Cajun didn't happen for us. The portions were small and my red beans and rice had teeny tiny pieces of sausage in it, and very few of those at that. The waiter acted like I was asking for fresh goat milk when I asked him for some brown suger to put in the red beans and rice, as that's the way it's always been served to me in fine dining restaurants in NOLA. The service was bad even though they were not that busy. Their specialty seemed to be steamed snow crab legs/boiled shrimp/potatos/corn/crawfish bowls heaped on the table and the folks having that seemed to be jamming down. There's a similar place in Rockport called something else where the portions are much, much larger. Although their blurb in the local tourist paper said they had stone crab, they did not. Three stars for the seafood steamed platter, one star for the red beans and rice because the bean part was tasty, and no stars for the service. It is on the high end of moderately priced in my book. Many customers were having to approach the kitchen area to get refills on their drinks because the waiters were disappearing or just not paying any attention at all to their tables. They were busy, but there were plenty of waiters and a manager.

Kody's seafood got three stars. The bar had a full complement of late 50's to 70's lunchtime drinkers in attendance, and you had to order your food at the bar. The restaurant was clean, and there was a putt-putt course out front for $4 a person. It was a very rudimentary course but kids who had never played might like it and find it interesting. They were out of certain items, but it was spring break. My fried shrimp were okay, but nothing to write home about. I've had better fried shrimp at Red Lobster and bigger portions and smaller prices. It was moderately priced, about $10 to $15 per entree. It gets three stars because the service was pretty good but the food was just OK.

I give Four Stars to Oceans of Seafood, who make excellent fried shrimp and oyster po-boys. Very reasonably priced, well cooked, large portions and fresh ingredients make them a winner consistently for us. They do great fried shrimp. In fact, if you are gonna have fried shrimp in Port A, this is the place to have it. Golden fried, tender, fresh and tasty. They have lots of other good menu items too. We ate lunch there one day, and went back Saturday night at 8 p.m. only to find them closing. For the money, the best seafood joint on the island. The fish are better at Pelican's Landing, but if other seafood is your fare, you won't go wrong with Oceans of Seafood, although watch out for the table with the sticky tablecloth in the back.

The Port A Pizzaria is not going to win any prizes for a great pizza, but it was good pizza and of Domino's or Pizza Inn/Hut quality. Not a class A pie but in the B-C range. The salad bar was extra fresh and indeed, I was impressed that everything was fresh and they did have a fair selection of pizza, although it could have been better. Except for the supreme pizza, the pepperoni and the meats on the other pizza pies were a bit scanty.

The Port A Pizzaria COULD be a excellent world class pizza joint and charge more money and deliver a higher end product. I think back to the days of Panjo's Pizza in the 1970's in Houston or Mario's Flying Pizza in Seabrook on 146 at Nasa 1 when I think of GREAT restaurant pizza.

I'll give it three and a half stars for value and family atmosphere and good (but not great) pizza, an ice cream machine, and a great salad bar with A+ fresh produce but middling service. They were busy but had plenty of waitresses, and the drink refills were a bit slow, as was plate clearing. You could see that the owner or manager was trying really hard as was some of the staff, but there was slacking going on with the staff and it wasn't running like a well oiled machine. I had to chase the waitress down to get a ticket because she just wouldn't look at our table after bringing our food.



That's it. That's what I have written.

I need help finishing this song. I'd welcome any suggestions as to lyrics to follow up this theme.

I wrote that line, that riff, that start of a song, some twenty-something years ago this summer, as I began contemplating my exit from police work and making a change. Either going to law school OR continuing my law enforcement career somewhere else like L.A. or at a different level as an investigator (the Federales, A D.A.'s office, United States Marshal or possibly even an intelligence agency like the D.O.D.).

I was single at the time, and playing with a very good blues based band led by my friend Mikey Ray. Mikey was doing stuff that could be best described as original and cover Texas guitar based blues. We covered artists like Les Dudak, Stevie Ray Vaughn (hence my dubbing of Mikey and Billy and Ricky with the middle name RAY), Eric Clapton and other similar artists. Mikey Ray had a bunch of originals and I had a ton of lyrics and rhythms and melodies of songs I had also written, and we combined them and continued doing that over rest of the 80's in a series of bands and jam bands that we played with.

So I had a ton of comp time at work, which I had to take or lose, and took a week long vacation by myself (my first one of those ever) and went to Corpus Christi and got a place at the beach in a highrise. It was in the late spring, and the complex I was at was empty. It had a great balcony, and I took to watching sunsets while playing on my acoustic guitar. In fact, since I had no neighbors to my room, I was able to do my rudimentary playing on one of Mikey Ray's high end acoustic guitars that I had borrowed to my heart's content.

