Since last issue
, the Obama
administration’s been tackling America’s problems in a big way, sort of
like a passenger jet going through a skyscraper
Already, Barack Hussein Obama and his underlings, all of
whom apparently must have tax problems to qualify for office, have been
making every day on the job count to perpetuate policies of debt and
death, plus sticking it to whitey on the sly.1
up the war in Afghanistan, ballooned domestic spending even beyond Dubya’s
prolifigacy, and spent money we don’t have to do so. That last part had
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kowtowing to the Chicoms so they’d
keep buying U.S. IOUs.2
They must’ve had a good laugh
in private, and then wondered aloud in public about American solvency.3
Perhaps coincidentally, demand for guns and ammunition remains
at a fever pitch.4
Moreover, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a quintessential
empty shell of a politician, even spoke approvingly of secession
at the local tea party among the many nationwide that Obama inspired.5
Obama’s accompanied all this with speeches that seemed longer
than they actually were, and I only heard excerpts. When he finally got
off a good wisecrack on “The Tonight Show,” he had to go around apologizing
Just what I’ve mentioned – there’s more – is enough to make Obama
start sucking on the cancer sticks again. Except post-election, Obama
appeared on “Meet the Press” and got grilled about his cigarette smoking.7
he knows what it’s like to be a member of an oppressed minority.8
But I want to tell you about a truly important problem.
Per Madsen Design
is no more. It
made Scandinavian-chic modular storage units for audio-visual collections
for 25 years.9
I patronized the firm for almost as long. Earlier
this year, Madsen announced his retirement. By the time I called to order
what I thought I’d need in the future, the remaining stock had sold out.
Moreover, he told me that no one had offered to buy the designs for revived
production. They’re that good, so their commercial unavailability from
now on disheartens me. I don’t know of any product line comparable or compatible
with the units I have, let alone whether such a line would remain available
as my audio collection slowly grows
Dell recently updated its Web site universal resource locators.
Because my online
resume links to Dell
a representative asked me to update those links, in exchange for a Dell
T-shirt. Fair enough. The T-shirt is nice, but the design and color scheme
– black, white and gray – looks a bit fascist. This might shock the
denizens of the Jewish Community Center of Austin – named after the company’s
founder. Though they’d probably be even more shocked that Italian Jews
were major intellectual and organizational contributors to Italian Fascism,
itself a major influence on the Nazis.10
I’d actually forgotten about the shirt by the time Federal Express
notified me. I didn’t recognize the sender name or address on the package.
I wondered if I should soak the package in water and open it facing away
from me, in case it was some random bomb. Then when I saw the T-shirt,
I wondered how Dell could afford it, since its sales are down nearly 50
I wore it while grocery shopping. The trend of supermarket clerks
to try and sell customers last-minute brand-name items at the checkout
aisles reached a new summit of absurdity when the clerk tried to sell
me ladies’ depilatories for my legs.
I feigned shock. “You found out.”
“Hey, I don’t judge,” the clerk coquettishly replied. She shrugged
in the direction of the depilatories. “They’re supposed to be pretty good.”
“I’ll have to take you word for it. I get enough close shaves
with the traffic around here.”
The new light rail made me 10 minutes late for work, because I
had to wait for it at a crossing. No, I couldn’t have taken the rail and
gotten to work faster, because neither my apartment nor my office is
conveniently situated near stations.12
This doesn’t mean rail
service has actually started. No, the Capital Metro transit authority
had to miss its March 30 start because of technical issues and red tape.13
Already, the agency’s blown $300 million on the project, including $41.9
million for the North Operations Center.14
Metro also owes millions to Austin and other municipalities that it can’t
Meanwhile, Statesman columnist Ben Wear figured
that the commercial hauling of limestone from quarries is a serious obstacle
to developing the proposed Austin-San Antonio commuter line.16
Similarly, Community Impact News reports the state Transportation
Department’s $30 million project at Parmer Lane and MoPac Expressway
was supposed to be done last August, but the contractors botched it. Then
TxDOT thought the project would be done in March. It’s late April at this
writing and the intersection is still under construction.17
I saw the enflamed Koreana Grill and
on the way to work March 30. Firefighting efforts stalled
southbound traffic on MoPac Expressway and eastbound traffic on Parmer
The landscape crews must’ve been in a wool-shirted snit when they
trimmed back the riparian vegetation near my section of the apartment
complex. The people conducting the annual fire inspection left the extinguisher
on the kitchen counter. Would it have killed them to reattach it under
the sink? I tidied up so they didn’t cite my apartment as a fire hazard.19
The cost of using the laundry room dryers has gone up from $1 to $1.25.
