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Sat Mar 18, 2006

Read this carefully, and then go fly a kite

During the spring and summer, the skies above South Padre Island become dotted with the kites of vacationers and kite-boarding enthusiasts.

Historians argue some about who actually invented the kite. The concept seems to have floated up in several societies almost simultaneously, but the Chinese were first to use the kite for more than ceremonial occasions.

In 200 B.C., General Han Hsin commanded an army of rebels attempting to dethrone a tyrannical emperor. They faced a despot and an army that appeared invulnerable behind the towering ramparts and stone walls surrounding the capital. Outnumbered and only lightly armed, the rebels needed a decisive victory.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Mar 18, 06 | 6:33 am | Profile

Sat Mar 11, 2006

A toast to the long and wonderful history of beer

As Spring Break shifts into high gear today, students from the Texas schools begin to arrive on the Island. Many of them we’ll be ready for beer.

But don’t shrug off the beverage as simply a vice: It’s played a role in helping human kind become civilized.

Yes, you heard me right — civilization owes at least part of its development to beer.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Mar 11, 06 | 2:55 pm | Profile

Sat Mar 04, 2006

Wild? Sure. But Spring Break has nothing on mythological god

South Padre Island owes the origins of its Spring Break of beer bongs, wet T-shirt contests and cruising to a small group of Rio Grande Valley natives.

“A group of us kids from school began coming to the Island for Easter vacation in the mid 1960s,” said Kay Lay, whose family moved to the Valley in the late 1950s.

Her friends always gathered at the Sandy Retreat Hotel, which—among other things—had two very valuable commodities: a swimming pool and restrooms.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Mar 04, 06 | 1:59 pm | Profile

Sat Feb 18, 2006

Give me a light
Flashlights proved difficult to invent, but their simplicity has helped shaped South Padre Island

Without flashlights, we could all say goodbye to fishing on South Padre Island after dark-at least anywhere but fishing piers.

Yet the pocket light has shaped our lifestyle in other ways as well, as anyone who’s ever camped north of town knows.

Flashlights even come in handy for tourists scouting for crabs that wander the beach at night.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Feb 18, 06 | 6:21 pm | Profile

Sat Feb 11, 2006

Don’t pick up the soap

So you’re spending the weekend on South Padre Island in one of the many hotels and condominiums.

At the end of your stay, you may be tempted to take something with you other than the sand in your shoes.

But we’re not advocating you steal the soap from your room even though you’re likely to have a clean getaway.

Bah-da-boom.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Feb 11, 06 | 6:56 am | Profile

Sat Feb 04, 2006

Everybody screams for ice cream on the beach

A trip to the beach is not complete without ice cream.

But people first started screaming for the frozen concoction centuries ago when Alexander the Great had ice brought from the mountains and placed in long trenches to cool his wine and was reported to have enjoyed a sorbet-like dessert made of fruit juices and ground ice before battle.

European explorer Marco Polo brought a recipe from China that combined ice, fruit juices and — more importantly — milk.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Feb 04, 06 | 7:50 am | Profile

Sat Jan 28, 2006

Peer into the history of mirrors and reflect on what it means to you

One of my most amusing experiences was watching my grandson Luke as he discovered his image in our wall mirror.

Luke cooed and ahhed as his little fingers gently explored the face that peered back from the glass.

Mirrors have been around for thousands of years. Before the invention of glass, polished metal could make a murky mirror, and the Greeks and Romans preferred mirrors of polished bronze.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Jan 28, 06 | 6:50 am | Profile

Sat Jan 21, 2006

Exposing the gradual evolution of the swimsuit

The birthday suit may have been the original swimsuit, but bathing suits have been around for thousands of years.

Public baths were established in almost every town of the Greek and Roman Empires, and bathing in the nude was common. However, ancient wall paintings portray women wearing bikini-style swimsuits and men in shortened toga-like costumes.

Europeans frowned upon bathing, considering it decadent. Nudity and the swimsuit fell from style until the early 1800s when spas and hot-water springs bubbled back to prominence.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Jan 21, 06 | 7:39 am | Profile

Sat Jan 07, 2006

Postcards are windows to times gone by

What’s the official name for postcard collecting?

Deltiology.

South Padre Island and Port Isabel are havens for such collectors — or for keepsake hunting tourists.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Jan 07, 06 | 6:59 am | Profile

Sat Dec 31, 2005

Something new is surfacing on the Island

When I moved to the Island in 1980, less than 400 permanent residents lived here, and much of the land east of Gulf Boulevard stood vacant.

Few buildings stood more than three stories tall. Most homes were built with wood, and several side streets were packed hard with caliche.

During the ‘80s, the town paved the streets, and leaders passed codes and ordinances that required parking lots to have blacktop or cement surfaces.

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Posted by: Webmaster on Dec 31, 05 | 7:01 am | Profile

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