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Showing posts from 2015

An unexpected Christmas gift

I head down below the tree line and into the deeper snow. I’m not really a snow type person, loving the sunshine of the Gulf Coast of Texas, but up here the wind keeps it to a minimum. The old stone-strewn trail is barely visible and the snowshoe rabbit tracks are the only indication that anything can live in this wasteland.
It was decided last night that seeing I have the lowest position, I would be the one to find a Christmas tree. I chuckle to myself wondering if this country has anything resembling a real “Christmas” type tree. My heavy coat soon becomes almost too hot and I unzip it to let some sub-zero dry air inside. To sweat out here could be fatal, or so I have been warned.
It’s my first Christmas away from my home town and my forgiving family. I chuckle again looking at my gloved hands. 3 years ago, no one at home would believe that the town hellion would be so far from his home town. 3 years ago, most everyone thought I would be in prison.
“I need to find a Christmas tr…

Please show me a real hero

When my son was about 16 he put up a poster of Che Guevara on his bedroom wall. Being a cold warrior who served 4 years in the Strategic Air Command, I was naturally alarmed, but hid it to inquire about his reason for this objectionable show of admiration.
“Che was cool!” was his retort and he punched the stapler in the bottom left corner to finish the installation. I was careful to inquire how much he knew about the man and of course it was very little and honestly, he thought the guy simply looked cool with his wavy black hair.
I gave him a piece of advice I picked up somewhere and it has been a mantra of mine for years. “Be careful who you make into a hero.” In wartime, the difference between a hero and a coward is one solitary action and it may swap the very next day. On top of that, hero status can change drastically.
Take the modern day hero Ronald Reagan for instance. Reagan is often cited as an example of what a real president should be, but I well remember back 30 years ago,…

Goodbye Concealed Handgun Permit

Come January 1st, anyone with a concealed handgun permit can walk down the street with the holstered weapon in plain sight. This sounds like the Wild West, right? Visions of wild-eyed Tea party radicals swaggering around daring anyone to challenge them is one image that some may conjure up. Another is a mom grabbing her child up by the arm and running from the store because “that man has a gun, mommy”.
I will share my thoughts on the first scenario. It’s scary and I hope I don’t see that fellar.No one wants to see someone walking around with a gun on their hip acting like an ego starving lunatic. I know a whole slew of people who legally carry and I don’t think any of us plan on carrying any differently that we are right now.
Over many years I have repeated that no time in my history have I seen a time of turmoil to match the 1960’s… until now. In case you are unsure of what I am referring to, I’ll point it out in easy to understand terms and I am not inferring you are incapable of…

Geocachers, The New Outdoorsmen

When I was a kid living in Michigan, my dad always had a copy of Herter’s catalog.Inside it was every kind of outdoor gear you can imagine.If you fished, there was every kind of lure made and components to build your own.I looked at as much as I looked at the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

By the way, as a young farm boy, the Sears catalog was of special interest due to the fact that it had grown women posing in under clothes, but it also had a huge Christmas section at the end of the year.I can’t really recall which was more interesting, but I digress.
My dad was in my eyes a true hunter who was woods savvy.I saw him shoot a flying crow with a .22 rifle one time and he was at home when in the woods.He never got lost and would often trick my brothers and I by quizzing us about where we were or what we were looking at.I’ve written about this before, so I will not weary you by repeating.
Suffice it to say, my whole family grew up doing outdoorsy things most people only see on TV or in …

Muslim Eye Opener

Here is a perspective by Dr. Peter Hammond.He was born in Capetown in 1960, grew up in Rhodesia and converted to Christianity.Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond's book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam:
The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat:
Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult.In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life.
Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components.The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.
Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges.When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well..
Here's how it works:
As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to other citize…

It’s time to call it like it is

I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet the last two and a half months as I attended almost ten weeks of the Baytown Citizen’s Police Academy. One reason for this is my friend Natalie Whatley covered it a few years back. Another reason is I wanted to experience the entire class before I wrote about it.
I am by nature a bit rebellious and a loner when it comes to joining or endorsing anything. I am a classic skeptic and make no apologies about what I have observed. Back a number of years ago when I headed up Baytown Concerned Citizens, I was criticized for writing in my column that we needed to continuously watch our police department and hold them accountable. My opinion hasn’t changed in that regard.
The police department is ran in a very military manner and I am not only a Veteran, but also a student of military history. Much of what I learned in this citizen’s police academy, I already knew because I read a lot and have studied martial arts and awareness for many years. I don’t get…

What is your geo-name again?

