Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
As part of Fiesta celebrating the victory over Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) wreath laying ceremony honors the dead at the Alamo and San Jacinto. The DRT are the only ones allowed to hold ceremonies at the Alamo. To be a member they must trace their family back to the war for Texas Independence from Mexico. The Texas legislature granted the DRT complete control of the Alamo, and it's history, so long as no state dollars were used in it's maintenance or operation. This gives them control over a National Park, a unique relationship. There are a number of different chapters of the DRT. Perhaps there is a status difference among the different chapters. Men are involved as Sons of the Republic of Texas, and in an organization known as the Texas Cavaliers who run the River Walk Parade. These men are likely the husbands and fathers of DRT members, but they have no formal authority at the Alamo.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Came across this very large model of the Battleship South Dakota. The South Dakota became a class of four fast battleships replacing the South Carolina class. World War II in the Pacific was the end of the era for battleships with huge guns. They were replaced by aircraft carriers as the major Naval ships. The State of South Dakota was proud to have a major capital ship named for it, and there is an outline of it in a park in Sioux Falls along with a gun barrel and a propeller from the ship. For a brief history of the South Dakota see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Dakota_class_battleship_(1939)#South_Dakota
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The aircraft carrier Lexington is now a museum permanently anchored in Corpus Christi. This is a ship with a history of many major pacific island battles in WW II, and then later as a training ship for navy fliers. It spanned the history of aviation from the biplane, used mostly as trainers, to the modern jet era. In the 1960s it's decks were rebuilt in the contemporary pattern of an angled landing deck so both take offs and landings can happen at the same time. As a museum the Lexington stands as a monument to war, but as a ship it is impressive in it's massive complexity. On the one hand it was capable of dealing death on a large scale, but on the other is a thing of beauty. It is a bit like an auto accident. It is horrifying, but we just can't help but look and be fascinated.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Mama Marjorie's is a good Mexican restaurant with excellent food at a good price. Customers order from a cashier just like many fast food restaurants, but the food does not taste like fast food. No corners have been cut to cheapen the quality. Trays are carried to booths or brightly painted tables. Corn chips and at least three kinds of salsa are available to pick up on the way to the tables.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Last weekend we were in Corpus Christi where we saw a replica of Christopher Columbus's ship Nina. It had been built decades ago, and was showing signs of aging with a few places where wood rot had taken its toll. My impression is that the sailors on the first voyages to the new world were hearty soles. Below decks were filled with cargo, such as water, beer, wine, and farm animals like horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. There was little room below decks for anyone to sleep, so they slept on deck which was often awash in waves. Cooking was done in a fire box on the foredeck, and hot meals were only possible in reasonably calm weather. Hard conditions coupled with fear of the unknown, leaky small boats, and an endless ocean must have been terrifying. Many of the private yachts tied up at Corpus Christi were much larger than the Nina, and I'm not sure I would like to cross an ocean in them either.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Barney Smith, a local San Antonio artist, had an inspiration that he could do better painting and decorating toilet seat lids than painting on canvas. Years ago he began displaying his toilet seats in his garage by appointment only. Today, at age 83, he is still hard at work creating new art for his collection which had now grown to over one thousand toilet seats and lids. He likes working with the lids most because that gives him more area for his art. In our hours at his "museum" we couldn't take in all the seats, but here is a small sampling. Perhaps his art could be called "post modern." Barney Smith is a wonderful, personable character.