The Unfinished Song is an upbeat, acoustically driven 8th note rhythm line on the guitar. I do have some music for the chorus as well, but until I get past the one damn stanza I have managed to write for that tune, it just can't progress. Think 70's to early 80's Jimmy Buffett acoustic guitar and vocals with a Texas blues rock band behind him. Which is pretty much what he had in the Coral Reefer's Band during what I and many other Buffett fans consider to be his best period in the late 70's and early 80's.

So it was with tunes like that, framing what I was feeling sitting on that balcony one night in the 80's at the beach on North Padre near Corpus, staring at the Gulf of Mexico waves and thinking about how relaxing it was there away from my job and the future and just totally being sort of at one with myself and the surroundings.

I had sailed that week on a rented Hobie Cat from the T-Head harbor. I had surfed, if you can call it that, on some semi-large (for Texas) waves that were coming in one day, again on a rented board. I had fished a bunch, both fly fishing and trout popping cork fishing with a bay guide and on a short distance ocean party boat.

I had seen several good bands in town in the evening, including a Doors cover band at some large place that used to be pretty far into town on S.P.I.D., a band that was so authentic that the singer had some sort of overdose on alcohol and pills and was hauled away via a REAL ambulance with police and everything. I thought that was a very authentic show. I had seen a couple of other good local bands at this place I liked then called Dr. Livingston's that had a jungle motif.

I had several friends living there then and was able to hang out with them in the evenings, but that afternoon when I wrote the first stanza to The Unfinished Song, I thought I had a great tune in the works. I still do, and could use some help.


Mikey Ray later morphed into more of a Wheedley-Whee Eddie Van Halen type of guitar work, and I followed right along with him. We had a good run of writing and some performing as an original hard rock band in the late 1980's with a great singer named Joe who really actually sounded like Robert Plant in his natural voice. We played a couple of covers like "Whipping Post" and "When The Levee Breaks" but otherwise we had three sets of original music we had written ourselves.

Mikey Ray was really my first longtime song writing partner of real songs that we actually liked and that just seemed to go together. Since then, I've contributed lyrics and melodies and rhythms to songs I've written with other entire groups of people or as to drum tracks that I've come up with for the songs of other people. It's always flattering when I hear other drummers who followed me up in certain bands play a part the way I played it when I originated the part when the artist wrote the song.

Although I've been lucky to play with some really talented and somewhat infamous folks, none of the songs I've ever written or helped to write have been published or used, unlike those of some of my more talented friends have done. And some have made some real large money from their musical efforts when major artists picked up their tunes.

But I have several CD's worth of songs that were written by me and Mikey during two very distinct phases of the mid to late 1980's, and I still love listening to them. And even a few of my friends genuinely like those tunes as well.

And I've got lots of other lyrics and melodies and basslines and drum riffs that I've recorded or written over the past few years, as Ricky Ray, Billy Ray and I have tried to develop our songwriting skills together, with a couple of successes in the past 8 years particularly.

But then there's that passage that starts this post. I have a melody and a bridge and just some general musical ideas that goes along with that line, and I actually wrote another line at the time that I have deemed too hokey to be used.



I just need some help with some more lyrics. It's a song about Texas, and the Texas beach, and relaxing, and music, and having a good time in life.

Finish the lyrics to my song, or help me do so, and I'll record the music onto Garage band with a REAL guitar player like Billy Ray and a real singer and post it here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


THE MERCEDES BENZ UNI-MOG is pictured above from http://img.alibaba.com/photo/11845813/Mecedes_Benz_Unimog_U1300l_Custom_Automobile.jpg

I like to spend time at the beach, and over my life have spent an enormous amount of time fishing at various Texas beaches. One beach that has always had good fishing is the Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) just south of Corpus. The beach has "deep guts" in between the sand bars, meaning the likelihood of larger fish cruising those guts is increased.

But you've got to have a pretty good 4WD or be a damn good 2WD driver (and have shovels and boards and tow straps and the like) to make it WAY down the PINS seashore to where the great fishing spots are. The sand is deep and ever changing and you need something that can power through some of the difficult spots. Having two such vehicles is even a better idea, in case one or both gets stuck there is someone around to winch you out.

Over the years, I've seen lots of trucks and SUV's modified for serious beach fishing. Some of my friends bought UNI-MOGs back in the 1980's and 1990's when they were coming in strong as affordable surplus euro military vehicles. The coolest ones I saw had ambulance type compartments on the back, which could be converted to small sleeping quarters.

But I saw a vehicle on the beach being driven by a couple of college students that was larger than a UNI-MOG or a Hummer and would be a much better platform to build a beach surf fishing/camping vehicle on. It was wider and longer than either of the above-mentioned vehicles, but it wasn't the truck Steward and Stevenson makes in Sealy. I'll have to do some surfing and see what it was, but the back compartment was huge and it looked like it had some type of mounts for fixing up a soft top on the rear compartment, which was huge.

