Since May 28, 2008
Interests: Politics, photography, computers, classic movies, history, reading, painting.
Love animals- especially cats, active in helping to preserve our native Texas wildlife on the endangered list-especially the Texas horned lizard, the Texas Ocelot, the Texas tortoise, the Texas box turtle, and the whooping crane.
American by birth, Texan by God's Grace
The Battle of Gonzales was the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution.
In 1831, Mexican authorities gave the settlers of Gonzales a small cannon to help protect them from frequent Comanche raids. Over the next four years, the political situation in Mexico deteriorated, and in 1835 several states revolted. As the unrest spread, Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, the commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, felt it unwise to leave the residents of Gonzales a weapon and requested the return of the cannon.
When the initial request was refused, Ugartechea sent 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. The soldiers neared Gonzales on September 29, but the colonists used a variety of excuses to keep them from the town, while secretly sending messengers to request assistance from nearby communities. Within two days, up to 140 Texans gathered in Gonzales, all determined not to give up the cannon. On October 1, settlers voted to fight. With a battle cry of; 'Come and take it!' and a 'come and take it flag', whipped up by the local ladies, they approached the Mexican camp in the early hours of October 2nd. Mexican soldiers opened fire, but after several hours of desultory firing, the Mexican soldiers withdrew.
Remember the Alamo
Thirteen days to glory
When Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, the northern province of Texas was sparsely populated and remote from Mexico City. To encourage settlement, the government invited Americans to settle. Lead by Stephen Austin, many took the offer. By 1835 there were some 30,000 former Americans living in Texas, and signs of rebellion against the tyrannical central government of Mexico. Concerned, the central government of Mexico tried to bring Texas under direct rule from Mexico City and halt immigration from the United States. Rather then submit, the colonists revolted and declared independence.
The Mexican government, determined to restore order sent General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and his soldiers north to San Antonio and the Alamo. Santa Anna with nearly 1,800 Mexican troops far outnumbered the band of 188 men who had retreated into the Alamo. The army reached San Antonio on 23 February 1836. Though vastly outnumbered, the Alamos 188 defenderscommanded by William Barret Travis, and including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and other brave and adventuresome men held out courageously for 13 days before the Mexican invaders finally overpowered them. Santa Anna ordered that there be no quarter and no mercy. Those defenders taken alive were killed outside the mission and all the defenders bodies were burned.
Although there were only 188 Texans defending the Alamo, Santa Anna lost an estimated 600 soldiers in the siege and attack.
After the Alamo he sent his soldiers to attack Colonel James Fannin's camp at Goliad and massacred its 342 defenders.
On 21 April 1836, 46 days after the Alamo fell, General Sam Houston lead 783 men against Santa Annas army of 1,500. Striking while the army rested, with a battle cry of :'Remember the Alamo!, and 'Remember Goliad!, the Texans routed the enemy and captured Santa Anna. The Battle of San Jacinto resulted in Texas independence.
The brave men of the Alamo defended it against over whelming odds in 1836, and the delay allowed promulgation of independence, formation of a revolutionary government, drafting of a constitution and buying Texans time to organize themselves into an effective fighting force.
People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.
The Alamo was damaged in the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. It was repaired by the U.S. Army in 1850. The building was bought by the state of Texas in 1905. The Alamo was later given to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who maintain the Alamo as a public monument and a shrine to the heroes of the Battle of the Alamo.
If youve never been into the Alamo, its cold and deathly quiet. There are no cameras or noisy visitors. What conversation you hear is spoken in whispers. Many visitors say you can feel the ghostly figures of the brave men who fought at the Alamo. Its a humbling experience to stand there on that hallowed ground knowing those brave men chose death over tyranny.
John Wayne's 'The Alamo'- main title, Dimitri Tiompkin
John Wayne's valentine to Texas; The Alamo in 8.5 minutes with main title by Dimitri Tiompkin
'Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word'- Author John Steinbeck.
'Texas is neither southern nor western. Texas is Texas' - Senator William Blakley
'Govern wisely, and as little as possible'- Sam Houston
'When William Barrett Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren't your average everyday men. Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that's what it means today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there's no mountain that we can't climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and God vacations in Texas. It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we're Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something- so If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I'm talking about, this ain't for you. But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you're the reason I wrote this, and this is for you'.- Bum Phillips (famous Texas football coach) on what it means to be a Texan
'Here is what we know after more than a decade of Republican rule: Texas works. Even The New York Times let it slip into its pages that Texas is the future'- Governor Rick Perry
At 268,601 square miles, Texas is the largest of the contiguous states. Texas is as large as Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and all of New England combined; Connecticut and Rhode Island could almost fit inside Brewster county, the state's largest county. Texas is not one big desert filled with cowboys, but forests, lakes, rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, mountains- and large, dynamic cities. Texas has many different cultures and lifestyles. Indeed, as the Texas website says; 'It's like a whole other country'.
