All posts by cb

About cb

Blogger, satirist, historian, natural philosopher, wearer of the cat beard

The SpaceX Starship is a very big deal

This is deep

Casey Handmer's blog

Part of my series on common misconceptions in space journalism.

SpaceX has been working on some variant of the Big Falcon Rocket for almost a decade, with a publicly announced architecture for three years. The target performance figures are on the Starship website, endlessly dissected on Twitter, Reddit, and NASA spaceflight forums, and there’s even a livestream of construction.

Yet none of the oft-published mainstream articles seem to capture the magnitude of the vision that Starship embodies. Starship prompts superlatives, but by the end of this post the reader will understand not only how big Starship is, but also that it’s as small as it can possibly be.

Image result for starship

Since Starship was first unveiled as BFR/BFS at the IAC in 2016, the rocket has undergone a number of design changes. Together with Elon’s rather cryptic statement that the hardest part of the Starship design process was…

View original post 2,363 more words

A bit of a scare

We had a bit of a scare yesterday. I was at work and a contractor was at the house cleaning our bedroom bathtub and sealing cracks in the tile and grout. The bathroom has its own door that opens into the bedroom. He was going to use high strength pool chlorine to clean the tub and tile. I had insisted that the Mrs take all precautions to safeguard Hillary and Pickles.

The contractor moved the cat bowls and water fountain (that are usually in the bathroom) into the living room while the Mrs checked to see that Hillary was in his bed in the kitchen and then rounded up Pickles from his usual place at the head of our bed on the Mrs’ side and moved him to the living room. The contractor closed the bathroom door and Pam closed the bedroom door.

When he finished he came out of the bathroom and yelled THERES A CAT IN HERE. The Mrs ran into the bedroom to find Hillary crouched near the litter box (one of our automatic LitterMaid litter boxes under a table in the bedroom) with drool streaming out of both sides of his mouth. Must have been the chlorine fumes. He apparently had run in as the Mrs was leaving with Pickles and she did not notice. She went into immediate “nurse mode” (the Mrs was an ICU nurse in a former life) called vet and was told to wash his face off with a wet cloth.

Hillary is fine. Here he is snuggling in my lap as I write this

(Hard to hold iPhone to take pix with one hand while scritching with the other)

The night before I had forwarded the Mrs a link from Weggieboy’s blog about how cats view us a their parents ( When I called home and the Mrs explained all of this to me she told me that Hillary was expressed all of symptoms of “Mommy it was horrible please love me and make it better”. Needless to say it was a stressful day.

Not since Harvey …

… has the street in front of CatBeard Manor had so much water.

Granted at the height of the heaviest rain during Harvey the entire street was curb-to- curb water and moving up into my front yard. Today it is only curb-to-curb to the west of me.

When Topical Storm Imelda was coming ashore earlier this week, I thought “good we’ll finally get some rain”. I even put down fertilizer and garden lime on my yard to be watered-in by the rain. Then … nothing … light intermittent drizzle Monday and Tuesday followed by a few short showers yesterday. Be careful what you wish for.

I’m off work this week on a “staycation”. I was making a Starbucks run about 11 AM when it began. By the time I got back to my driveway the deluge had begun. Heavy downpour for over an hour before a temporary respite, and we are at the trailing edge of what is now Tropical Depression Imelda. Houston proper and points east are getting the brunt of it.

We have always been an “island in the stream” during flooding events. In the thirty years we have been here even the worst flooding events has left us high and dry.

All of the usual places that flood in Houston are flooding now. Watching LIVE YouTube coverage of Houston weather and flooding. It’s pretty bad.

I’m glad I took the week off.


CatBeard Manor

Back Yard Eden


10:00 AM, 85 degF, West Houston TX

Summer is coming to an end. Slowly but surely the days of sub-100 degF and 90+ humidity are numbered. The Mrs has spent most of the summer renovating our back porch after years of hiding inside. Take a look …

I am taking this week off on a “staycation” to get some much needed work done around the house. My new job gives me 6 weeks vacation so I might as well use it.

We are sitting on the back porch having a Starbucks treat. The Mrs is crocheting while I read THE HARLAN ELLISON COLLECTION – I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM first published in 1967. SciFi guy that I am and in my teens when it first came out, I strangely never read it although I knew of it and have frequently used the phrase when dealing with the frustrations of life.

Also enjoying an unlikely breakfast of Romaine lettuce as I endeavor to loose the 30 lbs I gained after going back to work over a year ago. I tend to be a social animal and find it all too easy to go to lunch.

We are in the shade on the south side of the house with a very nice breeze that come and goes. Small scattered clouds are drifting by over head.

In the short time I have been writing this, the temperature on my Apple Watch has risen to 87 with a predicted high of 93. But for now it is very pleasant.

Wishing you all an equally peaceful day …