It was far bigger than a traditional pickup truck bed, and with some sort of plastic or fiberglass shell over the rear of that thing you could have a heck of a four wheel drive vehicle that could tackle the toughest beach conditions on the rarely traversed parts of Mustang, Padre, Matagorda and other barrier islands.

It would be big enough for a small kitchen and a portable head and several bunks, with room to spare for storage and just in general floor room. It had huge tires and was definitely 4 wheel drive. I've got to find out where I can get a surplus one of these and transform it into a family beach camping vehicle, since trailers (even lightweight pop-up trailers) and RV's can't make the rigorous journey into deep sand like a heavy duty vehicle like that can.

We owned a Jeep Wrangler for many years and Mrs. El Fisho and I did lots of roaming on Matagorda Island. It was nice to have a powerful 4WD and the gear to not have to worry about getting stuck in the sand.

The nice thing about having a serious beach vehicle that can traverse the sand is that you can get to really isolated spots where there are lots of shells and driftwood and where not a lot of fishing goes on. And where there is no one nearby messing with your relaxation.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


This year spring break took us once again to Rockport and Port Aransas. Last year we stayed all week in Rockport in a very nice condo on the water with two fishing piers and visited Port A for an extended day at the beach and yearly Dolphin Cruise at Woody's Sports Center.

We had visited Port A before on numerous occasions during spring break over the past two decades. The crowds were never too bad but last year although the weather was nice there was hardly any spring breakers there it seemed on the Thursday we visited. We were able to get immediate tables and snappy service at Oceans of Seafood for lunch and Pelican's Landing for dinner. The beach had a few gaggles of spring breakers but they were greatly outnumbered by families. We guessed the economy had caused the downturn, as there were similar situations in other spring break meccas.

This year, if spring break attendance is any sort of gauge of the economy, then it's bouncing back well. I don't agree with that, but I do think that folks were out in force. There are families here, but far less than last year.

We took our great yearly dolphin cruise on a big boat that cruises the bays and inland waters of Port A looking at the plentiful dolphin, and then dredging a large net and catching all kinds of interesting fish and sea life that even I as an experienced Texas saltwater fisherman have never seen in quite a lot of bay, inlet, surf and ocean fishing. There were probably eight families on the trip this year on a Friday afternoon whereas last year there were probably 20 families. FWTW.

We caught no fish this year, but again as I stress to El Fisho Jr., it's not the fishing, it's the catching. We fished one morning in Rockport on a nice harbor pier and a fellow gave us some of his leftover shrimp as he docked his boat nearby. He had been fishing the pier the day before when I checked it out catching a small flounder and later some croaker and various sea perch on cut mullet. His boat fishing fared worse, with one red fish but lots of sheepshead.

In any event, we got to do some surf fishing, although there was no bird action where we were fishing, so we were just out there for whatever was going on. I had dual hook stainless leader rigs for the bottom since we were fishing the second gut and that would put the bait about mid water in a 3'-4' gut. We were using whole mullet on a #8 circle hook and the fresh formerly live shrimp from the day before which I had frozen over night on #8 treble hooks, figuring a mix and match was the best we could do in the pretty cold water and pretty high winds.

So although we skunked out it was nonetheless fun and just being outdoors was great. The harder plastic and non-water absorbent Nerf footballs (No, I get no endorsements from Nerf or anyone else, and I'll let 'cha know if I ever do get an endorsement) are great for the beach. They do well in the wind, don't bounce too far on even hard sand and don't get nasty like other kinds of footballs and the yellow and black color gives it good visibility.

We saw the killer Texas norther storm that blew in Saturday afternoon and got some great pictures of the cold front ZOOMING in at about 12:45 afternoon. We had been on the beach, down around marker 39. The spring breakers were out in force this morning in their camps, and although there was a fair amount of cruising when we hit the beach at about 11 or so, it was windy blowing in from the Gulf like normal.

Then, as the line of dark clouds moved our way rapidly from the north in sort of an arced configuration stretching for miles and miles, the wind began to blow from the norther, not so much cold at that point but hard and gusting to about 40 mph and then the hard rain came.

We had set up a smaller base camp today, not setting up the tent shade structure as we did yesterday. The ladies did some beach walking and shell collection and I messed around with El Fisho Jr.

Kudos to the Island Tackle Center located 207 W. Avenue G in Port A, the street through town from the ferry landing to get to State Highway 361. When I was fishing in Rockport on Thursday morning, one of my favorite saltwater pier and quasi-surf rods had part of the metal tip guide break from some corrosion on the back inside part of the guide I apparently had not cleaned well the last time I went saltwater fishing. It caused the plastic/ceramic insert ring to pop out and of course, the line came out of that guide through the break.
I went to Tackle Town in Rockport, but they were very busy and I was told come leave it and come back later, but since we were about to leave Rockport and head to Port A, I waited until I got to Port a and I took the rod into the Island Tackle Center, where I had never ventured before, and was assisted a very nice man named Greg who removed my damaged top guide and affixed a new replacement in under five minutes for a class A job.

