"If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell" -- U.S. Army Gen. Philip Sheridan, 1866
Austin Dispatches
No. 140
May 4, 2011

e140fig2 Natch, Fleet Street and cable news have sensationalized the wildfires blazing throughout the state to worry my folks. The drought’s causing the wildfires,1 and we’ve experienced droughts before.2 

Movie Versions We’d Like to See

In mid-April, “Atlas Shrugged,” perhaps the last famous novel previously deemed unfilmable, appeared in movie theaters nationwide.3 It was the best unintentional comedy I’ve seen since “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.”4 This latest cinematic floperoo was obviously fiction because it portrays some yuppie skirt running a company successfully, instead of into the ground.5 In terms of craft, way too many scenes looked underlit, maybe because in the near future, America still endures the ban on incandescent bulbs.6 Also, too many office scenes looked like they were filmed in a hallway, in the manner of the low-budget movies satirized on “Mystery Science Theater.”  Source author Ayn Rand would still be delighted, because the actress portraying aforesaid yuppie skirt vaguely resembles that babushka’s idealized self-image: blonde and thin.7 However, Taylor Schilling’s jaw, like Rand’s, is too mannish.8 

Still, I can imagine worse versions. Such as:
As is typical during periods of cinematic hype,  I also saw a better film that same weekend: “Kill the Irishman.” Despite the title, it's not about a solution to Pat Dixon's squirrely behavior during and since the Portland convention, but a Mob movie set in the '70s.20

Sadly, even a middling wallow in ‘80s nostalgia like “Take Me Home Tonight” was better than “Atlas Shrugged”— at least for $1.75.21 The lead actress resembles Kristen Stewart, although she doesn’t bite her lower lip, tug at her hair, or speak haltingly.  I can’t wait for the sequel, “Fake My Loan Tonight,” set 18 years later when the characters all work for subprime mortgage lenders in California

I still prefer my take on the late ‘80s, though.  Furthermore, I can imagine a period retrospective film I’d like to see:

I, young and rich, having for most of 1988 picaresquely swanked about the world’s golf courses, restaurants, nightclubs, and jazz festivals, interspersed with national conventions, arrive September’s first weekend in Phoenix,22 where Vice President Jim Lewis is to accept the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.23 Despite the peace and prosperity continued by the Bergland administration’s laissez-faire policies,24 and even enhanced by the record-low tariff established by the Revenue Act of 1986,25 the Nutmeg state native faces strong competition in the fall campaign season from Republican Paul Laxalt26 of Deseret,27 and former congressmen Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas,28 and James C. Griffin, AM-Calif.29 

Audiences might object to seeing my smug puss on screen for 90 minutes,  and appalled by a world refashioned according to my political, social, and culture preferences. But as long as we’re improving on reality ….30

In music, San Francisco’s second-weirdest pop group’s second masterpiece, “The Completion Backwards Principle,” has been re-released in an expanded edition.31Another band broadly in the same style from the same era is back on tour but didn’t have new material, so it rerecorded its hits and challenged listeners to “Spot the Difference.” In other words, Squeeze is trying to squeeze more money out of its fans.32 

The Daily Texan reports a resurgence of Tiki cocktail culture in selected Austin bars.33 

On the Town

April 6: I returned to Enzo’s for a dull, disappointing salsa social.  The DJ had reverted to his usual ear-splitting volume, and the women preferred to check their cell phones, order expensive cocktails, and complain to their boyfriends about what a lousy time they were having. The boyfriends said nothing. I left early.

About 1:30 a.m., my cell phone awoke me from a restful slumber. By the time I resigned myself to opening my eyes, untangling myself from the sheets, and answering the call, the caller switched to asking for an unspecified “favour” by text message. I wondered who it was. Few know my cell number, and they all know not to use British spelling, especially around me. 

Later that morning, I replied, and a text volley culminated in an actual phone conversation. Eventually, I realized I was talking to some chick who’s fat, ugly, and stupid – possibly drunk, too, at Enzo’s, with her boyfriend. I met her at an all-around disastrous Christmas party in 2009 and gave her my number just to be polite, and even that courtesy, under the circumstances, induced self-loathing.34 Sixteen months later, my worst anticipation came true. She said she was rattled by my not remembering who she was. I backtracked on meeting for lunch when I did remember.

