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Still Staying The Course—NeilAquino.Com Will Be Up And Running In July


While I’ve not made a new post on the blog of late, I’m still here.

I am working on my new project that will be called NeilAquino.com. I plan to have it up and running next month. I’ll be offering more details about the project soon here on Texas Liberal. I will be having a new blog at my new site.

It has been nice to take a break from blogging over the past few months. It is good to take a break from something you have been doing for a long time and thinking about new ways to move ahead.

Thanks to folks who have been checking the blog from-to-time to see if I’m still around.

Above is a picture of a ship that I took while in Galveston recently.

Just like this ship in the picture, I am staying the course. I hope you are doing the same.

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The New Counterculture


This VW Van I saw in Galveston a few days ago was driven by folks who have supported the last three national Republican tickets.

I guess this is the new counterculture as I don’t suppose these are the type of folks who would have driven such a van to Woodstock.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Taking It Easy—I’m Certain The Obama Second Term Will Be Nothing But Blue Skies And A Day At The Beach

I took it easy yesterday on the day after the election.

I spent the day walking along the beach at Galveston, Texas.

Was I able to do this because in a second Obama term many of us will be able to freeload and do nothing while the “wealth creators” and the “job creators” do all the work?


I was able to take the day to drive to Galveston because I had the day off from work.

The conservative idea out there after this election that people voted for Mr. Obama because they wanted free stuff is just about the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

I guess this is what you get from folks who deny global warming, and who thought until the very end that Mr. Romney would win the election.

November 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 7 Comments

Nothing Will Content Them But The Extremist Limit Of The Land—Out On A Galveston Jetty

Above is a picture I took two days ago out on a jetty in Galveston, Texas.

This picture reminded me of a line from Moby Dick about people who wish to be out at sea or at least near the water.

The line from the book is—

“Nothing will content them but the extremist limit of the land.”

This jetty is as far out as you can go without a boat.

I would like to take a long trip at sea.

Maybe there are others who also wish I would take such a trip.

Here is a review of Moby Dick from a modern reader. People still read this book.

Here is the link to Herman Melville.org.

An informative book I’ve read about whaling is–Leviathan–A History of Whaling in Americaby Eric Jay Dolan.

Here is the link to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

September 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolivar Ferry Gibb Gilchrist In Houston Ship Channel Boat Yard For Work—Free Ferry Is Socialism

Where are boats in the Bolivar Ferry fleet sent when they need maintenance or repairs?

From the picture above that I took last week, I’d say they go to a boat repair yard in the Houston Ship Channel.

Above you see the Bolivar Ferry called the Gibb Gilchrist in a boat repair yard in Houston Ship Channel.

The Gilchrist is the yellow boat in the middle of the picture.

The Bolivar Ferry runs from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula. It is a “free” service run by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Where are the cries of socialism?

I thought a real Texan could cross a few miles of Galveston Bay on his or her own and without help from a meddling government.

Where are the citizen-volunteers to fix the boat, instead of the tab taxpayers are no doubt picking up for whatever work is being done?

Here are facts about who Gibb Gilchrist was from the excellent Handbook of Texas Online.  The upshot  is that Mr. Gilchrist was once President of Texas A & M.

The Bolivar Ferry is a great ride. You can walk on and take a round-trip that will run about 50 minutes. You’ll see big ships and you might see some dolphins.

While you are riding the Bolivar Ferry, you are using a taxpayer-provided government service that enhances the common good.

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

2012 Fourth Of July Events For Houston, Galveston, Fort Bend & College Station—Fourth Of July Reading List

There are many events planned to mark Independence Day for 2012 in the Houston area. The Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year.

(Above—Fireworks over Houston.)

In addition to the events listed in this post, there ways you can observe the Fourth in a patriotic fashion on your own. We don’t have to wait for somebody to put on a fireworks show.

We can express patriotism by treating each other kindly, by treating our fellow working people well, by being accepting of all people, and by learning our shared history instead of being ignorant.

At the end of this post is my Fourth of July Reading and Reference list which has some good resources to learn about our nation’s history.

Patriotism is an everyday affair and is well-expressed by being a good fellow citizen to the everyday people who make our nation–for better and for worse–what it is.

A worthwhile thing to do before the fireworks is to attend the Bayou Bend Fourth of July celebration.

Here are some details about the Fourth at Bayou Bend—

“Celebrate Independence Day at Houston’s home for American decorative arts and paintings. The annual 4th of July blowout at Bayou Bend offers up an extravaganza of Americana: performers, crafts, activities, refreshments, and more. Don’t forget to sign the giant Declaration of Independence before you leave!”