What is your geo-name again? By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association
My geocaching handle is BaytownBert.It’s confusingly cryptic in that my name is Bert and I live in Baytown, Texas.Believe it or not one time someone asked me where I lived after we exchanged geo-handles.To save space on the logbooks, I usually just put BB and the date.
Over the years I’ve observed some really cool names, like Skunkonthefog, FluxVector, and Bigguy In Texas.I’ve also heard some astoundingly long, bizarre and undecipherable caching names that left me scratching my head in amazement.It usually goes something like this: “Hi, I’m BaytownBert.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m 382764956thb938rt8743monkeylips-from_Toledo_Texas and I am a newbie to the game.”I usually refrain from guffawing, but on occasion giggle a little.My next question is how they plan to sign the log on a nano, but again stop myself.
A geocaching name should be considered not only important, but …

What is more fun than geocaching?

What is more fun than geocaching?
By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association
“When geocaching is no longer fun, go home folks.”If you have attended one of my geocaching 101 classes, you have heard me give that advice.I know what I am talking about here, because in this wonderful game, you will reach this state of mind, guaranteed.It can happen to us at the first cache too.Often, we struggle on and possibly get our mojo back, but many times, something will happen that makes us leave the game and head to the house.
In Texas I am fairly well known for having fun playing this game.I have a high quality prosthetic Bubba set of dentures and a couple different wigs I like to wear at events and I have been known to take an occasional selfie and post it in a log also.
My Bubba teeth had to be adjusted by my dentist last year when I accidentally got my front teeth knocked out after hiding a high terrain geocache in a park near my home in Baytown.I…

What happened to geocaching events?

What happened to geocaching events?
By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association
I geocached totally solo for a long time before I attended my first event. The reason was I was introduced to the game at a time when caches were few and far apart.USMorrows and I worked in the same Chemical Plant, he in the Lab and me in a process unit.I thought the game would be something my Bride and I could do together, but alas she couldn’t comprehend the idea of looking for something in the woods.
I found a few caches in 2003 & 2004 and then stopped caching.I was aware of the game, but we pursued other common interests.In 2009 we experienced a family tragedy and I began to hike miles and miles to try and keep my sanity.I was on a 16 mile hike in Brazos Bend SP in August and staggering as I made it to my vehicle.I then had an epiphany.
I could be geocaching instead of just hiking!I logged into and sure enough, I was still BaytownBert.Boy, the g…

Travel bugs and geocoins

Travel bugs and geocoins This is a primer on proper handling of trackable tags, coins, etc. By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association
Please bear with me while I lay a little groundwork on this subject.Surely if you have played this game very long, you know all or most everything there is to know about trackables, but following the principle that no matter how much you think you know, we don’t always do the right thing and we can always learn more.
Trackables have a unique code on them and are logged on to track their travels.Someone bought the trackable and paid anywhere from $4 to $50 or more for it (in some cases) and having one in our possession necessitates we move it.
Let’s start at the beginning.You’ve bought a trackable, or someone gave you an unactivated trackable and you want to activate it.You do this by going to and under PLAY at the top of the menu, you select FIND TRACKABLES.Looking at the pa…

So you want to hide a geocache

So you want to hide a geocache By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association
I think it is safe to say that after you’ve found a few geocaches you decide it would be awesome to hide one and then watch the thousands of people look for your evil hide.Of course it will be evil – possibly the most evil geocache ever!So you grab a thin taco soup plastic container, wrap some expensive camo duct tape you bought for this purpose and bury it under a pile of leaves by a rose bush in front of a super busy business.
You decide it will be a real challenge because the place is open 24 hours a day, so you give it a difficulty rating of 4 and a terrain of 3.5 because the bushes have demonic thorns.Figuring out what all is required on the submission page is a hassle, so you leave anything nonessential off and presto, it publishes 2 days later.
However, the day after you hid it the maintenance crews half-destroy your flimsy container and then comes a frog-st…