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Author Topic: Raise your Swords for Texas!  (Read 689 times)
RJBowman
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« on: July 08, 2017, 02:40:36 am »

News from the Lone Star State:
http://www.houstonpress.com/arts/in-september-its-time-to-carry-a-sword-9579447

It seems that Texas has relaxed its laws regarding bladed weapons, and proud Texans may now carry swords.

Which brings to my mind the Teddy Roosevelt's famous bowie knife, custom made by Tiffany's in New York and ornately engraved. It has been commented that no rancher ever carried such a knife, but it was everything that a rancher's knife should be.



The settling of the American west happened long after the era of swords, and blades were useless against the firearms of the era, so (aside from cavalry men) the western settlers never carried swords.

But now I have to wonder what the swords of the old west might have looked like.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 02:45:14 am by RJBowman » Logged
MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2017, 05:51:03 am »

Sorry, this is kind of long. It is not intended as a rant, so I apologize in advance if it comes across that way.

For years, the only Bowies available through retail that I was aware of (and I was something of a pre-teen-aged aficionado) were relatively short-bladed things. Not like Jim Bowie's monster at all. The Boy Scout Bowie at that time was a tiny thing that frankly, to my mind, insulted the name. The biggest knives I ever saw before I turned sixteen, and big-bladed knives started showing up in the Mall knife shops, were the bayonets carried by ROTC upperclassmen on Squadron campouts, and the big bastard-file-based monstrosities with plastic-leather-and-copper-washer glued handles that sailors and enlisted men's fathers made for their sons before they went off to WWI or WWII; I was born in the early 1960s, so the only ones of those that I saw were relics kept by several of my relatives and some of my Dad's childhood friends who invited us over for dinner or whatnot.

Sure, the museums had big bowies in them, but my folks were, back at that time, trying to curb my enthusiasm for such things and steer me toward dinosaurs, extinctions and other "normal" subjects, so they tended to steer me away from such displays.

The only knives that my rancher relatives used for everyday ranch work were the pocketknives they carried, and the only sword-like things were the machetes that they kept behind the driver's seats of their pickup trucks; not because they wanted them for defense or offense, but because it was a nice, handy place to keep such tools handy to cut a mesquite away from the side of the back-pasture lane, or slash and hack away a growth of scrub oak or yaupon so they could open a long-disused gate or gap, or cut down a sapling that had jumped up in the middle of a hay field. They were also good for killing a snake if they had to do that, as well (if you've ever tried to kill or just chop something one-handed that is/was shorter than your knee with an axe or hatchet, and right next to your leg or foot, you know what a dicey proposition that is; the machete is ideal for the job, due to the fact that it's not a big, unwieldy blob of metal on the end of a stick).

The only bowie-like things I ever saw in use were the skinning knives that were usually only brought out in deer or quail or dove season, and those were only  used, as the name implies, for field dressing and skinning the animals, and sometimes for the actual butchering process (sorry to the squeamish folks out there).
________________________
Swords of the old west, now... Depends on what you'd  call a "sword," I imagine. There was a ban on commoners or non-military folk carrying swords in England that dated back to before the 1700s, and similar laws were in effect in other Old World locales, so the blades that people brought with them would probably have been the sort that managed to stay under the radar in such cultures. That does not necessarily preclude sword-length weapons; the messer, a knife-like blade that often went to rather long lengths but was considered "not a sword," and therefore legal for a commoner to own and carry, was common right up to the early 1800s in England.

Bollock daggers, stillettos and latter-day poignards were popular in the early part of the 19th century with mercenaries and soldiers in Spain and the areas that would soon become the unified Italy, or so I was told on a tour of some historic site or other years ago (I think it was one of the restored missions around San Antonio). The saber was the military standard sword of the day, and sword bayonets (some resembling gladii, and some looking like odd, broad-bladed, short sabers) were being tried out for artillery and commissary units in the US Army, and later the Confederate as well.  

So, probably mostly sabers, dirks (such as the so-called "Arkansas toothpick," but also Scottish dirks and the rather ubiquitous bollock daggers and stillettos, from which forms the "toothpick" most likely developed) bowies and messer-like blades would IMHO have been the most common. Bastard swords, tulwars and Cossack sabers (can't remember what they were called, sorry) by then would still be possible, but not very likely.