Bayou Bend, run by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts is a great year round  place to learn about early American history.

The big fireworks show in the Houston area is the Freedom over Texas festival that is held on the Fourth.  This event will take place in Eleanor Tinsley Park. There will be a lot of people at this festival and it will be very hot.

Please note this reminder from the City of Houston on the Freedom Over Texas webpage—

 “The Houston Parks & Recreation Department regulations prohibit dogs, amphibians, reptiles and snakes that are considered dangerous. Therefore, we require the ban of all such animals…”

I’m not certain which amphibians and reptiles are viewed as dangerous and which are not.

Another big event is the Houston Symphony’s Star Spangled Salute which is held on the Fourth at the Miller Theater in Hermann Park beginning at 8:30 PM.

Red, Hot & Blue is the fireworks event to be held in The Woodlands on the evening of the Fourth. Fireworks is a fine way for The Woodlands to note the Fourth. Getting it right for the Fourth is a sharp contrast to the inappropriately celebratory manner in which The Woodlands noted Memorial Day 2012. You’ll have to decide for yourself if a place that sees Memorial Day as just another time to shop is the right place for an expression of loyalty to our nation.

In Galveston there will be fireworks at 37th and Seawall at 9:15 PM. I bet the fireworks are nice along the ocean.

The Galveston County Daily News usually does a good job listing holiday events in Galveston County.

Sugar Land promises “an 18-minute spectacular fireworks show that will color the sky with magic and majesty.”  Here are the details.  

Rosenberg in Fort Bend County has an event planned for the Fourth.

The George H.W. Bush Library in College Station has the “I Love America celebration all day on the Fourth.  There will be fireworks at the end of the night.

I’m not being sarcastic when I tell you that I would go to the Bush Library for the Fourth if my schedule allowed. The Bush Library event would be my first pick.

Here is a list of some Houston area fireworks shows from the Houston Chronicle.

I’m certain I’ve left off many events on this list, If you have something you’d like me to add to this list, please leave a comment and I will add your event.

Here is my Fourth of July Reading & Reference list—-  

(Above–Black Americans observing the Fourth in 1939 in St. Helena Island, South Carolina.)

What books and resources would be helpful to learn more about the American Revolution and about America?

As I’ve said before, I don’t believe the Revolution was a liberal or conservative event in the sense we think about such things today.
Continue reading

June 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big Orange Construction Spool That Mirrors Art—Objects Have Many Functions And Purposes At The Same Time

One of these orange things I took a picture of in Houston’s Memorial Park a few days ago is public art.

The other orange thing is part of a construction project.

Though the giant orange spool does not seem far away from also being art of a kind.

Below is a picture of a marine propeller that I took in Galveston back in March.

This propeller is now as fully functional for its revised purpose as it was when it was on a ship.

Objects can have more than one purpose at once. A legitimate purpose of a thing can be a quality or a function for it that we imagine.

Things have both a “solid” and a metaphorical value. Shadow and substance are in the end the same.

Look around at stuff you see each day and think about it in new ways.

At the least, thinking about old things in new ways might make the routine more interesting and enjoyable.

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2012 Juneteenth Observances, Celebrations And Events For Galveston, Houston & College Station—History Of Juneteenth

Juneteenth, marking when slaves in Galveston got word of the Emancipation Proclamation, will be formally observed on Tuesday June, 19.

(Above–A Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas in 1900.) 

There are a number of events planned in the Houston-Galveston-College Station area in upcoming days to mark Juneteenth.

This post is a listing of many of these events. If you know of something I have left off, please leave a comment and I will add it to the post.

At the bottom of this post is some history of Juneteenth. It is essential that we know our shared history as Americans and as people on this Earth. It is essential that we realize that the work of freedom is never completed.

From Galveston.com-

“…Juneteenth activities include a scholarship gala, African-American Heritage Exhibits at the Old Central Cultural Center, and Underground Railroad re-enactments hosted by the Galveston Historical Foundation… The event will culminate June 19th with the Emancipation Proclamation reading and prayer breakfast at Ashton Villa to commemorate the historic event that occurred in Galveston, two years after it was enacted in 1863. … A Jubilee picnic continue the special events at Wright Cuney Park, 41st St. and Ball.  The 7th Annual Juneteenth Springfellow Orchards Family Day in Hitchcock takes place throughout the afternoon of June 18 with entertainment for the whole family….”

There are three pages on the Galveston.com page detailing Juneteenth events. Look for the “Inside This Section” listing about one-third down the page I link to above.

The Galveston County Daily News recently ran a story about efforts to increase the size of local Juneteenth observances and celebrations.