I have some sentimental feelings for this rod. I have caught some large fresh water catfish as well as a ton of saltwater fish with this rod since buying it at an outfitter's shop in Rosenberg back in 1997 or 1998 for $20. 8 foot, 2 piece, heavy duty saltwater casting rod rated for 12-30 pound test and made by some company called PAC-HAWK, or maybe that's the name of the rod model.

In any event, it's a white rod with foam handles and a 12" yellow rod tip that is very useful in night fishing and surf fishing. It handles well and although I own far more expensive modern and vintage rods of the same type and general length, this rod became my favorite years ago. It does well for ocean and bay pier fishing and satisfies for surf fishing when I'm with the family. Although I favor a much longer rod for surf fishing, and have one, it's a bit cumbersome with it's 2 piece 6.5' length in the family truckster.

So I have sentimental as well as function attachment to this rod, and I did a quick fix with the superglue I carry in my tackle box (now) when in Rockport fishing Thursday morning. I glued the insert into the metal tip guide ring and then after letting that dry a minute or two, glues the split in the metal guide itself on the outside, all the while taking care to make sure none of the superglue got on the interior of the guide where it might Contact the line.

The MacGiver'd rod carried on well surf fishing the first day of beach fishing in Port A on Friday. During the driving rainstorm Saturday, whilst the family was bargain T Shirt shopping and hitting up the excellent Winston Fudge store, I went to Island Tackle where I met Greg, who works there with his owner dad and step-mom.

He told me he could have my rod as good as new in 3-4 minutes, and set about fixing it very properly with a very nice quality replacement rod tip guide. I got charged the grand total of $4 and some change, and I'm sure the guide he put in there cost nearly that much even wholesale. I have built several rods and repaired many rods and reels and am familiar with quality saltwater replacement guides. So he made like maybe a buck for his labor.

He was quite nice and we discussed favorite spots and we talked of our mutual like for Fish Pass and the deep guts in the surf at PINS. The next time we come down here, which could be as early as next month, I think I'll send the rod in advance. We looked at the other guides and they all had pretty severe corrosion in about a 2mm spot underneath each guide. Although I was and metal polish down my rod guides after fishing, obviously I've been missing a small spot even with my q-tip detailing.