Rapiers, smallswords, and epees were still in use in places like the Old South at the beginning of the century, and persisted into the 1870s and beyond in places like New Orleans and Southern California, mainly as a form for duelling. Machetes were already in Use on the Southern plantations before the civil war (yes, I know, <in a singsong, tired voice> machetes are agricultural tools and widely believed to be a non-sword. But then again, they are a length of steel with a sharpened edge, some of them as thick as an eighth of an inch, so...).

The Bowie bears the famous man's name, but blades of the type in fact were already being made before he supposedly made his (there's some debate about that), and there's a bit of controversy even today about exactly what his looked like, given what Confederate soldiers carried and referred to as "bowies" during the Civil War; In any case, Bowie's knife was not the only one of it's kind in existence - far from it. It just became famous as "the Bowie knife" because of his exploits (among them the widespread belief -whether or not it is an actual fact I myself do not know - that he made it himself from freshly-fallen meteoritic iron), whatever John Wayne said in The Alamo.

Just about any kind of sword would be possible, though, since people also came to the West from other places; Chinese swords are known to have made it over the Pacific, and many Spanish noble families passed down swords to their Mexican descendants when the families emigrated to Mexico. The Hidalgo noble colonists in Mexico and the Tejas territories were reputedly in the habit of carrying long daggers and such, and a few even had rapiers and smallswords. The Japanese sent a katana as a diplomatic gift to a president (can't remember, again. Sorry). I have not heard if there were any imports of katanas or tachi from Japan back then, but I'd say it might be a very tenuous possibility.
-----------------
I hope that people will be responsible with their swords, but given the general run of human nature, and all the intercultural rage, and even just plain road rage, that I see all over the place these days, I can't help but think that it's not terribly likely.

Those of you who decide to try to wear a sword:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Be careful.

Sorry for the novella.  Grin  
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 07:13:50 am by MWBailey » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2017, 12:21:17 am »

Well yeah. Noting how trigger happy some cops can be, the legality of carrying a sword is actually a moot point. You'll be full of lead before you even try to explain why you were carrying it in the first place.
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Peter Brassbeard
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2017, 12:33:33 am »

Well yeah. Noting how trigger happy some cops can be, the legality of carrying a sword is actually a moot point. You'll be full of lead before you even try to explain why you were carrying it in the first place.
Any cop who'd pull the trigger just because a suspect is armed should be charged with murder and locked away.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2017, 02:15:55 am »

Well yeah. Noting how trigger happy some cops can be, the legality of carrying a sword is actually a moot point. You'll be full of lead before you even try to explain why you were carrying it in the first place.
Any cop who'd pull the trigger just because a suspect is armed should be charged with murder and locked away.

The issue is not whether it's legal or not, but rather how "threatening" it's perceived to be. I regularly carry my "assisted" folding hunting knife with me (you've seen it before), and regularly use it to open the envelope containing my pay cheque at the counter of a bank without anyone even batting an eye! This happens every single week! It may not be altogether legal to take an "automatic" knife out in such a building, and much less a bank counter, but no one feels threatened by it!! No different to taking a Swiss Army knife out.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2017, 06:42:54 am »

Texas cops are accustomed to regularly being around armed people; I can't imagine that they would be all that intimidated by metal blades.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2017, 11:54:27 am »

Texas cops are accustomed to regularly being around armed people; I can't imagine that they would be all that intimidated by metal blades.

I wasn't particularly talking about Texas. Most of the events seem to come out of other states, spread around the country.

EDIT: I also do think that most cops anywhere would react to, or be wary of any kind of weapon, actually. They are trained to react in an instant. Be it a switch blade, machete or gun, actually. Intimidate is not the right word. Over-react after the fact is the operative term.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 12:03:05 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 04:04:49 pm »

Texas cops are accustomed to regularly being around armed people; I can't imagine that they would be all that intimidated by metal blades.




Er... It's not really the implement itself, but rather how it's worn, sheathed, manipulated, and where. Like the Admiral says, a smallish (in comparison to a saber or  machete, say) automatic knife is not going to cause much of a stir, but if you pull out your folding beefsteak knife (you're seen those, they're the huge folders whose blades project three to six inches beyond the scales of the handle when closed) while a barfight is going on, and nobody else pulls a weapon more sophisticated than a pool cue, guess who the cops're going to haul off first, if they catch you. Too, I doubt that the admiral brandishes the aforementioned automatic knife and/or threatens the other people in the queue with castration or worse for anybody who looks at him the wrong way, which is another really good way to get a Texas cop (and many Texas security guards - many of whom are actually police, by the way) on your case.

