¡Feliz jueves, amigos! Today is National IPA Day, National Work Like A Dog Day, and National Underwear Day, which means you have an excuse to drink a beer for breakfast and then go chase a frisbee in your underwear. [What a frisbee is doing in your underwear, I don't really want to know.]
It's also National Oyster Day, so...well...I got nothing for that.
It occurs to me that I've never addressed the [lack of] reasoning behind the Random Thursday posts, and I'm certain that you've noticed that oversight but have had the grace not to mention it.
I first began the series in 2006, smack dab in the middle of the Golden Years of Blogging. My inspiration was the inestimable Blackie Sherrod, one of the greatest sportswriters ever to bang out a deadline-beating column on a vintage Corona whilst swigging a Schlitz and chewing a White Owl stogie. [OK, I made all that stuff up except the "greatest" part.] He worked for a number of Texas Metroplex newspapers over his career, and his Sunday column featured a section entitled "Scattershooting" in which he weighed in on -- you guessed it -- a series of random topics.
When I first
purloined borrowed the idea, I actually went so far as to use Sherrod's trademark intro: "Scattershooting while wondering..." After a while, I decided I wasn't doing his legacy any favors so I stopped using the phrase.
Oh, btw, don't go looking for those initial posts from 2006; they never made it into the redesigned version of the Gazette that you have before you today, following a temporary hiatus in which I questioned the very meaning of life and/or blogging. But, trust me...they were real and they were spectacular.
Sherrod died in 2016 (here's a good obit column), but his papers have a permanent archive in the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. You can still order a collection of his columns via Amazon in a book entitled, appropriately enough, Scattershooting.
Anyway, these Random Thursday columns are sort of a tribute to Blackie Sherrod, and in fact they closely resemble his offerings in all but a couple of ways: quality and brevity.
I think I may have noted this before, but during the summer months we have to check under the cushions of our deck chairs before sitting on them, lest we squish the little tree frogs who have claimed those spots for their daytime naps.
They're understandably annoyed on those occasions where we exercise our rights of eminent domain and rudely urge them to seek other quarters. Sometimes they flee the area completely, but occasionally they just reposition themselves and plot revenge.
I uploaded the following photo to Facebook a couple of days ago because I found it amusing. A tiny frog -- not much bigger than my thumbnail -- took umbrage at my intrusion, and while it moved out of the way, I caught it peeking up at me, no doubt memorizing my face for future mayhem.
One of the local newspapers sponsors a "first bluebonnet of the year" photo contest, but as far as I know, no one has a "last bluebonnet of the year" competition. If they did, Debbie and I might win, as we spotted this one on July 27th, weeks after we thought the last of these wildflowers had gone to that Big Nursery In The Sky. This one was growing next to the cart path by the Ram Rock golf course #11 fairway. It lasted a couple of more days before it, too, crossed the Rainbow Bridge, or whatever the equivalent is for plants.
Seriously, though, it's just really unusual to spot a bluebonnet in these parts this late in the season.
We're fortunate to live in a very scenic part of Texas, and in a beautiful neighborhood called Pecan Creek, so-named not only because of the eponymous creek that runs through it, but also because of the huge heritage pecan trees that line much of the main street.
If you'd like to see some of what I'm talking about, I sent my new drone up about a hundred feet or so and took a photo from our backyard. The water in the distance -- about two miles as the crow flies -- is Lake LBJ. Our neighborhood is in the lower middle of the photo. If you know what you're looking at, you can spot four eighteen hole golf courses in this picture.
Of course, it's not always this green in August, but we've been blessed with abundant rainfall this summer. Believe me when I say we're not taking it for granted.
Click on the photo to see a much larger image (opens in a new tab or window).
Last, but by no means least, if you're a dog or cat owner in Texas, or any other location where snakes are present, you should have a plan in place for dealing with the remote possibility of a venomous bite. Here's an excellent resource for that plan (PDF). Your go-to veterinarian should know the best practices for diagnosing and treating snake bites, but there's a lot to be said for being able to reality-test what they tell you to do.
If you're a Facebook user, I also highly recommend joining the National Veterinary Snakebite Support group, as you can quickly tap into the collective wisdom of veterinarians who are skilled in the treatment of pets that have been bitten...or even just are suspected of having been bitten (it's not always an obvious thing).