April 22: To pay proper respects to Earth Day, a neopagan holiday founded by a U.S. senator,35 I left the air conditioning and fans running in my apartment while I drove, air conditioning at full blast, to Round Rock for a breakfast of grains and dead animal protein. Then I bought groceries put into flimsy plastic bags that I discarded with the rest of the garbage.

April 30: Brazilian guitarist Gabriel Santiago fronted a big band at a church off East 51st Street to showcase some extended compositions. He made good use of his voicings for the instruments.
Austin Death Watch

A big-time Austin developer is on trial with others in U.S. district court for allegedly fronting a real estate Ponzi scheme orchestrated by the Russian mob.36 However, over some Finlandia shots and rabbit pirozhki, international businessman Boris Petrovich Miruzhenko told Austin Dispatches that the allegations were false. “We want make money on schemes, not fuck around placating local power structure.”37

As an example, Miruzhenko cited the Austin Water Utility encouraging people to conserve water for environmental reasons. People heeded the utility. Then the utility realized people using less water would cost it millions.38 Now the utility wants to increase water rates by 35 percent to make up for you using less water. Next time you look at your utility bill, thank an environmentalist.39

Police arrested a vagrant after his campfire destroyed eight houses and damaged another 10 in the Oak Hill neighborhood.40 Predictably, local officials called for more money and bureaucracy, instead something more effective, like rousting bums out of the county.41

Chronicle Editor Louis Black’s April 8 column reveals that the weekly’s staff not only griped to him that they were underpaid, but that the rest of the staff was overpaid. In other words, a bunch of lazy, mush-headed pinkos with massive welfare-entitlement mentalities and consumed with envy begrudged even their own colleagues’ financial advancement.42 Remember that when you read their criticism of the hardworking people around them that the local power elite regards as a bunch of pack animals.

For example, a local civic group’s annual report frets that more poor families live in Austin, despite the power elite’s efforts to drive them out. Remarkably, the Daily Texan story reports the real reason Community Action Network, a bunch of buttinskis who function in relation to government agencies the way associates do to made men in the Mafia, is so concerned: Poor families don’t pay enough in taxes. This means local governments can’t dole out as much pork, which means auxiliaries like Community Action Network can’t get their slices, ostensibly for programs to help poor families even though there are more of them now, threatening the whole game.43 

April 19, the University of Texas System fired an official who accused his superiors of “suppressing data showing that a growing sum of tuition and taxpayer money is paid to professors and administrators who do little teaching.”44 This isn’t really news to anybody who’s paid attention. Milton Friedman addressed this more than 30 years ago, and it was probably common knowledge even then.45 Still, it’s nice to have an insider confirm it. Didn’t help his career, though.46

In a related vein, the plantiff’s attorney in the infamous Roe vs. Wade case will see her job, as adjunct professor at UT’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, snuffed like a 13er fetus in a Boomer’s womb because of budget cuts.47 You’ve come a long way, baby.

The City of Austin has calculated that even $200 million won’t be enough for its first phase of urban rail – not to be confused with the existing MetroRail. To build a system that’ll please the local power elite is so expensive that even the elite doesn’t expect to fund it fully with voter-approved debt. Instead, they hope to get a federal grant, even though the feds owe some $14 trillion.48

April 26, I attended an Austin City Council candidates’ forum at Lanier High School, sponsored by the North Austin Coalition of Neighborhoods.49 Overall, the forum made me regret renewing my apartment lease.50
A few days later I received a mailer from Place 1 incumbent Chris Riley. The back photo looks as though he’s got a large booger plastered on his forehead. Probably just some blot during production, but apparently Riley and crew scrutinized his campaign literature as well as they do the City’s business. Conclusion: Austin Death Watch will continue as a feature of this Webzine
In his April 29 column, Chronicalista Michael King deplores the low voter turnout in Austin municipal elections.51 This is the same gringo exulting over the increasing non-white majority according to the latest Census results.52 Obviously, King can’t or won’t make the connection, so I’ll do it for him: Increasing diversity within a polity results in decreased overall civic participation, including voting, on top of already lower civic participation by non-whites.53 If Austin’s current voters mobilize, King’s comrades will be driven out of power, and if the hitherto apathetic non-whites mobilize, King and his comrades will also be driven out of power.54 Increased voter turnout is the last thing he ought to clamor for. In fact, the April 29 edition also contains a dismissal of Place 1 challenger Roger Chan, in a tone so petulant you’d think Chan had botched the Chronicle staff’s dry cleaning or something.55 This public service has been brought to you by Austin Dispatches.

