Austin Dispatches
No. 136
Aug. 10, 2010

After compiling my picks of 1969, I thought I was through with nostalgia for awhile. However, a spate of media retrospectives on the 30th anniversary of this or that[1] induced an ex-colleague and me into a recent reverie for 1980.[2] Specifically, mid-1980, or roughly mid-May through late July.[3] The period started about six or seven months into my paying attention to the world at large. If the high school graduation issue was about the beginning of the end of era, and my reaction to it, this is about the end of the beginning.


A quick check with YouTube and other Web repositories verified our recollections, but I'm still amazed at how vivid  the memories are of various news events and cultural offerings, my moods and reactions to aforesaid events and offerings, and other people's moods and reaction to same. Next, I re-realize it's 30 years later, my life is better now, the world at large is worse, yet I can't even say that the time flew by.[4]


Mostly, it seemed, then and in retrospect, to drag or actively resist my attempts to progress toward some better "transformation of self and circumstance." That’s besides other people’s static or active resistance.


Subjectively, the difference is that during progress, or at least the delusion thereof, the tempo accelerates. If circumstances are really good, time simultaneously quickens and stops. I haven’t come across any material that deals with this topic, so I don’t know if this is just my quirky perception or whether other people have experienced the same thing.[5]


Now, as I drive about Austin, the light, the still, humid weather, and the shaggy overgrowth of the untended land- and streetscapes remind me strongly of summer 2001. Given how that ended, my follow-up mood is uneasy.


On the Town


e136fig2On July 10, a plethora of women from around Texas who looked like Miss Universe contestants gathered at a dance studio in the West Austin hills. The out-of-towners drove at least 75 miles for the salsa social. So what did they do? These women stood on the sidelines, guzzling energy drinks, checking their cell phones or yakking with each, and alternating between the averted gaze to avoid acknowledging men’s appraising looks or nervously glances about the room while they judged each other. They could’ve stayed in their towns to do all that and saved themselves a trip.


Despite this, I managed to dance frequently with numerous new acquaintances from outside Greater Austin.[6] Later, every light cooperated so that my trip home was nonstop, a rarity.


Sex and Violins


To my dismay, “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky,” about the fictional doomed adultery between the two real-life members of the international smart set 90 years ago, did not feature a cameo of my namesake great-grandfather. It’s conceivable he met Stravinsky, based on their close ages and shared nationality and occupation, though I never heard about it. Still, since the movie’s made up anyway, it would’ve been fun to see great-grandpa interrupting the proceedings with unsolicited comments: “You can’t score violins like that. Igor, you should’ve stayed in law school.”[7]


Austin Death Watch


Katz’s Deli has filed for bankruptcy reorganization. The papers think the irony of the story is that CNBC just featured the deli as an example of Texas’ great business climate. [8] The real irony is that owner Marc Katz proclaims Jews smarter than goyim on page 2 of Deli News, the menu designed to resemble a tabloid. Elsewhere, the City zoning regulators are hassling the owner of the El Patio restaurant over a dirt lot used for parking.[9]


e136fig3Oregon State University is suing an Austin bar for using a mascot logo similar to OSU's "Benny Beaver." The bar paid the artist who created the logo in drinks.[10] Incidentally, OSU once received a jape from Mad magazine about the dismal quality of its football team.[11] Austin Dispatches will continue to gnaw on this case as quips come to mind.


The Daily Texan editorial board is incensed that Cap Metro is looking to gouge UT students for its shuttle service to make up for it's hemorrhaging revenues elsewhere.[12] It's not just you kids. We're all getting screwed by Cap Metro's continued existence.[13]


Also at UT, the university’s proposed UT brand water in a plastic water bottle incensed environmentalists so much they stopped squawking about the Gulf oil spill and started protesting about the water bottle on campus.[14] UT, like most campuses, chiefly pumps out credentialed people with no real skills except at undermining Western civilization (“social engineering”).[15] But occasionally, these enragés turn on their creators when the latter or trying to accomplish something – like funding the creation of more enragés.[16]


Public comments at the July 30 City Council meeting indicated a strong discontent with the Austin police, who behave like autonomous, quasi-criminal headbreakers. The comments were input as the Council considered, then rejected, paying the family of someone the police gunned down last year.[17] Unaddressed was the issue of whether we'd be better off without the police, but the sentiments expressed were just a few logical steps away.


Speaking of meter maids with guns, the City is mulling extended the operating hours of parking meters, possibly to 8 p.m., to gouge more money out of us and kill downtown.[18]


The Chronicle reports that the multiple plans for Central Texas painstakingly assembled by busybodies are uncoordinated with each other.[19] This might be the hairline fracture we can exploit to expand our freedom.