So I think I'll post the rod in a PVC case I have for it and get the other rod guides replaced and then just pick it up. They had some nice surf spinning rods there too in shorter 9' and 10' lengths for very reasonable prices as well, although they were all two piece and I think I'd like to go to about a 3 pc. 12-13 footer for my next surf rod. Something to really get that bait out to that third gut on cold days like this week when I didn't want to get wet in that dang chilly waters.
Kudo's again to Island Tackle and Greg for not only having a great business, an extremely great work ethic, and damn reasonable prices. In fact, they're fixing to make some more money off of me.
Island Tackle had a sign posted out front for both rental tackle and "inexpensive" fishing tackle. They did indeed have some great deals on both long surf rods and shorter surf/pier rods as well as bay stuff. Their terminal tackle was well stocked and I could see the materials to make wire leaders to your order on the spot, just like in the old days at fishing shops. They had supplies for surf, bay and ocean fishing, and although I didn't see any fly stuff there, you can already get that at Port A Outfitters or over in Rockport at Tackle Town.
I'm also pleased to see that Orvis opened a storefront on the main drag in Rockport. I didn't get to venture in there, but will on the next trip. Likewise, saw a fishing business entitled Angler's Marine Center on Hwy 361 heading down towards Beach Access Road 1A on the left. Didn't stop in there either but again, I'm sure I will and see what kind of stuff they have in there.
Another fishing business in Port A is the BilMoore Hardware store which sells fishing tackle. Of course, Fisherman's Wharf and Woody's Sports Center and probably a few other places sell fishing gear. If you're just needing some hooks, leaders, popping corks or sinkers or a really cheap rod and reel for the kids, even the IGA grocery store in Port A has a basic fishing tackle selection.
I'll write more later about some of the other sights and sounds, and then run through a list of restaurant reviews about Port A. I'll talk about how they could probably use a little more law enforcement presence if they wanna get the families like us to keep coming down, as there were some bonafide "real" gang bangers from Corpus in attendance, with some being very hardcore with facial prison/cartel tattoos. I saw members of the what I believe is called the TexTones gang from both Corpus and San Antonio, flying their tatts and in one case, dressed in identical lighter blue shirts and short emblazoned with "Corpus Christi 361".
I know that in Houston and Austin the gangsters with the area codes tatted in The State of Texas outline are respectively the Houstones and the Austones, or that they sometimes sport a sports team tattoo from their city to clearly identify them as being from that contingent. I also saw a set of 4 very hard core gangsters from MS-13, and they were sporting very hardcore facial tattoos of the type I've seen by cartel enforcers and gang leaders.
Neck tattoos are almost common place amongst some of the milder versions of gangsters in Texas, but the extensive facial tattooing is exclusive to the most hardcore, in my opinion. There were plenty of neck tattoos in evidence, and based on their attire and seriously wheeled rides and the abundance of tattoos, I'm guessing most of the less serious and hardcore gangsters types are not on high school or junior college spring break but are down there to look for the college girls.
Whatever. But suffice it to say that perhaps 20 or so of the thousands of the kids down there on break were not in college and had been to the Pen and based upon the openly displayed gang affiliation they were "walking probable cause" for the police to stop and question.
From my job, I know that both San Antonio and Corpus have significant prison gang populations, particularly those from the old school Mexican Mafia and Texas Syndicate. But these were new school hoodlums, and there were a total of 9 of them that had the types of tattoos and clothing that just screamed hardcore.
And you hate to see that around a bunch of basically decent college and college aged kids just trying to have a good time at the beach drinking and whooping and doing those things that young Americans want to do. They had plenty enough police for the usual spring break issues, and it seemed like the police were exercising lots of discretion and getting intoxicated persons from the beach to their lodging or tents instead of merely looking to arrest every kid getting a bit blasted.
But I do think some more law enforcement for the harder core elements that were in attendance would be good. Mrs. El Fisho and a friend that came with us were hitting the stores on Saturday afternoon, and they came upon a bunch of plainclothes officers sporting external ballistic vests, raid jackets, lots of extra mags, dual handguns, gas and since Mrs. El Fisho has been around such things, she thought they looked like a raid team as they were riding in unmarked vehicles at the gas station they stopped at.
I'm hoping that was DPS Criminal Intelligence or perhaps some special Gang Unit out of Nueces County SO or Corpus Christi P.D, coming over the monitor the activity.
I don't think there is much if any youth or serious prison gang activity in Port Aransas outside of Spring Break and the Memorial/Labor/July 4th holidays.
That's what I want to keep thinking because one day soon I'd like to live there.
There was, of course, the obligatory Confederate Flag being flown from numerous trucks, and many had logos on them such as "Heritage Not Hate" or "Git 'Er Done" and so on. Interestingly, I saw three "Come and Take It Flags", two that were traditional with the cannon depicted and one that had a well-drawn M-16 Carbine instead of a Cannon.
There were a ton of "Don't Mess With Texas" flags and a few college flags, but lots of both American and Texas flags. The flags are always an interesting touch.

As far as fishing on the beach, although I went in up to my knees, the water temp was real cold and I really needed some kind of light weight diver or surfer outfit to be able to go much further than that. I don't care much for waders in general, particularly in surf, but a nice thinner wetsuit, the zip on variety that surfers use, would be good for getting about waist deep to throw that bait out past that third gut with a 12'+ rod. Future Ebay searches will undoubtedly involve looking for a deal on a used light wet suit of some kind.

More later about our trip and what we learned and where you can go in Port Aransas.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I found a holster in, of all places, a women's center resale shop a couple of years ago. It strongly resembles a holster my dad had for many years from the Stelzig's, who for many decades made holsters , particularly for cops and their regular customers, in addition to their normal line of boots, hat and western wear.

In any event, just by eyeballing it I could tell it would be a near perfect fit for the Colt Cobra, and possibly several other snubbies. For $1, I took it home, and it fit like a glove. It's a brown basketweave pattern with an old school "reach over" leather strap with a snap, worn on the belt but pretty high on the belt, where a polo shirt or certainly a suit jacket would cover it well.  More suited for field use, which is what I got it for, but certainly fine for colder weather and with a coat or jacket.

It is labeled a Roscoe holster. Seems like I read somewhere they were made in Germany, but I'll have to look into that. It's a fairly thin single ply of medium thick leather, and finished very nicely. I'll guess it's from the 60's or 70's, but in immaculate condition.

Which all reminds me in a round about way of one of the great friends I've had for nearly 30 years who I met through Billy Ray. His old college buddies, mostly from the Big D area because Billy Ray actually matriculated from SMU. Pony boys.

In any event, they've become good friends with me and I've had many a good time with many of them. 

My longtime band mate and great friend Ricky Ray, with whom Billy Ray and I have a band of longstanding nature is one of these friends. 

So is the great drummer and doctor, The Evil Dr. K, who is not evil at all. We've done quite a bit of double drumming together and he's just a funny guy and real nice person. We spent a lot of time in the early eighties together, both with and without Billy Ray, running wild as young men in their twenties are want to do.

