Pethouse Pet of the Week
Name: Blue, as in Linda Ronstadt's pretty Blue Bayou, Bobby Blue Bland, Vida Blue, Little Boy Blue, Gainsborough's Blue Boy, and John Fogerty's Blue Ridge Rangers.
Birthdate: Jan. 24, 2017 — my first birthday is coming up. Can we go to Chuck E. Cheese's? Please, please?
Ethnicity: I'm a frisky Staffordshire Terrier mix...mix, you heard that part, right? I'm 64 pounds with a lot of puppy energy, so if you're looking for a fun dog with spirit, I'm your guy. Rover Oaks in Katy gives 50 percent off if you adopt a CAP dog. You might want to consider that. I'm "fixed," good with kids over 12, and ready to settle down with a family.
Come and get me: I'm available for adoption at 11 am, Friday, January 12, at Citizens for Animal Protection (17555 Katy Freeway; 281-497-0591). Tell them, "Ken sent me."
Blue's babbling: I think that I shall never see...
A uniquely Houston event, the 18th Annual Fruit Tree Sale, hosted by Urban Harvest, is set for 9 am to 1 pm, Saturday, January 13, at Houston Community College West Loop, 5601 West Loop South. (Hey, that's by my house!) I'm going to buy a couple of trees, whatever is frost-proof. Every year, my banana plant freezes to death before its bananas get big enough to pick. I'm thinking apple and peach.
This is the biggest one-day fruit tree sale in America. More than 100 varieties of trees will be available. Most are in the $25 to $50 range. A few trees will be making their debut in Houston, including the Marseilles Fig, a variety that Thomas Jefferson brought back from France.
In 1809, the "Father of the Declaration of Independence" wrote to a friend, "I will take some occasion of sending you some cuttings of the Marseilles fig, which I brought from France with me, and is unquestionably superior to any fig I have ever seen." Jefferson had quite the green thumb at his Monticello home.
I'd walk a mile for a camel
Camel racing, a bizarrely popular event in Houston, returns to Sam Houston Race Park on Friday, January 19, and Saturday, January 20. These offbeat races, with local "celebrities" riding big honking "ships of the desert" (that's camels), never fail to bring record crowds to the track. I have no idea why, but it happens every year.
Of course, there will be regular horse racing and all kinds of food and beverage specials, but who doesn't love watching a TV weather forecaster ride a camel?
A few years ago, I participated in this event. I went to Party City and bought a Lawrence of Arabia costume. It was all fun and games until I got on my camel. This beast took one look at me and said, "Not today, funny boy, this ain't Halloween." The camel banged me against the side of the starting gate. Then he bucked like it was the Houston Rodeo. I think he may have spit at me. At least he tried, but by this time I was riding on his side, hanging on like grim death. I was afraid of being dragged 50 yards in mud and horse doody.
Instead of gently prancing to the finish line, my camel galloped straight to the rail where he dumped me. I am not kidding, I've done a lot of stupid things in my journalism "career," this long hard climb to the middle, but riding that camel was the only time I feared for my safety.
After the race, that's when thing got really weird. That same night, there was a race featuring thoroughbreds from the Middle East, and the United Arab Emirates version of ESPN was broadcasting live from Sam Houston Race Park. The Abu Dhabi announcer asked to interview me live on Middle East television — while I was still dressed in my Lawrence of Arabia getup.
He was laughing and asked me, "What happened?" I said, "That wasn't my regular camel."
No more camel racing for me. By the way, the winning "celebrity" that night was Channel 11 weathercaster Chita Craft. Did I say Chita? I meant Cheater. Remember how my horse was a vicious animal? Chita rode a camel that, earlier in the day, was giving rides at a children's birthday party.