Category Archives: News and Politics

Water Swallows All, Eventually

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

This is a bit of a “prequel” of sorts.  These photos come from my Brother-in-law, Lance Jones, who went in with my dad the Thursday (I think, these dates are getting fuzzy) after the rains that filled Toledo Bend came through.  As you look at these photos I want to try to put you into the right mind or mood, and I want you to empathize with the person, my father, as he bore witness to his house taking on more water than it has ever taken in a flood.  You are not doing it for my dad, though.  You are doing it for the now thousands of people from Burr Ferry, Louisiana to Merryville, Louisiana, and Deweyville, Texas and all the other little towns between.  Even I10, a major avenue of commerce, has been shut down because of the flooding.  Maybe with this wide array of damage and interruption of day-to-day living and business operations, the Sabine River Authority may have to look into their policies and consider some changes.

Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting in a boat, and you are floating up to your house, and you see all you have worked for slowly being swallowed by water…

And click images to make them larger and more detailed.

This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That's my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone's dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.
This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That’s my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone’s dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.  The flood line is marked where the debris suddenly stops. 

Continue reading Water Swallows All, Eventually

As The Flood Recedes

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

It’s been about a week since we had a near record setting amount of rain fall on our region.  The rain came from the west and it was predicted a good bit ahead of time.  It was predicted that the amount of rain would be great below Toledo Bend (Not a great effect on flooding in my community), over Toledo Bend proper (A threat on my community), and north/west of Toledo Bend, where streams receiving this water would feed the lake, making that part of the storm the largest threat).  As The Sabine River Authority stood back and waited until it was too late, we were totally unaware of what was coming.  I have shared with you a couple of articles already that explore this event, and this new article is more of the same.

Before I delve into the photoblog that caused a small surge in traffic for Just Chill Here, which my sister so nicely said “I sure hope they don’t click on your other stuff with that potty mouth!” in a very judgmental way, I want to share a set of rumors I have picked up that compliment the answer to a question that we may never know:

Why did the Sabine River Authority wait until the water was upon us to lower the lake?

These rumors are just things I have heard or read, but interesting to ponder regardless:

  • They have to keep the lake levels high so the bald eagle population has a pristine habitat.
  • They had to keep the levels high to ensure that several species of rare trees on the lake would stay healthy.
  • They had to keep the waters high for a big bass tournament that was either going on, or coming up, or one that had just passed.  (I am not sure!)
  • They can’t activate the flood gates unless the lake is a certain height, and it didn’t reach that height until it was too late.
  • The Sabine River Authority is trying to force people out of their homes and land so they can continue to flood the region as they please.

I can’t substantiate any of these rumors, but I figured I would share with you some of the things I overheard while running into folks in recovery mode.

For all of you getting back into your homes, take plenty of water and try to be safe.  It’s hot, it’s muggy, and it’s ideal conditions for bad things to happen.

Let’s get back to our story…

Remember, you can click the images to get the big, prettier versions.

This little guy is a Timber/Branded/Canebreak Rattlesnake. As a kid I would walk these woods and I would catch snakes and play with them. Yeah, I was that kid. I had no general fear of animals except for maybe my grandfather's old bulls that liked to chase us around all the time. Anyhow, in all of my days I've never ran into one of these, at least, I can't remember having done so. My wife, Brandi, was with me and she spotted him. She kind of freaked out and wanted me to kill him. I went with my own choice to get out and get up close and personal. I have a full frame shot of him, but I like this close up shot because it really shows how pretty he is. Or she. We don't have to be sexist or something.
This little guy is a Timber/Branded/Canebreak Rattlesnake. As a kid I would walk these woods and catch snakes and play with them. Yeah, I was that kid. I had no general fear of animals except for maybe my grandfather’s old bulls that liked to chase us around. In all of my days I’ve never ran into one of these, at least, I can’t remember having done so. My wife, Brandi, was with me and she spotted him. She kind of freaked out and wanted me to kill him. I went with my own choice to get out and get up close and personal. I have a full frame shot of him, but I like this close up shot because it really shows how pretty he is. Or she. We don’t have to be sexist or something.  Oh, and one other thing – if you are returning to your flooded property, keep an eye out for these.

Continue reading As The Flood Recedes

A Community In Turmoil?

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

The waters are still high and now Evans, Louisiana is dealing with it’s record flooding.  Merryville, Louisiana is getting it as well and towns south of here, such as Deweyville are also going to experience them.  The governor is taking flight over the affected area and many people are trying to figure out their next steps.  I spoke with some of my uncles, aunts, cousins and friends and they are lost, but they are not stopping.  People are helping out at what I believe to be a record rate of participation.  In fact, the help has seemingly outpaced the need in some aspects as the hubs of assistance in Evans and Burr Ferry are practically begging for people to come get clothes and food.  They need some things like underwear and other necessities, but I visited the Evans Youth Center yesterday and they looked rather flush with supplies.  It was a good sight to see.