Another Billy Ray friend I ran with back then was Johnny D. He also loved in Houston during the early 80's, moving to a killer condo on Lake Conroe after that. Lots of good times with Johnny D. After several years of being good friends, he spent a marathon several days talking me out of pursuing a post graduate musical education in California and talking me into going to law school.

Which of course turned out, was the absolute best advice, and was the same advice my dad gave me. I had a lot of friends in LA and could have attended a very nice music school on a scholarship. 

A good friend of mine had attended and now worked there, the virtuoso Roberto the guitar genius, for several years already. He thought I could get the same type of deal. It paid well and had insurance.

He had a screamin' deal on a Hollywood Hills house tucked away that he was housesitting on a long term basis  and had permission for me to reside there as well from the owner.

 And in the 80's and 90's Roberto was doing a ton of studio recording work as well as live gigs for fairly well known artists to playing around town with some of the more hip bands. He was a union guy as well and did all kinds of union gigs, like weddings and klenzmer gigs and just about everything you could think of.

So on the one hand, I had a fairly good deal in LA for school and most certainly some paying work fairly soon, as Roberto was well connected with the gigging and sub contractors. 

But Johnny D was always talking sense into me about law school and how it would greatly broaden my options for the future. And he was absolutely right. I've been able to pursue a very enjoyable musical career playing locally for many years, yet be able to have the great family thing (no musician road work) and a job I love.

So once Johnny D and I were out on the town, back in the glory days of a Hillcroft restaurant called Bogart's or something like that, and we were headed out for a late night meal. Hillcroft wasn't as bad as it is now back then, but it was certainly crimey and already had a rep for being a sketchy place.  

Since I was an officer in those days, he asked me if I had "my Roscoe" on me. 
*I said what? 
*You know, your heater. 
*Your gat.
* Your piece. Your cannon. Your equalizer.

Finally, I figured out he was talking about my off-duty weapon, mostly likely a Colt Cobra, a lightweight Commander or a H-K P7M8 back then. And yes, I did carry off duty and he knew it and being a fellow who had relocated from Missouri to Dallas to Houston, Johnny D. was a little nervous on the  sketchy side of Houston for a late night meal.

Johnny D is not in law enforcement but was fascinated by my stories. Or at least he acted like he was.

So the Roscoe holster reminded me of all that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Brilliance of Curtis Mayfield

The above soundtrack is the 25th anny reissue which was released several years ago. It is still available and it's a keeper. I'm not usually much on soundtracks, as most of them are comprised of "scene mood music" that accompanies the acting, and perhaps a few vocal numbers. But Superfly is one of those soundtracks that contains great tunes that stand well on their own two feet.
I discovered the great tunes on this soundtrack early, as my junior high band director was big into listening to rocking soundtracks like Jesus Christ Superstar, various Bond film soundtracks and lots of the blaxploitation soundtracks in the seventies, because they all contained some killer music. He'd blast them in the band room when he didn't have a class going on, over a world class stereo system (especially for the early 70's) through a pair of HUGE Klipsch speakers so heavy that I could not lift one entirely off the ground by myself.
Our junior high stage band repertoire included songs from Chicago and some of the soundtracks mentioned above. I couldn't believe how cool it was to be playing an instrumental arrangement of Superfly or 25 or 6 to 4 back then, and I just wish I had some recordings of those performances.
There's a litany of great songs on the 25th anny two disc set.
-The popular Freddie's Dead.
-No Thing On Me (cocaine song).
-Little Child Running Wild and it's remix, Ghetto Child.
-Give me your love.
But my favorite tune of all is the vocal/LP version of Eddie You Should Know Better. The lyrics and subject matter is downright dreary, but the musical arrangement and full orchestral treatment is as uplifting as it is regretful. It's almost like a hymnal, and maybe the genius that was Curtis meant it to be that way. As always, Mayfield's vocal phrasing and just hypnotizing rhythm guitar parts drive the song, in spite of the orchestra behind him. His sense of instrumentation and rhythms was phenomenal, and although his great works were not in any way limited to this soundtrack album, it remains one of my favorite reflections of his work and of the change going on in the early 70's.
The instrumental version of the radio hit Freddie's Dead is also a special treat, and the reissue has 13 extra outtakes and alternate versions. I had the original LP, and still do by the way, and it was nice to hear some of the different recordings with that stellar band and orchestra.
Check out the movie as well. It's damn near a piece of history now. It puts some of the music, and the social issues of the time, in startling perspective.
I'd also recommend the tunes Move on up and If there's a hell below, we're all gonna go as some of Mayfield's other finest musical moments, although he had already enjoyed a long and storied career by the time Superfly came out.
I'm not promoting Amazon, but here's a link to their site where you can buy individual songs or the entire enchilada of two cd's. There's lots of other sites where you can get it as well. http://www.amazon.com/Superfly-25th-Anniversary-Deluxe-Ed/dp/B00000342V
Here's some reviews from the Amazon site that really say it better than I ever could about this particular CD duo:
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative Masterpiece, July 26, 2000
Thomas Magnum (NJ, USA) - See all my reviews(TOP 50 REVIEWER) (VINE VOICE) In the film, Priest, a coke dealer, is trying to make one last big score and retire. Curtis Mayfield's score is like another charcater, something of a greek chorus. While the movie glorifies the underworld and makes Priest into a hero, Mr. Mayfield's music tells of the trouble that comes from using and dealing drugs and acts as the film's conscience. Songs like "Freddie's Dead", "Eddie You Should Have Known Better", "Pusherman" & "Superfly" deal with particular charcaters from the movie, but they are so good and stand up on their own, you don't have to see the movie to get them. Mr. Mayfield's combination of Funk, Soul, Rock & Latin rhythms have influenced countless musicians from Eric Clapton to Lenny Kravitz and many rappers. He employs his sweet falsetto and innovative guitar work to their fullest on the album. This compliation has a second disk which has mostly instrumental versions of the album's songs, but ends with a lenghty interview with Mr. Mayfield that makes it worth shelling a couple extra dollars for this version of a great, great record.