They’re the same ones since I moved in.20
Remember that if someone
tells you inflation’s under control.
Furniture store Eurway has closed.21
The Z Gallerie
furniture chain, which has a store at The Domain, has declared bankruptcy.22
The March 27 Business Journal carried an article about National
Instruments. The article was noteworthy just because it was about
the company. I’ve been cultivating a network of industry professionals
for years, and I’ve hardly ever met anyone who works or worked there –
not even when I attended an on-campus meeting of the Institute of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers, to hustle for contract work.23
On the Town
I danced with a succession of women in
slinky red dresses at the Go Dance studio social. A good time was
had by all.
What, you were expecting caustic comments delving into the
uglier range of emotions?24
The luminous turquoise water of the frond-framed
pool shone through the balcony door of the clubhouse in the southwest
hills. Inside, I alternated between two women as two DJs/dance instructors
dug into their laptop files for ‘70s salsa, especially if it featured
. It’s been a long time
since I enjoyed the company of other people quite as much as I did that
night. It was an intimate, elite party – which is a fancy way of saying
few attended: six maximum, including the two women. Earlier, when the
headcount was half that size, I sipped premium rum and listened to the
DJs dispense a lot of interesting, useful gossip about the local scene’s
Seen at a stoplight: A taupe Jeep Cherokee’s
rear sticker read, “Leave before I shed my human form and kill you.”
Of course, you had to be close enough to read the sticker in the first
Guitarist John McLaughlin’s style didn’t mesh
with everyone else in the band he co-led with Chick Corea at the UT
Performing Arts Center.25
McLaughlin used jazz theory, but
not jazz phrasing, when he soloed. That’s been the case with him since
his late ‘60s recordings, but it always fit the context.26
Not that evening. Then, he indulged in arpeggiated tuplet ostinati, or
else sounded like a bad imitation of Allan Holdsworth.27
the under-capacity audience grumbling at intermission, and witnessed them
checking their messages or leaving early during the second set.
McLaughlin’s lucky. His old bandleader Miles Davis once recounted:
If you got up on the bandstand at Minton’s and couldn’t
play, you were not only going to get embarrassed by people ignoring
you or booing you, you might get your ass kicked. One night this guy
who couldn’t play worth shit got up to try and do his thing – bullshit
– and style himself off to get some bitches, playing anything. A regular
street guy who just loved to listen to all the music was in the audience
when this dumb motherfucker got up on the stage to play, so the man just
got up quietly from his table and snatched this no-playing cat off the
stage, dragged him outside and into the alcove between the Cecil Hotel
and Minton’s, and just kicked this motherfucker’s ass. I mean real
good. Then he told the dude not to never take his ass up on the bandstand
at Minton’s again until he could play something worth listening to.28
The operetta “Queenie Pie” performed at the PAC
from the files of Duke Ellington was an almost world premiere, for reasons
too tangled to delve into here,29
before an audience full
of Michelle Obama types, for lack of a better description.30
Many of the songs could become jazz standards or adult contemporary radio
Hard Times on Sesame Street and Elsewhere
The producer of “Sesame Street” laid off 20 percent of its staff.31
Here’s one time sunny days won’t be sweeping the clouds away.32
The Hollywood trades have reported Sean Penn, Benicio del Toro
and Jim Carrey likely to appear in a new Three Stooges movie.33
Reactions on cultural Web sites range from disbelieve to outrage.34
Moe Howard’s real-life son-in-law, Norman Maurer, actually considered
doing this in the early ‘80s, with unknowns. Dad, completely outside
Hollywood show business, contacted Maurer and talked with him briefly about
auditioning. However, Maurer was already reconsidering, perhaps because
he was fielding calls from Dad and every other man of his generation in
America – but he also concluded that the classic Stooge lineup was inimitable.