>What does 268,601 square miles look like?
The stunning ecological diversity of the state
Texas Hill Country
Texas Piney Woods
The Texas coast is like no other. Stretching about 367 miles as the crow flies along a gentle arc that makes up the northwestern edge of the Gulf of Mexico, there are actually over 3,300 miles of shoreline along its islands, bays and river mouths.
Most older Texans know his fierce appearance is all for show just to scare off predators. As children they used to catch and play with the lizards, for he is a gentle little creature who never bites and will go to sleep in your hand if you roll him over and rub his tummy.
This docile little creature is the state reptile of Texas and, as the "horned frog", is the mascot of Texas Christian University.
The Texas horned lizard is the largest of the approximately 14 species of horned lizards in the western United States and Mexico. They can reach a length of 4-6 inches.
The lizards colors camouflage it against predators, and it can also puff itself up and protrude its many small body thorns making it difficult to swallow.
The Texas horned lizard also has the ability to squirt a stream of blood from its eyes for up to 5 feet. Although this blood is harmless, it not only frightens and confuses predators, but has a bad taste when predators such as wolves and coyotes try to eat it.
According to National Geographic, this is one of the most unique creatures on the face of the earth. No other possesses this bizarre defense mechanism.
There has been a serious decline in the number of the lizards in recent years and it is illegal to take, possess, transport or sell them without a special permit. The decline is thought to be the result of overuse of pesticides and invading fire ants which destroy the harvester ants the lizards feed on.
This beautiful, shy and reclusive little cat once ranged as far east as Arkansas and Louisiana, throughout Texas and in Mexico. Today ocelots are currently found only in extreme southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. The remnant U.S. ocelot population in south Texas has declined from 80-120 individuals in 1995 to less than 50 in recent years, with about half of ocelot deaths resulting from being hit by automobiles. Most surviving Texas ocelots are in the shrub lands remaining at or near the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge near Brownsville, where only 30-35 animals remain.
The Ocelot also usually gives birth to only one kitten although litters of two or three kittens also occur, but are not common. The small litter size and relative infrequency of breeding make the ocelot particularly vulnerable to extinction.
The ocelot is similar in appearance to a domestic cat although somewhat larger. The ocelot ranges from 27 to 39 inches in length, plus 10 to 18 inches in tail length, and typically weighs 18 to 40 pounds.
Its fur resembles that of a clouded leopard or jaguar and was once regarded as very valuable. As a result, hundreds of thousands of ocelots were once killed for their fur. Hunting and loss of habitat have reduced these beautiful little cat's numbers to near extinction in North America.
What can we do to save this beautiful little cat from extinction?
Although a turtle, the Box Turtle is most often found far from a body of water, but is especially active after a rain.
Most of us Texans used to catch and play with these docile little creatures when we were kids, but when was the last time you saw a Texas box turtle or a Texas tortoise? They used to be found everywhere it seems-backyards, ranches, along roadways but now they are now getting hard to find. Sadly, they are rapidly going the way of our beloved horned lizard- headed eventually for extinction unless we help them.
These animals are a unique tie to a period of Earth's history all but lost in the living world. Turtles are some of the oldest reptilian species on the earth, virtually unchanged in in 200 million years or more. These slow moving, toothless, egg-laying creatures date back to the dinosaurs, and still retain traits they used to survive then.
Their low reproductive rate, exploitation by pet suppliers, loss of habitation and overuse of pesticides and other things have lead to a severe drop in population of these creatures. They have been put on a threatened list, affording them protection from being taken, possessed, transported, exported, sold, or offered for sale.
Please do what you can to help save our Texas treasures.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife request reports of any sightings:
Reaching a height of 5 feet with a wingspread of 7 1/2 feet, it is one of the most majestic, magnificent and rare creatures on earth.