According to a report cited by the Business Journal and the Statesman, Austin is experiencing a big decline in volunteerism.[20] Various volunteer group leaders question the report’s methodology and conclusion, as does a friend of mine who’s volunteered in charitable efforts for several years. I suspect if we are seeing a decline in charitable activity, it’s a result of a multiethnic polity – “diversity” – experiencing the inevitible  decline in trust, and thus in social cohesion, and thus in willingness to volunteer to help strangers.[21] Also, there’s the inherent hypocrisy of smug social democratic hipsters.[22]


The City wants $14.4 million for a 1-mile boardwalk for bicyclists.[23] Remember, this is the same City that can’t seem to scrounge up enough money to fill potholes.[24]


Owners of the Echelon I office building are ready to rebuild. However, the makeover replaces the '80s exterior design.[25] Damn you, Joe Stack.


The Statesman reports the Austin Independent School District flunked its targets set under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. No child is left behind because no child ever advances, and too many children in the clutches of the district were learning and progressing.[26]


Community Impact News reports that more City residents have been getting chickens for pets. Far be it from Austin Dispatches to cluck about a story that’s already flown the coop. The residents must abide by chickenshit regulations, or else run afoul of City regulators, but that’s a bird of different feather.[27]


Political Follies


The Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum of San Marcos is expanding.[28] Yeah, like a cancer.[29] After a scummy political career and foisting a corporatist warfare-welfare agenda on America that hobbles us to this day,[30] "Central Texas remains his country," reports the Statesman.[31] That's because government programs have created a population of bureaucrats in our midst, determined to bleed us dry.[32] However, in all this time, I've met one local who volunteered for Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign. Whereas even now I can go anywhere in the country and meet numerous people who volunteered for Barry Goldwater.[33]


LBJ’s successor, Barack Obama, visited Austin this week, fundraising on behalf of Democrats and screwing up traffic for anybody who had to be downtown or in the U-District. Thanks, Barry.[34]


Business Roundup


A client with whom I worked briefly a few years ago is even further along toward complete disaster, with “contractual violations” and “chronic failures.”[35]


Dell paid $100 million to settle a fraud case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.[36] However, the SEC has a history of its officials filing suit against successful businesses, businessmen and investors, for being successful, just to gain status among fellow bureaucrats.[37] The SEC’s actions even contributed to the 1990-91 recession.[38] In far too many instances, the defendants have concluded that it’s cheaper to settle than to fight these pests in court. 


The Onion’s July 22 Austin edition features a guide to eateries that serve offal.[39]


Neighborhood News


The Whole Foods grocery project at The Domain is back on, this time for an opening in 2013.[40] Two dessert shops have opened in the neighborhood.[41]


Media Indigest


The Washington Post's parent company has sold Newsweek – Time without the panache – for $1. I'd've outbid the auto magnate who bought it, but I had to launder my clothes.[42] 



[1] Seitz, Matt Zoller. "Surely It's 30 (Don't Call Me Shirley!)" NYT 27 Jun. 2010, New York ed.: AR13.

[2] Rossi, Frank. “Re: Has It Been 30 Years Already?” E-mail to Dan Eisler, 21 Jun. 2010.

[3] Eisler. Letter to Mary Ruth Kiser, 25 Jul. 2010.

[4] Eisler. “Re: Has It Been 30 Years Already?” E-mail to Rossi, 30 Jun. 2010.

[5] Eisler. Letter to Kiser, op. cit.

               Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisble Man contains a passage that touches on the topic, but the narrator-protagonist experiences shifting tempos of time while he’s under the influence of marijuana. Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York City: Random House, 1952: 6-11.

[6] Eisler. Letter to Kiser, op. cit.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Colby, David. "Even Bankruptcy Can't Close Katz's." DT 26 Jul. 2010: 1-2; Copelin, Laylan. “Katz: Debt Won’t Close Deli.” AAS 23 Jul. 2010: B1+.

[9] Kelso, John. “El Patio’s Dirt Lot Sparks a Dust-Up With Neighbors.” AAS 16 Jul. 2010, final ed.: B1+.

[10] Kelso. "Leave It to Beaver to Get Austin Bar Into Legal trouble." AAS 23 Jul. 2010: B1+.

[11] Koch, Tom, and Al Jaffe. “ ‘If Elected, I Solemnly Promise…’ ” Mad Dec. 1982: 17.

[12] Cleveland, Heath. "Easy Money." DT 23 Jul. 2010: 4.

[13] Nichols, Lee. “Cap Metro Survey Shows Drop in Satisfaction.” AC 6 Aug. 2010: 20; Idem. “MetroRail in Search of Riders.” 16 Jul. 2010: 22.

[14] AD No. 135n3 (July 21, 2010); West, Aaron. "Protestors Speak Out Against UT Water Bottle." DT 26 Jul. 2010: 1-2.