This article’s title is “A Community In Turmoil?” because the interrogative meaning really lends to the idea – is the community truly in turmoil, or have we come together so tightly, that we have already begun to bounce back?

The hard work is not here yet, but at this rate, we should be able to transition strongly into revival.

As always, click images to get the bigger, more pretty versions.

Me and my nephew, Bowen, went back into the neighborhood to see how far the water had receded. This is the view of Lynn Nash Road. Muddy and completely submerged. The water is swift and dangerous and falling as the Sabine River Authority steadily lowers the flood gates. The water in this photo is still at a record height.
Me and my nephew, Bowen, went back into the neighborhood to see how far the water had receded. This is the view of Lynn Nash Road. Muddy and completely submerged. The water is swift and dangerous and falling as the Sabine River Authority steadily lowers the flood gates. The water in this photo is still at a record height.

Continue reading A Community In Turmoil?

Washing Away My Childhood

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

These last few days have been mired in disappointment and anger as my hometown has experienced the worst flooding it has ever received.  Part of this event involved driving a boat up to my parent’s house, the home that my father built himself and completed when I was born.  This house is 34 years old and my family and friends have built many memories running around the land my parents essentially transformed from a swamp to a high patch of dry land that was the envy of many people.

Today I saw that die.  Today I saw a piece of my dad go.  I saw my mother shattered.  My sister stayed strong and it was all I could do to console my father as he reassured me that “everything is gone, it’s all gone.”  The emotion from seeing this was only strengthened when my mother echoed the very same sentiment.  My parents got their clothes and managed to save a few of their vehicles, two boats, and some ATVs.  They got a few suits of clothes and my dad’s guns.  All of the pictures and sentimental objects were tossed on the bed because that worked in the flood of 1999, where the water was into my childhood home up to around 10-12 inches.

Today we learned that this trick was ineffective.  My parents made it out with more than many of those friends and families through Burr Ferry and Evans.  Some people were left with the clothes on their back and a bank account.  Some of them don’t have a place to stay, so they are getting “discounts” at hotels for the night.  This flood has been exponentially more shattering for my hometown than any previous event.  Previous floods, hurricanes, tornadoes – everything.

Below is a photo album that I have created to share with Facebook.  I chose to use my own web page because I am more comfortable sharing my thoughts with each image, and it gives me a chance to really talk about each photo my way.

The photos you are about to see are more than just photographs.  They are a marker of my life.  I am approaching middle age and my parents, who are in the dawn of their (forced) retirement, have essentially been dealt a terrible blow.  One that has essentially shaken their foundation.

These photos are the evidence of my history coming to a shuddering close.  There are no photos anymore.  There are no birthday cards my mom saved and no scrapbooks.  There are no old baby clothes and baby shoes.  There are no wall photos and no more mounted deer heads celebrating my father’s accomplishments as a hunter, nor is there an 11 lbs bass mounted on the wall.

What do we have now?

Click the images for high res versions that look better.

flood march 2016 157
This little guy, or should I say, big guy, was about 15 feet up in a tree and he looked miserable. We wanted to get him down, but if you know anything about wild raccoon, they are a little ornery. By a little ornery, I mean they will try to murder you, starting with your face. My cousin, Harvey, said “Yeah, we could get him, but he would probably be ungrateful.” I hope he makes it. He was asleep. This was taken while we were returning to the boat trailer on what we river rats called the Wing Road.

 

Continue reading Washing Away My Childhood

What’s Trending Now? January 7, 2015

  • Delta Gamma, the largest sorority in North America with more than 230,000 members upped the bar with their recruitment video.  It has a catchy song and has nice production and filming.  Drones, yachts, city views, the whole video is insane and I want to join this sorority now.  Oh wait, I’m a dude.  The video approaches MTV quality music video quality.
  • The armed standoff is still going on at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  Apparently it’s totally okay to overthrow federal buildings and to threaten the U.S. Government.  But some people look at the situation as the people taking their land back from the government.
  • Apparently #wastehistime2016 is trending.  What is that?  Well…

finally allow him to take you on a date then after have him drop you off at your other man’s house

Tell him you’re not looking for anything serious. Then get in a relationship the next week with someone else.

Hang out with him all day and then when you get home tweet, “damn today was hella boring” #WasteHisTime2016

So yeah, apparently it’s just women devising ways to hurt men’s feelings or something.  Not the most amusing things I’ve read.