I've also seen people get accosted and even arrested for wearing certain types of "tactical" knife sheath-and-harness rigs, or stopped and questioned for using a sheath that depicted violent acts (killing people or dragons, attacking with a saber, etc.). I once wore a khukri to a San Jacinto Day reenactment with the dulcimer society (in otherwise period costume, of course), just to see if I could get away with it. I wore it as if it were the same as a regular Bowie, (on the hip, crossdraw or "Bando"* style) and nobody seemed to care. Another fellow wore one of those gigantic slab-bladed "belly ripper" bowies (proportionally the same size as my khukri) on that same day and got told to take it off because he wore it on the small of his back, horizontally; apparently, that's a "knife fighter style" that is frowned upon. I've also seen peace-tied (tied or wired down so that it is difficult or impossible to deploy the sword or knife in anything like a "timely" manner) swords and knives pass muster, while several that were not so secured got Renfest and con participants ticketed, fined and even arrested in one incident.

So... It's more the way you wear and use it, though of course, timing and simple dumb luck play a role as well.



---------------------------
*Bando style: some practitioners of Bando (a martial art associated most often with the Khukri) wear theirs in a similar crossdraw manner.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 04:09:19 pm by MWBailey » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 08:25:39 pm »

Carrying a knife, even this one can be a bit risky, depending on the venue. In the past I've carried the knife whine going to the SXSW convention. Not a problem while walking the street, or visiting the SXSW participating pubs, but a problem if you go to visit one of the many SXSW conferences at the Convention Center, or Hilton Hotel next door. There will usually be a cop using a metal detector at the entrance of each event.

The issue is I carry the knife because I feel particularly vulnerable if I have to walk more than a few miles through a sea of people from the bus stop to the aforementioned Convention Center, while carrying the 30lb boombox at night. I can't help but feel like a slow target. I resolved to make a secret compartment for the knife inside my boombox  Grin The knife is safely stored away inside the subwoofer during the convention, and taken out when I walk the street...  But yes that is even more risky, especially if you get found out...
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 08:27:53 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Will Howard
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 01:59:21 am »

Actually, this law does not go into effect until September 1st.  Don't "jump the gun", so to speak...
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MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2017, 10:13:47 pm »

Actually, this law does not go into effect until September 1st.  Don't "jump the gun", so to speak...





We'll just have to bite the bullet until then...
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2017, 07:08:40 am »

Just in time for my transfer to the office in the bad part of town. I just found out that my last day at the ofice close by will be in 3 weeks or so, because the  entire mall will be renovated and my boss decided to not reopen the shop. I will now work six days a week in a really rough part of town and will have to walk the street at night after closing shop. My hunting knife will not be enough. Either I will go with the Gladius or the "Bad to the Bone" brand Spear!!  Just to make it clear I/m not playing around Grin

Cold Steel - Gladius Machete
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 07:15:00 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Banfili
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2017, 07:11:08 am »

J.Wilhelm - not a lot of good options. I feel for you. Once had to work in a not very nice part of Sydney with a walk to the railway station. Head down and a 'get out or my way' look worked. I moved back to the country to get out of the place!
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2017, 07:22:25 am »

J.Wilhelm - not a lot of good options. I feel for you. Once had to work in a not very nice part of Sydney with a walk to the railway station. Head down and a 'get out or my way' look worked. I moved back to the country to get out of the place!

Well I don't want to say there until Winter. Not only will it get cold (there is no climate control at all in the office in that building - right now sweat at 40 C and in Winter shiver at near 0 C INSIDE. But on top of that it will get dark long before 7 pm when I close shop. By Winter even before 6 pm it will already be night-dark. I don't want to be in that situation. I HAVE to get another job by November's change  from Daylight Savings Time to Standard time. I'm pissed off that I only had close to 4 weeks of notice, but thankful I didn't lose my job outright.

https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/austin

I figure if I'm going to have to commute for more than an hour to get to my job on bus (due to wait plus walking to the bus stops), then I might as well get a job anywhere else where a bus can carry me. I did a small "test run" today to go further north about 5 miles on bus to a large commercial area that is in a much nicer part of town, and which I haven't visited in over 3 years after I lost my car- nice expensive restaurants, fashion shops, lots of strip malls and a supermarket. Similar to where I work now but significantly larger - so more jobs should be available there.

I'm just not going to work in this company any more. I can't afford it. I won't even be able to make my college payments this way, and will use all of my free time taking the bus.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 07:33:25 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Banfili
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2017, 12:25:23 pm »

You could perhaps opt for a longer bus ride - hop on a bus & go West!