Here is a list of Juneteenth observances from the Daily News.

The Juneteenth Summer Celebration will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston from June 14th through June 17th. This is part of the Texas Black Expo.

Hopefully history and reflection will be part of part of the Juneteenth observances and celebrations at the GRB.

The Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park Will be  staging a Juneteenth concert on Tuesday June 19 at 7 PM. Here are the details. 

The University of Houston NAACP will be holding a Juneteenth BBQ on June 15th at 3820 Yellowstone begibnning at 5 PM. Here is the Facebook page for this event.

There are a number of Juneteenth events in the Bryan-College Station area. 

Here are details of one of these events from the Bryan-College Station Eagle—

 “Tuesday, June 19: The Brazos Valley African American Heritage and Cultural Society will celebrate Juneteenth at the Neal Recreation Center, 600 North Randolf Avenue in Bryan, at 7 p.m. The theme will be “Mending and Blending.” The Rev. A.C. Clark of Pleasant Grove Church in College Station will be the featured speaker.”

Here is some history of Juneteenth— Continue reading

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

History Of Juneteenth—Juneteenth 2012

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the celebration to mark the end of slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger, landing at Galveston, Texas, made the announcement that the Civil War was over and that slaves were free.

(Above–Ashton Villa. It was from the balcony of this house that the Emancipation Proclamation was read in the event now known as Juneteenth. Photo by Nick Saum  www.nicksaumphotography.com)

Juneteenth for 2012 will be Tuesday, June 19th.

( Here is a listing of 2012 Juneteenth events in Galveston, Houston and College Station.) 

It is important that we all be aware of Juneteenth. The freedom of all people is connected. If any group of Americans does not have all their rights, than we are all denied our rights.

Here is information on Juneteenth from the very useful Handbook of Texas Online.

From the Handbook—

“On June 19 (“Juneteenth”), 1865, Union general Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, thus belatedly bringing about the freeing of 250,000 slaves in Texas. The tidings of freedom reached slaves gradually as individual plantation owners read the proclamation to their bondsmen over the months following the end of the war. The news elicited an array of personal celebrations, some of which have been described in The Slave Narratives of Texas (1974). The first broader celebrations of Juneteenth were used as political rallies and to teach freed African-Americans about their voting rights. Within a short time, however, Juneteenth was marked by festivities throughout the state, some of which were organized by official Juneteenth committees.”

Though the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in 1863, it took time for word to get around that slavery was over. People went around for two years not knowing they were free.

After Juneteenth came the failure of Reconstruction and over 100 years of Jim Crow. Many people had their lives wasted in these years due to the racist beliefs of political leaders and of many everyday citizens.

Here is a history of Reconstruction.

Here is a history of Jim Crow.

Here is a collection of links that form a history of slavery in the United States.

These folks think Juneteenth should be a holiday.

( I’ve also written the best Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List on the web. Please click here to see this list.)

Below is a picture of a man who was a slave and who was whipped many times.

File:Cicatrices de flagellation sur un esclave.jpg

The man in the picture above had no choice about his fate in life.

Even today we remain not in full control of our fates. Circumstance and chance play a role in life.

Sometimes our freedom is restricted by our self-imposed limits of imagination. Other times our freedom is challenged by the actions of the wealthy and powerful.

In any case, we must always press ahead towards freedom and emancipation. There is always progress to be made and great victories to be won.

The freedom of all people is connected and the work of freedom is up to each of us.

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation 2012 Best Picks—As Always It Is Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit & Galveston

(Blogger’s Note—This is a post I run each year. It merits another go-round for 2012 because the places I list here are good places to visit.)

Where should you and your family take a summer vacation this year? Where should you go by yourself or with that someone special for an excellent summer trip?

The answer is clear enough.

Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Galveston, Texas are the places to go.

I have visited all these cities in the summer and I can say they are good places to visit and see.

These cities have long-established museums and interesting neighborhoods to explore. They have good restaurants. They have grand old buildings. Each of these cities has a river, a lake, or an ocean to enjoy.

The wife and I—though she was not the wife yet at the time—spent a summer week in Buffalo and Niagara Falls in 1998. It was fun.


File:Downtown Buffalo05.JPG

Here is information about visiting Buffalo and the Niagara region.

I took a family vacation to Cleveland in the early 1980’s. Nothing is nicer than the Great Lakes in the summer.



Here is information about visiting Cleveland.

I lived in Cincinnati for 18 years. It is a pretty city in the Summer. There is more than enough for you and your family—unless maybe you would like to enjoy some time by yourself— to do for a few days.


Here is information about visiting Cincinnati.