Tentacles of Empire

Austin police have charged a U.S. Army recruiter with sexual assault in 2009.56 If only he’d molested a man, he’d be promoted under the new fagified military.57 


Patoski, Joe Nick. “After Fire, Wind and Drought, Something Good Will Follow.” NYT 29 Apr. 2011: 23A.
2 Smith, Ron. “Central Texas Drought Hurts – but Not Like 1950s Dry Spell.” Southwest Farm Press 3 Sep. 2009: 1-6.
3 Atlas Shrugged: Part I. The Strike Productions, 2011.
4 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Franchise Pictures/Chris Lee Productions/MHF Erste Academy Film GmbH & Co. Produktions KG/Dante Entertainment/Epsilon Motion Pictures/SuperMega, 2002.
5 Doherty, Brian. Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. New York City: PublicAffairs, 2007: 333-334; Keegan, Rebecca. LAT. “ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Producer Gives In.” Minneapolis Star Tribune 2 May 2011: E2.
6 AD No. 105n8 (Feb. 27, 2008).
7 Burns, Jennifer. Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. New York City: Oxford UP, 2009: 122.
8 Eisler, Dan. “Re: Best Review Yet.” E-mail to R. Anthony Steele, 16 Apr. 2011.
9 “Discothèque Dancing.” Life 22 May 1964: 97-100+; Machan, Tibor R. The Man Without a Hobby: Adventures of a Gregarious Egoist. Lanham, Md.: UP of America, 2004: 77.
10 Greenspan, Alan. The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, rev. ed. New York City: Penguin Books, 2008: 116; Merrill, Ronald E. The Ideas of Ayn Rand. Chicago: Open Court, 1991: 132; Woodward, Bob, and Carl Bernstein. All the President's Men. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1974.
11 Branden, Nathaniel [Nathan Blumenthal]. My Years With Ayn Rand, rev. ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999: 370; The French Connection. Schine-Moore Productions/D'Antoni Productions, 1971.
12 Manso, Peter. Mailer: His Life and Times, rev. ed. New York City: Washington Square Press, 2008: 105.
13 Gray, Paul, and Janice C. Simpson. “The Impish Iconoclast at 60.” Time 18 Apr. 1983: 59.
14 Cavett, Dick, and Christopher Porterfield. Cavett. New York City: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974: 299-300.
15 Mailer, Norman. Of a Fire on the Moon. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1970: 15.
16 Doherty, op. cit., 232, 333, 336; Klein, Robert. The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue: A Child of the Fifties Looks Back. New York City: Touchstone, 2005; Nachman, Gerald. Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s. New York City: Pantheon Books, 2003: 591-626.
17 alt.culture, 87-88, 110.
18 Eisler. “Re: Bring Me the Head of Wayne Allyn Schmuck.” E-mail to Angela Keaton, 18 Nov. 2010.
19 “Four New Video Games With a Knack for Storytelling.” USAT 26 Jan. 2010: 2D.
20 Eisler. “Re: Best Review Yet,” op. cit.
21 Eisler. “No, We Never Do Get Out of the ‘80s.” E-mail to Joel McCorquodale, 5 Feb. 2011; Eisler. “Re: SF Response.” E-mail to Steele, 14 Apr. 2011.
22 “Arthur, Chester Alan” [R.W. Bradford]. “The Libertarians’ Quandry.” Liberty Aug. 1987: 36.
23 Day, Glenn. Minor Presidential Candidates and Parties of 1988. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1988: 109; Wright, Brian. “Don Quixote in the Emerald City.” Liberty Dec. 1987: 12.
24 Bergland, David. Libertarianism in One Lesson, 8th rev. ed. Cartersville, Ga.: Advocates for Self-Government, 2005: 188.
25 Pub.L. 99-514, 100 Stat. 2085, 1986.