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars The Soundtrack to End All Soundtracks., December 8, 2002
The Groove (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews(TOP 500 REVIEWER) These days, the movie soundtrack amounts to little more than a commercial tie-in, and others have a good amount of material that's not even featured in the films they represent. But Curtis Mayfield's soundtrack to the 1972 film "Superfly" is a standard-bearing classic, and it's quite possibly the most vivid character in the entire film. One needn't see the movie to appreciate this album (though it helps), which is centered around the theme of the drug trade and the repercussions it has on inner cities. From the first note, Mayfield blows you away. The soulful swagger of "Freddy's Dead," the achingly beautiful "Little Child Runnin' Wild," and the tender and sensual love jam "Give Me Your Love" show why "Superfly" is one of most influential albums of all time. Soul rarely gets better than this. On the deluxe edition, we get one disc of the remastered recording, and the other disc has instrumentals, unreleased material, ad spots, and we are even treated to Mayfield giving his $.02 on "Superfly" the film and the making of its soundtrack. This album is a must-own to begin with, but the second disc of bonus material makes it all the more irresistible. If you don't have this album, get the deluxe edition. If you have the original version, then you should make the upgrade and still get it. "Superfly" is an incredible masterpiece that could very well be the definitive soundtrack.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars May Be the Best [R&B] Soundtrack Ever, May 26, 2004
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Here, there and everywhere) - See all my reviews(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME) The late, great, Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack may be the best soundtrack album ever. Why? 1) because it works standing alone on its musical and lyrical merits; and 2) because it works when played/heard in the context of the movie itself.As to 1) the music is still fresh and meaningful - even now, 32 years after the film was first released. It can be said of Curtis Mayfield's music and lyrical poetry that he 'kept it real' (Choice of Colors, Keep on Pushing, etc.) even before the phrase was invented and well before it became a hackneyed cliche. From Little Child Runnin Wild to Pusherman, Freddie's Dead, to Superfly itself - the combination of Mayfield's voice, his guitar work, the beat, and his lyrics sounds as fresh today as they did when I first saw the movie many, many years ago.As to 2) the music as a soundtrack to one of the big Blaxploitation films of its day served as a startling contrast to the film itself. The drug-dealing Superfly, Ron O'Neal, was built up (at least in my neighborhood) as an inconoclastic hero of his age. But, Mayfield's music, while complementing the movie's ploit line also served as a grim reality check for anyone taking the time to actually listen to the lyrics. This counterbalance made the film far better than it would have been without a soundtrack because it served to say hey - Superfly might be one cool guy - but remember - Freddy's Dead. The music served (as another reviewer suggested in comments on the non-deluze edition) as a Greek Chorus that kept providing the movie with musical reality checks.
This may be some of Mayfield's best work. To me at least it has stood the test of time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Sometimes you just wonder about the people we've elected to run this state and country. An article today in the Austin American Statesman and later in the Houston Chronicle quotes Texas state Senator Eddie Lucio as saying that deportation of some non-violent Texas prison offenders to their country of origin might be a good idea as a money saver AND a money generator for Texas.

Bad idea, Eddie.

Here's the quote:

"It could mean a lot of jobs, economic development, because the federal government will have to find a place to put them before they deport them," said state Sen. Eddie Lucio, a Brownsville Democrat who is championing a two-part plan to empty state prisons of many of the nearly 11,400 foreign nationals by turning them over to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials for deportation.
He said that ICE would need additional holding facilities for the soon-to-be deported criminals and that federal money might be available to pay for them and the jobs they would they create.
"This could be a win-win situation for Texas," said Lucio, noting that South Texas might benefit from such a program since that's where many federal immigration detention centers already are located.