[15] Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Nineties, rev. ed. New York City: HarperPerennial, 1992: 776-777; Nisbet, Robert A. The Degradation of the Academic Dogma. New York City: Basic Books, 1971; North, Gary. Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1996: 641; Sowell, Thomas. Inside American Education: The Decline, the Deception, the Dogmas. New York City: The Free Press, 1993.

[16] Schama, Simon. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989: 948.

[17] Dunbar, Wells. “In the Shadow of Sanders ….” AC 6 Aug. 2010: 12; Idem., “Sanders Settlement Collapses.” 14-15; King, Michael. “Deciding What to Settle For.” Idem., 30 Jul. 2010: 14+; Idem. “Hanging Together or Apart.” 6 Aug. 2010: 10+; Plohetski, Tony. "Council Rejects Sanders Deal 4-3." AAS 30 Jul. 2010, final ed.: A1+.

[18] Dirr, Jacob. “Downtown Parking Scrutinized.” ABJ 30 Jul. 2010: A3+; Wise, Leah. “Paid Parking Hours May Be Extended.” DT 5 Aug. 2010: 1-2.

[19] Gregor, Katherine. “Best-Laid Plans.” AC 16 Jul. 2010: 26+.

[20] Ball, Andrea. “Report: City Sees Big Drop in Volunteerism.” AAS 17 Jul. 2010: B1.

[21] AD No. 134n26 (July 10, 2010).

[22] Lander, Christian. Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions. New York City: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2008.

[23] Wear, Ben. "Trail Add-on Part of Bond Vote." AAS 6 Aug. 2010, final ed.: A1+.

[24] AD No. 116n18 (Sep. 7, 2008).

[25] Harrell, Barry. "Echelon I Ready for Its Makeover." AAS 6 Aug. 2010, final ed.: A1+: B1+.

[26] Taboada, Melissa B. "Austin Misses No Child Left Behind Goal." AAS 6 Aug. 2010, final ed.: A1+.

[27] Wilkinson, Kelsey. “Chicken City Limits.” CIN Jul. 2010: 11.

[28] George, Patrick. “Room for Presidential Personality.” AAS 6 Jul. 2010: B1.

[29] Patterson, James T. The Dread Disease: Cancer and Modern American Culture. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1987.

[30] AD No. 125n39 (June 20, 2009); Johnson, op. cit., 634-641.

[31] George, op. cit.

[32] AD No. 127n2 (Sep. 21, 2009).

[33] Dean, John W., and Barry M. Goldwater Jr. Pure Goldwater. New York City: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008: Ch. 9; Doherty, Brian. Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. New York City: PublicAffairs, 2007: 307-312, 348-349; Edwards, Lee. Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Pub., 1995: Ch. 8-11, 13-17; Goldwater, Barry M., and Jack Casserly. Goldwater. New York City: Doubleday, 1988: Ch. 6-7; Novak, Robert D. The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington. New York City: Crown Forum, 2007: Ch. 12-14; Viguerie Richard A., and David Franke. America’s Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power. Chicago: Bonus Books, 2004: Ch. 6.

[34] Haurwitz, Ralph K.M. “Obama Adds UT Talk to Austin Stop.” AAS 6 Aug. 2010: B1-2; Hicks, Nolan. “Obama to Visit UT, Talk About Higher Ed.” DT 6 Aug. 2010: 1-2.

[35] Alexander, Kate. “IBM Pact With State in Verge of Crumbling.” AAS 17 Jul. 2010, final ed.: A1.

[36] Ladendorf, Kirk. "Dell Paying $100 Million to Settle SEC Fraud Case." AAS 23 Jul. 2010: A1+.

[37] Casey, Douglas. "Gordon Gekko, Michael Milken, and Me." Liberty Jan. 1991: 51; Friedman, Milton, and Rose Friedman. Free to Chose: A Personal Statement, rev. ed. Orlando, Fla.: Harvest/Harcourt, 1990: 298; Fischel, Daniel R. Payback: The Conspiracy to Destroy Michael Milken and His Revolution. New York City: HarperBusiness, 1995.

[38] Anderson, William L., and Candice E. Jackson. "It's the Economy, Stupid: Rudy Giuliani, the Wall Street Prosecutions, and the Recession of 1990-91." JLS Fall 2005: 22.

[39] Davis, Justin. “This Food Is Offal: Where Can a Person Get a Decent Plate of Pancreas in This Town.” The Onion 22 Jul. 2010, Austin ed.: 25.

[40] Gaar, Brian. "Whole Foods to Add Stores in Austin Area as Rivals Encroach." AAS 4 Aug. 2010, final ed.: A6.

[41] “Community Impacts: Northwest Austin.” CIN Jul. 2010: 5; Wilkinson, Kelsey. “Business Profile: Lick It Bit It or Both.” Idem., 7.

[42] AD No. 126n1 (Aug. 10, 2009); Clark, Andrew. “U.S. Tycoon Buys Newsweek Magazine in Cut-Price Deal.” The Guardian 3 Aug. 2010: 23.