Even Shemp Howard tends to be little regarded by Stooge fans – which was
the basis for the most multi-layered joke I’ve ever seen, on “Barney Miller.”35
Nevertheless, the creatives involved with this project have a daunting task
ahead. There’s so much expectation and preconception that anything short
of phenomenally brilliant would be deemed a disaster. And not in the
so-bad-it’s-good category, either. An unfunny Stooge film would be excruciating.
“Late Night With Conan O’Brien” ended its run Feb. 20. Seeing
the final episode online made me wistful. The show was on for 16 years
and I hardly ever watched it, even though I always liked it when I did.36
Yes, one of my minor regrets in life is not having watched more television.
I realized while watching “Adventureland,” a künstlerfilm
set in 1987, that many supporting actors playing the parents had lived
through that period as teens or very young twentysomethings, portrayed
therein by much younger cast mates.37
In other words, we 13ers
are now relegated to playing our parents in nostalgic tales about us.38
I felt like I was aging before my very eyes. As soon as the credits rolled,
I dashed from the theater into the light to check my hands for liver spots.
Also, I preferred my retrospective on the late
Austin Death Watch
A district judge dismissed charges against an Austin teacher for
passing a school bus and injuring a child, because the teacher hadn’t
“received a speedy trial.” Presumably, no pun was intended.39
Former Mayor Gus Garcia was unavailable for comment.40
The Chronicle continues to chortle over the slow downsizing and
sale of the Statesman.41
Blacks are protesting Highland Mall
for shutting down April 4 when they thronged the place during Texas Relay
They seem to be the only ones who want to attend,
while the anchor retailers are looking to leave pronto.43
A resident in desirable midtown complains City workers have been
tearing up sidewalks and leaving them that way.44
probably too excited by the stimulus bill to finish the job. The local
power elite got huffy over the media finding out Obama’s stimulus bill
includes $886,000 for a 36-hole Frisbee disc golf course. Maybe the City
should cancel the project and foreswear the money if it’s going to be such
an emotional issue for these people.45
Likewise, the City’s recycling program has lost nearly $1
million, even though it was supposed to have earned almost $2 million
In good news, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization,
an unaccountable and often illegally acting government
group that seeks to corral people to statist ends through centralized traffic
planning and manipulating procedural outcomes
, must scale back
its schemes to match the cutbacks in federal funding.47
Austin police finally arrested Critical Mass bicyclists who’d
been snarling traffic downtown for running red lights on March 27.48
Police also arrested cancer-riddled Chronicle columnist Stephen MacMillan
Moser for torching his boyfriend’s car in City Hall’s underground parking
Police arrived to find a flaming flivver to match
the flaming fashionista. Afterward, Moser bitched about the
unflattering ensemble he was forced to wear in jail.50
Travis County prosecutors dismissed against a case against a Northeast
Austin man, who lost a leg in a shootout with Austin police, then spent
13 months in jail, after evidence emerged that the officer fired first.51
The Texas Legislature is pondering a bill to allow concealed weapons
on college campuses, so UT students walked out of classes on April 16 to
protest the bill.52
Luckily for them, an Arab TV executive,53
or Vietnamese menial worker,55
or a Korean aspiring playwright
Actually, now that I think about it, the students should be agitating
to ban foreigners from campus.
Speaking of foreigners, a Hindu group is selling Cow Water, a health
beverage made from distilled cow urine.56
I hear it can be
quite tasty with a dash of lemon.57
Regardless, we Americans
already have something like that. It’s called Coors.
The economic meltdown has walloped the recreational vehicle
My paternal grandfather, who immigrated to America
with little more than clothes on his back and managed to avoid gunning
down crowds of natives during his residence, used to say that the number
of RVs on the road, driven slowly by slow-witted geriatrics and quickly pissing
off anybody else trying to get anywhere, were a good indication of how wealthy
the country really was. Now look what’s happened
The Associated Press reports that the labor market has a high
demand for pharmacists.59
Just like the last depression.60
The Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave
A Democratic officeholder said something I wholeheartedly agree
with. Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, expressed skepticism about Twitter.