Continue reading What’s Trending Now? January 7, 2015

The Power of an F-Bomb

This just happened on a news channel in Alaska…

Now, there was a strong message here to be relayed to the viewers of KTVA.  The push for legalized marijuana is spreading, and this reporter owns, or is partners with, a medical marijuana dispensary or something like that.  Regardless, Alaska will be voting on easier access to marijuana and this reporter, being involved in the business of THE DEVIL’S GRASS, had to resign.  Her message was powerful.

Continue reading The Power of an F-Bomb

Well That Took Too Long

Well, I am back.  Suddenlink may have failed us, but tomorrow I shall post last week’s podcast.  Apparently, on Friday we were hit by one hell of a thunderstorm while I was at school.  My modem and router were both fried, and I spent all weekend trying to figure that out.  By Sunday evening I was online with my new modem router from NetGear.

There are some major kinks though, and I wonder if the lightning managed to do some damage to the lines.  My 15 mbps connection is running at 3 mbps and I am getting slammed with disconnect after disconnect on Heroes of the Storm and Ventrilo (What we use as voice communication while gaming).  I have also notice my wifi speeds on our phones and the iPad are noticeably slower.  In fact, at times, we aren’t able to even get a signal.  I don’t know if these problems stem from the new hardware or if the lines are damaged.

With that being said, I wanted to share with you guys some articles I have on the way…

  1. Another long analysis of a System of a Down album, this time I will tackle Toxicity.  No, I will not do “Steal this Album”.
  2. Returning to the original music review format I started.
  3. Some more movie reviews.
  4. A more in depth podcast format (for the actual article).
  5. A papercraft project
  6. Nine Inch Nails (BIG PROJECT)

That’s about it.

I Learned Something Neat Last Night

Rottenecards_CommonCore3Last night, my good homeboy Mike introduced me to his frustration over the new common core math style that has ran the conservative gauntlet of criticism since the Common Core State Standards suddenly became AGGHH! EVIL! When the POTUS signed his name to it.  As much as it pains me to do so, I will share this link to show you what I am talking about.  Yes, THAT Tea Party.  Why?  Because the only criticism you are going to find of this new math is from foaming at the mouth, Barack Obama is a stinking commie Muslim non citizen, conservative right media outlets.

Anyhow, we argued, because we argue.  We have good times arguing and if you know me, I love a good debate.  Anyhow, this is not about the frustrations of change and the challenges of wizard math.  This is about a type of multiplication that I was introduced to amidst the arguing.  It’s called lattice multiplication, and boy is it interesting.  Well, as interesting as math generally gets.

I learned this last night and wow, it is hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, well, it’s actually kind of fun.  Now, would I ever work out a problem like this when I need to?  Perhaps not.  However, it’s a different way of finding a solution to a problem.  I showed some of my students this style of multiplication and they would have none of this alternative thinking, which is indicative of the problem that those supporting the CCSS are cramming down teacher’s throats:  Our students are not taking enough chances with their education, limiting the quality of enhancing their problem solving skills.  Lattice multiplication terrified my students.  Hell, it terrified me, but guess what?  One student liked it.  That means introducing new concepts may be in fact the right way to teach math.  Maybe we should be offering different routes to solve a problem.  Hopefully that translates well into the real world, and the Common Core ends up being a great idea, as opposed to a terrible idea.

 

 

Sometimes Religious Hatred is the Worst Hatred

If you’re allergic to stupidity, or family arguments that end in needless violence bothers you, it may be a good idea to pass on this video.  However, if you want to see a video that shows how many homosexuals are treated by their family members behind closed doors, and how these family members cling blindly to archaic beliefs to defend their own bigotry.

Continue reading Sometimes Religious Hatred is the Worst Hatred

People Always Try to Ruin Great Things

Yes, that is Captain Picard or Professor X, however you prefer him, taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that is currently sweeping the Internet and social media.  As you notice, he opted out of the ice and wrote a check.  He likely wrote that check to the ALS Association, which is likely collecting some major money from this viral activity that is being enjoyed by the super elite members of our society and by the common folk.  As this article progresses, I will link to you some Ice Bucket challenges, but ultimately, this is a rant about the fact that I found someone who thinks the challenge is essentially a bad idea because he can’t take his Jesus slippers off to make the world a better place – all because he fails at biology.

I would like to introduce you to Nathanael King’s blog which is one of those Super Christian blogs.  I wondered how long it would take before the idiots would speak out against the ice bucket fiasco, apparently it didn’t take very long at all.  I will give you a little background on this guy in just a moment, but look who did the ice bucket challenge…

Continue reading People Always Try to Ruin Great Things