Sadly, primarily through hunting and loss of habitat, the population of the magnificent whooping crane has gone from an estimated 10,000+ birds before the settling of Europeans on the continent to 1,300-1,400 birds by 1870- and down to 15 adults by 1938
However; thanks to conservation efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuse (Tx) and a few others throughout the U.S, there are now an estimated 437 birds in the wild and more than 165 in captivity.
The tallest bird in North America, the whooping crane breeds in the wetlands of Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada. Here the cranes perform elaborate running, leaping, wing-flapping dances where mates are chosen for life. Both male and female share nesting duties. Frequently only one chick survives. Although the chick can leave the nest while still quite young, it is always protected and fed by its parents. Chicks are rust-colored when they hatch. At about four months, chick's feathers begin turning white. By the end of their first migration, they are brown and white, and as they enter their first spring, their plumage is white with black wing tips.
When summer ends, these migratory birds set out for the Gulf Coast of Texas, where they winter in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
Although whooping cranes mate for life, they will accept a new mate if one dies.
These birds are very long-lived. They can live up to 24 years in the wild.
The cranes live in family groups made up of the parents and 1 or 2 offspring.
Their diet consists of blue crabs, clams, frogs, minnows, rodents, and berries.
Get involved. Help these magnificent creatures survive:.
Whooping Crane Watch
Click here for the fantastic, moving website memorial created by a survivor of 9/11, Steve Golding of New York City. It is the most viewed of all 9/11 memorials. It is now in the Smithsonian Museum. Music by Enya.
Or Try this one
There are many sites that carry this most famous of the 9/11 memorials, the Steve Golding memorial. After so many years some do not work. If neither site works, look up 'America attacked 9/11." It is well worth your time. It should be required viewing for every American. Be prepared for a good cry, though.
The second site carries a 'message' and a description of 'that day' in his own words from the creator of the website, Steve Golding, and reference to the Pentagon attack. Be sure to see them. Very powerful.
Steve, may God rest his soul, has since died from an injury sustained on 9/11. God bless you, Steve- and thank you for leaving us this wonderful and moving memorial to the heroes of 9/11.
Look kindly on the innocent Americans who lost their lives on 9/11 and all the departed veterans who gave their lives in the service of their country. Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of Your Son that they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom forever.
We humbly ask Your protection for all our men and women in military service. Give them unflinching courage to defend with honor, dignity, and devotion the rights of all who are imperiled by injustice and evil.
Thank You for our veterans, for their willingness to risk all so that our nation might dwell in peace and safety. May they find the honor and recognition they truly deserve.
Cats, like butterflies, need no excuse. - Heinlein
God made the cat to give man the pleasure of stroking a tiger. François-Joseph Mery
The smallest feline is a masterpiece. - Leonardo Da Vinci
A loving cat can mend a wounded heart. - Anonymous
'No Heaven will not ever Heaven be; Unless my cats are there to welcome me'.- Epitaph on an ancient tombstone in England
< One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home.- Pam Brown
What greater gift than the love of a cat? - Charles Dickens
Time spent with cats is never wasted. ~ Colette
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. - Albert Schweitzer
It always gives me a shiver when I see a cat seeing what I cant see. ~ Eleanor Farjeon
Of all Gods creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat. - Mark Twain Notebook, 1894
The cat, it is well to remember, remains the friend of man because it pleases him to do so and not because he must. Carl Van Vechten
To respect the cat is the beginning of the Aesthetic sense. Erasmus Darwin
For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat. - Anon
I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul. - Jean Cocteau
There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat. - Tay Hohoff
With the qualities of cleanliness, affection, patience, dignity, and courage that cats have, how many of us, I ask you, would be capable of becoming cats? - Fernand Mery
Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~ Robertson Davies
There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats- unknown
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. - Winston Churchill
There is the little matter of disposal of droppings in which the cat is far ahead of its rivals. The dog is somehow thrilled by what he or any of his friends have produced, hates to leave it, adores smelling it, and sometimes eats it...The cat covers it up if he can... - Paul Gallico
Beware of people who dislike cats. - Irish Proverb
Our sweet Katy
'Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!' - Theophile Gautier (on cats)
Our other owners:
Tommy, barn cat- excellent mouser
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
'I Want To Know What Love Is'
'Just The Way You Look Tonight'
''Somewhere In Time''
'If I Could Reach You'
'The Book Of Love
'The Shawshank Redemption' (the ultimate 'feel good' movie- and one of the highest rated)'
'Somewhere In Time'
'It's A Wonderful Life
'A Streetcar Named Desire'
'The Godfather' (original)