“I’m willing to entertain the possibility that I just don’t get it because
I’m old and out-of-touch, but I think that Twitter is one of those things
that people think is hip and cool, and then they look back, and it’s this
year’s mullet.” Well said, sir.62
AD No. 119n
17 (Dec. 7, 2008); Freddoso, David. The
Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the
Media’s Favorite Candidate
. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2008:
Ch. 6, 8; Sailer, Steve. America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's Story
of Race and Inheritance
. Washington, Conn.: VDARE Foundation, 2008: Ch.
Walsh, Jim. “Obama: The Hollow Man.” Liberty
May 2009: 25.
Bradsher, Keith. “China Slows Purchase of U.S. and Other
Bonds.” NYT 13 Apr. 2009: B1; Ventura, Michael. “Stimulus, Stimuli, Stimul-la-la.”
AC 10 Apr. 2009: 30.
Calnan, Christopher. “Gun Retailers, Makers Overwhelmed.”
ABJ 27 Mar. 2009: 3.
AD No. 28 (July 10, 2001); AD No. 43 (Nov. 23, 2002);
Deavin, Samantha. “On Tax Day, Calls for Independence.” DT 16 Apr. 2009: 1-2A;
Embry, Jason. “States’ Rights Stand Revives Perry’s Profile.” AAS 16 Apr.
2009: B1+; Yadron, Danny. “ ‘Tea Parties’ Stir Crowds.” AAS 16 Apr. 2009:
Stout, David. “Obama Apologizes for Quip About Disabled
People.” NYT 21 Mar. 2009: 10.
Meet the Press. NBC-TV, 8 Dec. 2008.
Sailer, op. cit., Ch. 4.
Elliot, Bruce, and Darby Romeo. “Furniture of the ‘80s.”
Retro Hell, 77.
Johnson, Paul. A History of the Jews
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City: Harper & Row, 1987: 501; Johnson. Modern Times: The World From
the Twenties to the Nineties
, rev. ed. New York City: HarperCollins Publishers,
Zehr, Dan. “Dell Cuts Costs as Profits Fall.” AAS 27
Feb. 2009: B7.
“Capital MetroRail.” CIM Mar. 2009: 22-23.
Plohetski, Tony, and Ben Wear. “Glitches, Investigations
Will Delay Commuter Rail, Agency Says.” AAS 15 March 2009: A1; Wear. “Technical
Issues Could Delay Start of Rail Service.” AAS 27 Feb. 2009: A1; Nichols,
Lee. “Any Way to Run a Railroad?” AC 3 Apr. 2009: 24.
AD No. 105n64 (Feb. 27, 2008); Wear. “Cap Metro Battles
Debt Load.” AAS 15 March 2009: A1.
Nichols. “Cap Metro: The Wheels Come Off.” AC 27 Mar.
Wear. “Talk of Commuter Rail to San Antonio May Hit
Rock Wall.” AAS 23 Feb. 2009: B1.
Birkelbach, Candace. “Transporation Report.” CIN Feb
Brazziell, Ricardo B. “Restaurant Damaged by Fire.”
AAS 31 Mar. 2009: B2.
AMLI at Stonehollow. Letter to residents, 5 Mar. 2009.
AD No. 17n
1 (June 10, 2000).
“Community Impact: Northwest Austin.” CIM Mar. 2009:
Novak, Shonda. “Economic Troubles Hit Austin Retailers.”
AAS 15 Apr. 2009: B7.
Azevedo, Mary Ann. “National Instruments Helping Startups
Grow Into Customers.” ABJ 27 Mar. 2009: 5.
AD No. 45 (Jan. 5, 2003); AD No. 46 (Feb. 10, 2003);
AD No. 48 (Mar. 10, 2003); AD No. 53 (July 30, 2003); AD No. 60 (Dec. 20,
2003); AD No. 89 (Mar. 29, 2006); AD No. 91 (July 2, 2006); AD No. 105 (Feb.
27, 2008); AD No. 115 (Aug. 22, 2008).
Chick Corea & John McLaughlin Five Peace Band.
Advertisement. XL 19 Mar. 2009: 25.
Berendt, Joachim E., and Gunther Huesmann. The Jazz
Book : From Ragtime to Fusion and Beyond
, 5th rev. ed. Trans. H. Bredigkeit
et. al. New York City: Lawrence Hill Books, 1992: 128-135, 149-151; McLaughlin,
. Polydor PD 5510, 1972.
AD No. 119n
39 (Dec. 7, 2008).
