As If the Flooding Wasn't Enough, Now Texas Has to Deal With These Demon Insects

As if drowning weren’t enough to fear, Tropical Storm Harvey has brought another horror: floating “islands” of fire ants. People should beware of clusters of fire ants in flood waters, Houstonia Magazine reported. During a flood emergency, fire ants group together into a ball or a raft shape to float on the water.

Pat and Stu talked about the terrifying story on radio Monday.

Stu shared his unfiltered thoughts on fire ants as well as stories about getting bitten by the venomous insects. “They are the worst things that have ever appeared in the world,” he said. “They are borderline indestructible. … They are awful, they are everywhere, you can’t stop them.”

Houston isn’t just dealing with record rains, flooded homes and fire ant islands. Texas media outlets are also reporting alligator sightings, although bats seem to be less successful than fire ants at survival. Some of the bats at tourist destination Waugh Bridge have reportedly drowned in the flood.

But don’t believe every crazy creature story you see: Gizmodo pointed out that people are using Harvey as an excuse to resurface the rumor that sharks are swimming the streets. Spoiler alert: They’re not.

PAT: We're going off script now by talking about kind of a weird thing that's happening now in Houston, with -- there's an indestructible insect in this state.

STU: Yes.

PAT: Cannot be killed. And apparently, there are floating mounds of fire ants.

STU: I'll have the creepy-crawlies all day after reading this story. But it's true. There are floating fire ant colonies in Houston. Now, fire ants are -- it's like the devil's dandruff.

PAT: Uh-huh.

STU: They are the worst things that have ever appeared in the world. They are borderline indestructible.

PAT: Yes.

STU: I got bit by one weeks ago. And still itchy all over because of it. Even thinking about it now and getting the creepy-crawlies. They are awful. They are everywhere. You can't stop them.

I spend half of my time out in my backyard with various different crazy poisons that I'm sprinkling all over that will probably at some time kill my dog or something else-something else. But I just hate these things. I am like genocide-level dictator against fire ants. I'm like -- I'm in the middle of -- I am the worst humanity has ever produced when it comes to these fire ants. I just hate it.

PAT: They really are terrible. And they're extremely hard to kill.


STU: Right. And so you would think when the entire city would be under a couple feet of water.

PAT: They would kill them.

STU: They would kill them. At least this batch of them. They have somehow -- and there's pictures of them.

JEFFY: Yeah, the floating islands.

STU: They have created islands and are floating through the streets, millions of fire ants on top of each other crawling, and ugh. The pictures are horrific. And if you were -- I mean, this happened -- my daughter, we were at church -- this was a couple years ago. She was maybe two. Maybe even one at this point. And there -- as you walked to the car, there's a strip of grass on the side of where our church is. And, you know, your kid will run away and be silly and decide to do what they do. So she ran away into the grass. What's the big? No big deal, right? And she walked up to this tree. And she put her back to the tree. And we said, Ainsely, come here. Come back.

And she started laughing. Not listening.

And said, come on, Ainsley. Let's go. Let's go.

And then she just stood there and she just looked at us and stopped and went dead silent for about five seconds, and then just started bawling.

PAT: Oh, man.

STU: We were like, what is going on? Like, at first, it's just, what is wrong with her? And she's standing in the same place. She's not moving or anything. She's just frozen in fear.

JEFFY: She's frozen. That's what happens man.

PAT: Oh.

STU: And she just starts crying like crazy. My wife runs over. And I'm covering over. And we look at her legs, and they are just covered in fire ants. She was standing in a mound of them.

JEFFY: Yeah.

STU: The entire field, she walked over and stopped in a mound of fire ants. So she's covered up to her knees. You know, it's dusting these things off. Her legs for the next three weeks were just these red welts everywhere.

JEFFY: Oh, yeah.

PAT: Oh, jeez. Yeah.

STU: These things are -- they are terrorists.

PAT: And they hurt. I mean, it hurts.

STU: It hurts, and then it itches for weeks afterwards. They are horrible.

And it's no surprise. Of all the things, they're going to make it through this freaking disaster. It's going to be fire ants. I hate them.

PAT: Fire ants and cockroaches are pretty much indestructible. You know, there's an idea, Jeffy had an idea that maybe that's what we drop on North Korea.

JEFFY: Thank you. Just drop mounds of fire ants on North Korea. Good day.

PAT: That will take care of the problem.

STU: It's actually not a bad idea.

They were talking about when North Korea was threatening to firing the missiles at Guam, that Guam apparently has had an issue with these snakes.

And, apparently, there's an invasive species of snakes on Guam where -- it's like to the issue of like there's so many -- it's like 100 times the amount of people, there are these crazy snakes. And, like, thousands of them are everywhere, apparently. That was the picture painted, at least.

PAT: Hmm.

STU: And the only way they could come up with to control this snake population is to airdrop poisoned mouse carcasses all over the island.

Can you imagine a plane flying over your island of paradise, and they're just dropping dead poison mice all over the place? But then the snakes eat them, and that's the only way they can control the population.

PAT: Bizarre.

STU: I mean, there is a legitimate -- first of all, you drop them from 75,000 feet. You go all the way up there. They can barely detect it. And these fire ants will live through that fall, I promise.

PAT: No question.

JEFFY: They're going to live? They're going to breed eight families --

PAT: They're going to double the population by the time they hit the ground.

STU: That's true. That's true. I think this is a good approach to North Korea, who by the way fired another missile I guess. And also, they're now threatening nuclear tests in the middle of all this. So Donald Trump has his plate pretty full right now.

JEFFY: Boy, no kidding.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?

There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…

But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…

John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...

Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…

A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...

Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…

And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…

When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…

"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…

At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…

Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…

This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…

It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.