Actually, if my US geography is accurate, North-West, or even head North by North-West to Oregon or Washington state.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 12:28:39 pm by Banfili » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2017, 05:16:04 am »

You could perhaps opt for a longer bus ride - hop on a bus & go West!

Actually, if my US geography is accurate, North-West, or even head North by North-West to Oregon or Washington state.
Well. I don't know Oregon. I might do Washington state though. In any case it's looking like I wont be able to get a new job before I have to move jobs to the really rough part of town. We started clearing inventory and calling all of our customers at the shop. We are no longer taking new jobs.

*Sigh* The Gladius Machete is only $40 online at a famous sports store chain. So I'll incorporate that into my costume. A Gladius, after all, could be a good symbol for the Roman Catholic rituals of the Luftschiffengel.
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MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2017, 09:46:48 am »

You could perhaps opt for a longer bus ride - hop on a bus & go West!

Actually, if my US geography is accurate, North-West, or even head North by North-West to Oregon or Washington state.
Well. I don't know Oregon. I might do Washington state though. In any case it's looking like I wont be able to get a new job before I have to move jobs to the really rough part of town. We started clearing inventory and calling all of our customers at the shop. We are no longer taking new jobs.

*Sigh* The Gladius Machete is only $40 online at a famous sports store chain. So I'll incorporate that into my costume. A Gladius, after all, could be a good symbol for the Roman Catholic rituals of the Luftschiffengel.




You could move down here to Houston; not sure what you're interested in, but there seems to be at least a little boom left in Boomtown. Problem is, it's largely a drive-yourself-around town, though we do have a rather gigantic bus network and some light rail.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2017, 05:12:30 pm »

You could perhaps opt for a longer bus ride - hop on a bus & go West!

Actually, if my US geography is accurate, North-West, or even head North by North-West to Oregon or Washington state.
Well. I don't know Oregon. I might do Washington state though. In any case it's looking like I wont be able to get a new job before I have to move jobs to the really rough part of town. We started clearing inventory and calling all of our customers at the shop. We are no longer taking new jobs.

*Sigh* The Gladius Machete is only $40 online at a famous sports store chain. So I'll incorporate that into my costume. A Gladius, after all, could be a good symbol for the Roman Catholic rituals of the Luftschiffengel.

You could move down here to Houston; not sure what you're interested in, but there seems to be at least a little boom left in Boomtown. Problem is, it's largely a drive-yourself-around town, though we do have a rather gigantic bus network and some light rail.

Yeah, I've been told the same. It also occurs to me that Texas is so big that I can move just about anywhere as well, though I'd get little change in the weather. The issue with Austin is that it is "the hip city" where everyone wants to live. Like the eternally congested roads, the job market is always clogged with applicants, mostly IT engineers applying for non-IT positions, because all the IT positions are taken. I'm not an IT engineer, but one of my co-workers was married to an IT engineer, and she said her husband was tired of living in Austin, because there were no jobs available, and those they did have were ridiculously poorly paid (part-time, inconsistent hours, no regular schedule, etc.). The couple decided to move to Houston instead.

There's this IT company, in Austin "Host Gator" which I once visited, and gave me the worst impression of being a "Borg collective." They bring in the engineers with a shovel.  It was all part-time temporary work, floating hours and they wanted me to know everything - they would not train at all. It was just a factory for a bunch of under-employed unhappy 24/7 remote desk support staff.

In that environment, there is zero growth potential - assuming you find a job.
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Will Howard
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2017, 12:25:48 am »

No, not EVERYONE want to live in Austin... I'm QUITE happy in San Antonio!
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MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2017, 06:57:24 pm »

I have my bastard sword in case of looters... (LOL)
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2017, 07:08:46 pm »

I was going to make a Viking joke but it seems inappropriate at the moment...
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2017, 06:28:36 pm »

How are you illustrious representatives of the Lone Star state faring? I hope everyone is well and safe - we've been following the story of hurricane Harvey on our news channels and I have to say it looks absolutely apocalyptic.

Wishing you all the best,
Miranda.
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MWBailey
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« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2017, 06:46:24 pm »

Thanks, Miranda! I'm lucky enough to live in a part of Greater Houston which is higher in elevation than Downtown, and the area around Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou. Doesn't sound like much, does it? But it's kept us from getting flooded beyond the overflow from neighbor's backyards (seems our yard and that of our Eastern-side neighbor serve as the draining point for everybody on our block, LOL, so I've been shoveling debris out of the fence all weekend so the yards could drain. Didn't know until early yesterday that such was the case, though). No water got in our house save from a wind-soak chimney leak, and what I tracked in from taking breaks form shoveling out the fencerow - but the water got to be about two mean feet deep all across the backyard, and came within about eight feet of the back door. This in an area that, like many places that collected lots of water this time around, has never flooded since Houston's founding back in the early 1800s.