The (future) wife and I  once spent a weekend in Pittsburgh. The weekend was not enough to see and do all that Pittsburgh offers.


File:Pittsburgh view-from-incline sm.jpg

Here is information about visiting Pittsburgh.

There is plenty to do in Detroit. There is an excellent  lake, a Greek quarter, the Tigers baseball team and many museums. It has been many years since I have been in Detroit, but I was there for a couple of weekends in the summer and there was more than enough to do.


Here is information about visiting Detroit.

Galveston, Texas is my home away from home. I’ve lived in Houston for 14 years and I go to Galveston every six weeks or so to take a walk on the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico. At the least it is worth a day trip if life takes you to the Houston area.


File:Galveston (Texas).jpg

Here is information about visiting Galveston.

Maybe you live near one of these cities. Maybe you’d like go somewhere where there is some history and some character.

Give one of these cities a try. Disney does not need your money. Some big dumb theme park where they abuse killer whales by keeping them in tanks is no fun at all.

Go to places where your visit will be appreciated.

You’ll be glad you did!

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two Ships

Two ships—One of the Bolivar Ferry boats and the other a big Carnival Cruise ship—passing each other yesterday in the Galveston Ship Channel.

Ships can pass in the day as well as in the night.

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

At Rest

The dead were at rest yesterday in Galveston, Texas.

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

To The Extent You Are Able, Avoid Drifting—Seaweed, Driftwood & A Sea Tumbleweed

Above is a picture I took last year in Galveston, Texas  You see that seagull is eating some creature unlucky enough to be caught in a clump of seaweed and washed up on the beach.

This is what happens if you drift through life. You get washed up on the beach and maybe eaten.

Here is a definition of seaweed-

Any of various red, green, or brown algae that live in ocean waters. Some species of seaweed are free-floating, while others are attached to the ocean bottom. Seaweed range from the size of a pinhead to having large fronds (such as those of many kelps) that can be as much as 30.5 m (100 ft) in length. Certain species are used for food (such as nori) and fertilizer, and others are harvested for carrageenan and other substances used as thickening, stabilizing, emulsifying, or suspending agents in industrial, pharmaceutical, and food products. Seaweed is also a natural source of the element iodine, which is otherwise found only in very small amounts.

Here is a link to the well-done Seaweed Site. It will teach you a lot about seaweed.

Here is information from NOAA about deep water seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Below is a picture I took last year of some driftwood that got stuck on shore on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River across from Cincinnati.

I don’t want to be driftwood. That log is marooned.

At the end of this post is a photo I took few years ago of seaweed and what is, as far as I can tell, a sea tumbleweed.

A tumbleweed just blows around.

This picture was taken on the Gulf of Mexico side of North Padre Island National Seashore just outside of Corpus Christi.

Circumstance plays a great part in life. Sometimes you are just out of luck. But to the extent possible, try to take command of your fate. Be more than seaweed, driftwood, or a tumbleweed.

Here is the definition of a tumbleweed—-

“Any of various densely branched annual plants, such as amaranth and Russian thistle, that break off from the roots at the end of the growing season and are rolled about by the wind. 

All photos in this post copyright Neil Aquino

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve Got To Walk Further Out—Metaphor And The Solid World Give Each Other Substance

Above is a picture I took in Galveston, Texas last month.

To walk out on that jetty, you’ve got be willing to get over the gaps in the concrete, and get around the water that fills the gaps.

I think this a useful metaphor.

The solid world and the metaphoric world each give substance to the other.

I’m not tired of this blog. But I have to admit that I’m tired of some of the things I’ve been writing about.

I’ve got to walk a bit further out.

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

An Uncertain Landfall—It Is In Everyday Things That We Best See Life

I’ve got a creative project I’m working on, and I take a lot of pictures when I go out and about in the Houston-Galveston area as part of this project.

I’ll have more to say about this project in the days and weeks ahead.

Above you see a picture I took last week in Galveston.

In this picture you see the ocean shoreline, and, also, a shoreline of seaweed.

This reminded me of something I recently read in a book called The Americans–A Social History of the United States, 1587-1914 by J.C. Furnas.

Discussing the Mayflower arriving in Plymouth in 1620, Furnas said that this was an “uncertain landfall.”

Furnas was referring to the prospects faced by the new settlers.

I thought of the “uncertain landfall” line when seeing these competing shorelines.

While we conventionally think of the shoreline as being oceanfront, here is a rival shoreline just a few feet from the ocean.

There are many ways to look at everyday things.  It is in everyday things that we will best see life.

We will see these things with hard work and imagination.

April 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment