Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Thomas Jefferson Hour

When I was on vacation in June, driving through the Texas Panhandle on my way to Amarillo, I was tuning around on the radio dial when I happened to come across an interesting radio program. The Thomas Jefferson Hour is a public radio program devoted and dedicated “to the search for truth in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson” (quoting from the program’s website). The distinguishing characteristic of the program is the series of conversations with President Jefferson himself, as portrayed by scholar Clay Jenkinson, speaking of events and answering listener’s questions in character as Jefferson. I’ve enjoyed it enough to send in a donation to keep the series going.

I listen to the Jefferson Hour on my Apple TV, along with several other podcasts (mainly video). I’ll have more to say about the Apple TV in a future entry.

Are you ready for some more football (end of September style)?

If it’s Saturday or Sunday in the fall, then that means football.  Michigan State was idle on Saturday, so I watched a very good SEC game (Georgia and LSU) and a good Big Ten game (Wisconsin and Ohio State). And on Sunday, I turned on NFL Red Zone and got to see a bit of everything. I was most interested in the Bears-Lions and Seahawks-Texans games, naturally. The Lions dominated throughout their game and ended up winning 40-32, while the Texans had an early lead but allowed Seattle to catch up and tie it, sending it into overtime where the Seahawks kicked a field goal to win, 23-20.

In my opinion, the Red Zone channel is one of the best programming ideas ever. It allows you to see the best of every game that is taking place at that time. And when I first started watching the channel in 2009 or 2010 (I’m not sure which year), it was the only way to see the Lions play at home. They were very bad at that point, and most games were blacked out.

Discovering history through aerial photographs

Over on Facebook, I belong to three groups that deal with the history of where I grew up: League City and the Clear Lake area of Texas. We’ve had some very interesting discussions on a number of topics. Many of those discussions have been sparked by vintage photographs.  A few of those vintage photographs have been aerial photographs that I found on the web.

One of the first places I found vintage aerial photographs is Their selection varies widely, depending on the part of the country you’re interested in. For my primary area of interest (the Houston area in general, the Clear Lake area in particular), I’m in luck; they have historic images, where historic means 1999 and earlier. More specifically, I found images from 1953, 1957, 1964, 1973, 1981 and a few other years. But if I were interested in historic images from, say, Nebraska, I’d be out of luck; they don’t have any.  Now HistoricAerials charges for its photos; I’ve bought some from them in the past.

A site that contains more government-generated photos and data is Earth Explorer by USGS. I’ve found data from 1953, 1954, 1955, 1969 and some other years for the Houston area.  These photos contain a great amount of detail.  They’re also huge in size; 100 MB is a fairly common size. Thank goodness for speedy connections and large hard drives! The interface isn’t too difficult to use, and the photos I retrieve are free!

Even Google Earth has vintage aerial photography. For League City, you can go back to 1944. Now that’s really mind-blowing for me, because in 1944, there was no Gulf Freeway (that only dates back to 1952), but there was a second bridge crossing across Clear Creek, that being Old Galveston Road (not the current Highway 3, but the original road, which is known in LC as Kansas Street). Unfortunately, there are big gaps in that photo set, because the area west of town isn’t covered, so you can’t see the land without the freeway.  I’d sure like to see the land like that. I’d like to find more aerial photos, and of different years, to see more of the history and the changes.

Spam isn’t just a meat product

I used to keep a blog on this site on two occasions before this current blog. One thing that I remember from the second attempt, and something I’m seeing return with this blog, is spam comments.  Every comment submitted to me has been spam; I haven’t received any legitimate comments at all. Now fortunately, I moderate all of the comments, so no garbage is getting posted here.  But it would be nice to receive a legitimate comment, for a change.

Why I am a Texan

Today’s (Sept. 15, 2013) Houston Chronicle has an article on how NASA’s Johnson Space Center came to be located in the Houston area, a decision that had a profound effect on my life. Because the space center was in Houston, my parents moved down there after they got married, and I was born there and grew up there. I made many friends down there, people I still consider friends some 40-50 years later.

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My September 11 Story

Originally posted to my website in 2002

With the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaching, I’ve decided to post my 9/11 story to my blog. Compared to others, my story of September 11 is nothing. I was not there; I was home in Detroit. I had no family members or friends directly involved [I did have a friend report on the aftermath, though], although my brother-in-law is a Federal employee.

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Are you ready for some football?

It’s a Saturday in September, so that means it’s time for college football. If one were so inclined, he or she could spend over 12 hours watching college football, from high noon to midnight or even beyond. Today, I have seen parts of the UCLA-Nebraska game and the Alabama-Texas A&M game, and I’ve seen all of the Michigan State-Youngstown State game, a game won handily by the Spartans, 55-17. And I know I’m not alone in that regard.

Then there’s tomorrow, and NFL Red Zone awaits.


Hello world!

Welcome to my revamped website. I’ve decided to get with the times and redo my website as a blog. I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting yet; I’ll figure that out as I go along.

Much of the information that was on my old homepage can be found on my About page. Links are on the right side of the page, lower down than they used to be. A link to my old homepage, with the links that may or may not migrate over here, is in the menu at the top of each page.