Somebody on TV locally here said that Harvey even has even surpassed the infamous 1900 AD hurricane that nearly wiped away Galveston. I'm not sure but what they were massively exaggerating, however.

Elsewhere in Houston people are STILL being rescued by boat, helicopter, and walking (swimming, in some cases) out  of their flooded neighborhoods even though the storm has passed over to Beaumont, and begun to drift into Louisiana; literally thousands of people, all going to the various shelters set up around town until the water recedes and we can all get to the task of cleaning up. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think somebody said that over a TRILLION gallons of water was dumped on Southeast Texas by Harvey.

Certainly a lot of water, regardless of the exact figure. Gonna have trouble sleeping beside a river for years in the future, I think...



I was going to make a Viking joke but it seems inappropriate at the moment...



Oh, go ahead, we need more vikings...



https://youtu.be/anwy2MPT5RE

« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 06:56:22 pm by MWBailey » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2017, 04:44:16 am »

Thanks, Miranda! I'm lucky enough to live in a part of Greater Houston which is higher in elevation than Downtown, and the area around Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou. Doesn't sound like much, does it? But it's kept us from getting flooded beyond the overflow from neighbor's backyards (seems our yard and that of our Eastern-side neighbor serve as the draining point for everybody on our block, LOL, so I've been shoveling debris out of the fence all weekend so the yards could drain. Didn't know until early yesterday that such was the case, though). No water got in our house save from a wind-soak chimney leak, and what I tracked in from taking breaks form shoveling out the fencerow - but the water got to be about two mean feet deep all across the backyard, and came within about eight feet of the back door. This in an area that, like many places that collected lots of water this time around, has never flooded since Houston's founding back in the early 1800s.

Somebody on TV locally here said that Harvey even has even surpassed the infamous 1900 AD hurricane that nearly wiped away Galveston. I'm not sure but what they were massively exaggerating, however.

Elsewhere in Houston people are STILL being rescued by boat, helicopter, and walking (swimming, in some cases) out  of their flooded neighborhoods even though the storm has passed over to Beaumont, and begun to drift into Louisiana; literally thousands of people, all going to the various shelters set up around town until the water recedes and we can all get to the task of cleaning up. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think somebody said that over a TRILLION gallons of water was dumped on Southeast Texas by Harvey.

Certainly a lot of water, regardless of the exact figure. Gonna have trouble sleeping beside a river for years in the future, I think...



I was going to make a Viking joke but it seems inappropriate at the moment...



Oh, go ahead, we need more vikings...



https://youtu.be/anwy2MPT5RE




A lot of places in Austin are turning into shelters for people coming from Houston. If I'm correct the Austin Convention Centre will be (or has been) turned into a "Mega Shelter" as they're calling it.

We're very lucky in that Austin dodged a bullet. The odd thing about this storm is that it had a very well defined edge in the 2nd and 3rd geometric quadrants, such that the Central Texas ("Hill Country") counties East of Austin had almost no rain at all. Austin was right at the edge of the storm. When the storm shifted a wee bit to the East, Austin ceased to be pounded by the rain and wind. The last of the rain came on Saturday night and by Monday there was no rain to speak of. By now we are having all clear skies and hot temperatures again.

~ ~ ~

I'm afraid that copious SPAM is going to be on the menu for some whether they like it or not  Undecided Hopefully, the Vikings will not start singing. Since a good number of Houstonians will end up in the [traditionally German] area of the Hill Country for a while, I think they'll also be plenty of sausage and Schnitzel.

It's going to be interesting to see how Austinites will respond to the crisis. So far we have only heard of 10's of thousands of people, but there's talk of up to 1/2 million people ultimately displaced from Houston. Shelter will be paramount, and the closet major city is Austin, after San Antonio and Dallas.

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MWBailey
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« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2017, 10:55:03 am »

It will be interesting to see if this storm busts the boom that has kept Houston going for so long (I kind of doubt it, at least in the short term; we're a port, after all, even if that facility needs repair now). Plenty of work for people to do in the repair/recovery dimension, and sooner or later they'll get around to putting up flood countermeasures to keep what happened this weekend from happening again. The problem, though, is that Houston is just so danged BIG.
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