26 Campaign for President: The Managers Look at ’88. Ed. David R Runkel. Westport, Conn.: Auburn House, 1989: 19.
27 White, Richard. "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West. Norman, Okla.: U of Oklahoma P, 1991: 164-166.
28 Dewhirst, Robert E. et al. Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. New York City: Facts on File, 2007: 188.
29 Morrison, Patt. “Three Minor-Party Hopefuls Aim to Be November Spoilers.” LAT 22 Oct. 1988, home ed.: 26.
30 Eisler, “Re: SF Response,” op. cit.
31 EAD No. 9n46 (Oct. 23, 1999); Keister, John. “Tubes Untied.” The Rocket Sep. 1981: 19; The Tubes. The Completion Backward Principle, expanded ed. Iconclassic 1021, 2011.
32 Squeeze. Spot the Difference. XOXO 002, 2010.
33 Rich, Gerald. "Tiki-Themed Concocations Make Return in Austin Bars." DT 14 Apr. 2011: 10.
34 AD No. 130n20 (Feb. 17, 2010).
35 Bandow, Doug. The Politics of Envy: Statism as Theology. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994: 62; Nelson, Gaylord, Susan Campbell, and Paul R. Wozniak. Beyond Earth Day: Fulfilling the Promise. Madison, Wis.: U of Wisconsin P, 2002: 7.
36 Dirr, Jacob. “Alleged Ponzi Scheme at Heart of Lawsuit.” ABJ 4 Mar. 2011: A3+.
37 Friedman, Robert I. Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 2000.
38 AD No. 139n20.
39 Dirr. “Water Rates May Need to Rise Fairly Fast.” ABJ 8 Apr. 2011: A1+.
40 Vail, Isadora. “1 Charged in Fire.” AAS 18 Apr. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
41 Plohetski, Tony. “Blaze Stirs Officials to Call for Changes.” AAS 19 Apr. 2011: A1+.
42 Black, Louis. “An Injury to All.” AC 8 Apr. 2011: 4+; Schoeck, Helmut. Der Neid: Eine Theorie der Gesellschaft. Freiburg, F.R.G.: Herder-Bücherei, 1966. Trans. Michael Glenny and Betty Ross. Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour. 1969. Rpt. Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1987.
43 Koletcha, Allie. “Low-Income Families on Rise in Travis County.” DT 13 Apr. 2011: 5.
44 Haurwitz, Ralph K.M. “Official Ousted in UT Tussle.” AAS 20 Apr. 2011, final ed.: A1+; Stottlemyre, Matthew. “Adviser Leaves UT System After Outcry.” DT 20 Apr. 2011: 1-2.
45 Friedman, Milton, and Rose Friedman. Free to Chose: A Personal Statement, rev. ed. Orlando, Fla.: Harvest/Harcourt, 1990: 176.
46 Haurwitz. “Panel Weighs Value of Universities’ Research.” AAS 30 Apr. 2011, final ed.: A1+; Luippold, Douglas. “Goodbye, Rick O’Donnell.” DT 21 Apr. 2011: 4; Stottlemyre. “Firing of System Adviser Was ‘Late Coming.’ ” DT 21 Apr. 2011: 1-2.
47 Sanders, Ahsika. “Notable Professor, Attorney to Lose Job Over Budget Cuts.” DT  26 Apr. 2011: 1-2; Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584-2069. New York City: William Morrow and Co., 1991: 324.
48 Wear, Ben. “Starter Rail Plan Not Yet on Track.” AAS 24 Apr. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
49 Hong, Jake. “Voters Question City Candidates on Police, Traffic During Forum.” DT 27 Apr. 2011: 1-2.
50 Eisler. “Council Candidates Evaluation.” E-mail to Steele et al., 26 Apr. 2011.
51 King, Michael. “Hiding in Plain Sight.” AC 29 Apr. 2011: 15+.
52 Idem. “Back to the Color Line.” 31 Dec. 2010: 13+.
53 AD No. 134n26 (Jul. 10, 2010).
54 AD No. 43n8 (Nov. 23, 2002).
55 Dunbar, Wells. “Place 1: Significant Minor Victories.” AC 29 Apr. 2011: 26.
56 Grisales, Claudia. “More Claims Arise Against Recruiter.” AAS 8 Apr. 2011: A1.
57 Tice, Jim. “Chaplains’ Chief to Lead Class on ‘Don’t Ask’ Repeal.” Army Times 28 Feb. 2011: 23.