You can read the whole article here at http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/lawmakers-discuss-deporting-foreign-convicts-352470.html

I think the problem might be that Eddie IS NOT THINKING. Fortunately, the article quotes a legislator with a sensible opinion on the matter, and I hope that his attitude is the prevailing one in our state legislature next year.

"It shouldn't be a reward to get out of prison early in Texas just because you're in this country illegally," said state Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, the former chairman of the House Corrections Committee, which explored possible deportations two years ago as a way to save money.

"If you deport them and they come back and commit another crime, nobody wins."

That's right, Jerry. You've got the interests of Texas and Texans at heart, brother. I say if Lucio wants to sponsor this plan, just write in an addition to his proposed legislation that ALL LEGISLATORS who vote for this idiocy become PERSONALLY LIABLE in case one of these crooks sneaks back in and victimizes someone else.

I think that would fix Eddie's visions of idiocy right away.

Eddie also needs to think about the rest of Texas instead of just looking for jobs for his district. Common sense will tell you THAT WE ALREADY HAVE PEOPLE WORKING IN THIS STATE AS PRISON GUARDS GUARDING FOREIGN INMATES! I know, I know, common sense must be in short supply in Senator Eddie's office, but it would seem like someone on his staff might mention that to him.

NOTE TO SELF: If Eddie Lucio ever runs for statewide office, remind his opponents of his pork barrel attempts and his hair brained ideas about deporting inmates.

If I were a foreign citizen, read "illegal alien", I'd be all for this plan. Freedom, yes sirree. All illegal aliens in our prison system get deported anyway after doing their time, so it's not like that doesn't already happen.

First off, those serving "non-aggravated" sentences in Texas are serving, for the most part, mere fractions of the time given them by juries and judges. A two year sentence is reduced to mere months, and so on. So it's not like these "non-violent criminals", for the most part, are looking at doing any significant portion of the sentence a judge or jury gave them or that they plea bargained for. To me, as a Texan, it is a joke the way that "non-violent offenders" do so little of the actual time they are given.

Secondly, those soft on crime like to use the term "non-violent criminal" as if to connote that the criminal caused less injury than a violent one. In most cases, this is just not true. There is almost always a victim, even if that victim is society in general.

Let's look at some non-violent criminals who would be facing early release under Eddie's plan:

-Identity thieves
-credit card and currency counterfeiters
-drug dealers
-couriers of illegal drugs
-habitual drunk drivers

I have an idea that State Representative Madden should tack on to any bill that Sen. Eddie tries to float regarding this issue. If Eddie introduces a bill supporting the early release of these inmates, just tack on a proviso that once transported to Eddie's district, they will all be given free bail so that they can live in Eddie's district pending deportation and deportation hearings. If possible, make it a condition that they live a mile from Eddie's house.

This will generate all kinds of jobs for Eddie's constituents. More police and sheriff employees to handle the crime wave that will hit his senate district, and the cost of this crime to the folks who elected this joke. But that way, his district, via their county and city taxes, will pay for all of these jobs, and not my federal tax money.

Finally, has anyone wondered what would happen if the Mexican authorities refused to accept an en mass deportation of thousands of felons back into Mexico? Since we basically walk them across the bridge, would this really be a good deal for the already chaotic border cities of Mexico?

What if Mexico said, "Well, so sorry but we're not claiming them anymore, and we refuse to accept them"?

Friday, March 12, 2010


Banjo Jones has a post about late comic Bill Hicks, and a movie about him over at Banjo's Place. Here's the link to the post
a movie about Bill Hicks, the late, great standup comedian, is coming out this summer

Like Banjo, I was a big Bill Hicks fan. I saw him several times do his act, and also saw him in action at times at certain bars.

In the late 80's and early 90's, he hung out on occasion when he was in Houston at an establishment which I used to frequent with some regularity, Cecil's and it's predecessor, Blythe Spirits. Cecil's was on West Gray between Taft and Montrose, and was owned by Kim Blythe, who also owned Blythe Spirits, which was next door to where Cecil's was located in this weird wooden type of strip/office center affair.

I played in a large number of bands that played Blythe Spirits regularly in the late 80's and early 90's, and when I wasn't playing there, I was often there watching various bands that my friends played in. Houston had a very supportive live original music scene back then, and there was a lot of good music being made.

Likewise, there was a lot of funny comedy going on at several inside the loop locales. A lot of the comedians and musicians and artists and Urban Animals and actors from the Alley and the like tended to hang at watering holes like Blythe Spirits and Cecil's.

I didn't know him well, but one of my friends knew him very well and I understand he was a very nice guy.

In any event, he died way too young and my guess is that he'd have a TV show by now rivaling the best humorous TV pundits on the air. He was a Houstonian, and as I've said before about ZZ and some other famous Houstonians, I can't help but be proud of local boys and girls done good.