Davis, Miles, and Quincy Troupe. Miles: The Autobiography
New York City: Simon and Schuster, 1989: 54.
Faires, Robert. “God Save the Queenie.” AC 17 Apr.
Sailer, op. cit., Ch. 10.
Johnson, Andrew Edgecliffe. “ ‘Sesame Street’ Hit as
Gloom Comes to Toytown.” FT 12 Mar. 2009, London ed.: 29.
Raposo, Joe et al. “Sesame Street.” The Sesame Street
Book & Record
. Columbia CS 1069, 1970.
Fleming, Michael. “Nyuk Pluck.” Daily Variety
26 Mar. 2009: 1-6.
Fleming. The Three Stooges: An Illustrated History,
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. New York City: Doubleday, 1999:
AD No. 48n
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Mar. 26, 2009, Austin ed.:
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Apr. 2009: 42-43; Jones, Kimberley. “Lucky Starr.” AC 3 Apr. 2009:
55; Rabin, Nathan. “Kristen Wiig.” The Onion
Apr. 2, 2009, Austin ed.:
Howe, Neil, Bill Strauss, and Ian Williams. 13th
Fen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?
New York City: Vintage Books, 1993:
Obsorn, Claire. “Case Against Teacher Dropped.” AAS
28 Feb. 2009: B1+.
AD No. 121n
23 (Jan. 5, 2009).
Brass, Kevin. “Eye of the Media Storm.” AC 6 Mar. 2009:
30+; Brass. “Local News.” AC 20 Feb. 2009: 22.
Evans, Akwasi. “Hundreds Protest Mall Closing.” Nokoa
16 Apr. 2009: 1; Wyatt, T.L. “Austin Citizens Protest the Closing of Highland
Mall During Texas Relay Weekend.” The Villager
17 Apr. 2009: 1.
Phillips, Alberta. “Don’t Blame the Businesses.” AAS
19 Apr. 2009: F3; Novak. “Dillard’s Sues Highland Mall.” AAS 11 Apr. 2009:
Lisheron, Mark. “Damaged Sidewalks Near Park Are City
Crews’ Fault, Neighbor Says.” AAS 4 Mar. 2009: B1; Lisheron. “Resident Seeks
Answers After Same Part of Street Is Torn Up for Fourth Time.” AAS 25 March
Dunbar, Wells. “City Counseling.” AC 13 Feb. 2009:
Whittaker, Richard. “Single-Stream Recycling: Now Good
Deed Goes Unpunished.” AC 17 Apr. 2009: 18.
Kwon, Jean. “Feds Force CAMPO to Pare Long-Term Plan.”
ABJ 27 Mar. 2009: 3.
Mottola, Daniel. “Critical Mass Arrests: Pride or Policy?”
AC 10 Apr. 2009: 22.
George, Patrick. “Columnist Faces Charges in Vehicle
Fire.” AAS 25 Mar. 2009: B1.
Moser, Stephen MacMillan. “After a Fashion.” AC 3 Apr.
Kreytak, Steven. “Case Halted Against Man in Shootout
With Officer.” AAS 28 Mar. 2009: A1+.
Bingham, Amy. “Students Protest Gun Bill With Walkout.”
DT 17 Apr. 2009: 1-2A.
Robbins, Liz, and Michael D. Regan. “Upstate Man Charged
With Beheading His Estranged Wife.” NYT 18 Feb. 2009: 23.
Horwitz, Sari, and Scott Higham. “D.C. Police Believed
Close to Arrest in Levy Case.” WP 22 Feb. 2009: A1.
Rivera, Ray et al. “Before Killings, Hints of Plans
and Grievance.” NYT 5 Apr. 2009: 1.
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57 My Beautiful Laundrette
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Yu, Roger. “An SOS Call for Sputtering RV Industry.”
USAT 20 Mar. 2009: 6D.
AP. “What Jobs Are in Demand?” Grand Rapids Press
11 Mar. 2009: A13.
60 Pardon My Scotch
. Columbia Pictures, 1935.
Novak. “Mall Faces Forceclosure.” AAS 16 Apr. 2009:
Whittaker. “TechnoLegeBacklash: Strama Slags Twitter.”
AC 10 Apr. 2009: 20.