Salad in the Sun
|Aug. 6, 2011
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas
recommended raising the thermometer temperature setting to avoid brownouts.
I tried being civically responsible, but I sweltered when I returned from
work. I’ll take my chances with brownouts.1
Because of the drought, the City canceled the Independence Day pyrotechnics.
Because of that, the Austin Symphony Orchestra canceled its annual concert.2
Furthermore, Travis County Judge Samuel Biscoe banned the sale and use of
fireworks in unincorporated parts of the County.3 Actually, since
the local power elite has more allegiance to international corporatism than
to the principles of the Founding Fathers4 or to the Texas Revolution,5
they might as well dispense with the pretense.6
The cops certainly have. The June 24 Chronicle cover feature delves into
their propensity for abusing their authority under the guise of public
As for the Austin City Council, a Conroe activist has forced councilmen
to pay a total of $1,500 in small fines in ethics violations, in retaliation
for the City’s boycott of Arizona because Arizona is cracking down on illegal
A resident’s complaint about a zoning violation prompted City bureaucrats
to force eight food vendors to close or relocate from a church parking
lot.9 The bureaucrats also yanked the business permits of three
Eastside barbecue joints for buying stolen meat.10
At its June 29 meeting the Council approved spending $4 million for the
Formula One racetrack,11 on top of the $25 million Texas pledged. Now the City
bureaucrats are thinking of annexing the area so the City can collected millions
in property and sales taxes.12 Nevertheless, the bureaucrats
are pushing higher property taxes and utility fees for everybody in the City
budget draft for next year.13
To keep the trains running, Capital Metro has been bleeding the other
mass transit options, including eliminating taxi vouchers for cripples, to
the Chronicle’s dismay.14 What’s next, Cap Metro stealing from
widows and orphans? Wisner Construction Co. quit in the midst of building
flyover ramps at the MoPac Boulevard/U.S. Highway 290 intersection.15
The Austin “Independent” School District flunked the goals set by the
federal No Child Left Behind (Because No Child Ever Advances) Act for the
third successive year. The Statesman article contains the usual finger pointing
and buck passing from the guilty parties.16 We should end the
charades, admit that some children, especially in Austin, are just chronically
stupid and fit only for menial labor or catching a bullet in the Middle East.
Cletus, you’re not the man or yeoman your forefathers were, so shut the
fuck up and do as you’re told. Then we won’t have to import the foreign hordes
for that sort of work. Such an approach would also be a good step toward
abolishing mandatory schooling and its one-size-fits-all method of teaching.17
Even the Chronicle has doubts about the wisdom of banning plastic bags
as the Council prepares to do just that.18
Missing the Point
It’s one of the rare recent sensible realizations from that rag. Editor
Louis Black authored another convoluted column in the July 15 Chronicle.
This time, he spewed a lot of words to write about the paper’s redesign, increasing
distinctiveness of the online edition, and shorter length of his column.19
Despite those and other changes, I'm confident the Chronicle news staff will
continue to miss the point when it attempts conclusions to articles. Let's
consider some recent examples.
The Chronicle continues to excuse evil in its July 1 edition, where it
laments the use of the death penalty for duly convicted felons. The article’s
scribe praises Washington, with a confessed serial killer sucking up tax
money for life in prison, and contemns Texas for executing 470 felons since
1976.20 So few? Back when I contemplated
running for governor, I intended to advocate stepping up the
pace of executions as a long-run savings. Moreover, I was going to use
Abdelkrim Belachheb, illegal Muslim foreigner and convicted mass murderer,
as whipping boy No. 1. What was he gonna do, sue for libel? He’s sitting
in solitary at some cost to us Texans.21 Alternately, I could’ve
supported public stonings of said felons for the same rationale.22
Speaking of the Muzzie menace, the Chronicle’s July 15 issue tut-tuts
the conservative concern over the presence of Harmony Public Schools, 30
Turkish Muslim religious charter schools in the state, including Northwest
Austin. You’d think religious education, and particularly the Muslim worldview,
would be anathema to the secularist scribes at the Chronicle, but if “right-wingers”
are again’ it, they’re for it.23 Their knees jerked so
fast their shoes indented their foreheads, exacerbating their brain damage.
The real issue, of course, is that Turks or other Muslims shouldn’t be in
Texas any more than they should be outside the Gates of Vienna.24
The same edition covers how bureaucrats from the City Code Compliance
Department are harassing artists at the forefront of gentrifying East Austin.25
Predictably, the article avoids the real issues: the existence of zoning
and housing code regulations as a means of intrinsic governmental harassment,
with a) the local angle of said harassment undercutting the artsy ambience
Austin supposedly wants to cultivate; and b) the way in which artists have
been used as pawns by the local power elite to drive
blacks and Mexicans out of newly desirable neighborhoods.26
I caught some of that when I made the mistake of attending a special
meeting of the North Austin Coalition of Neighborhoods and spent 90 minutes
listening to old white women plan how to stick their noses into others’
business and businesses at a glacial pace (three to five years) with the
backing of government, in this case represented by a trio of shifty-eyed
cops and a hyperactive City employee. Most of the talk specifically was of
how to solve the problems of North Lamar Boulevard, roughly from Highway
183 up to Parmer Lane, which doesn’t conform architecturally, esthetically,
or racially to old white women’s notions of How It Ought to Be. They talked
around that last part, of course.27 Also, perhaps because of the
audience composition at the meeting – they looked like a lot of losers beaten
by life, which is to say they were aging hippies on the verge of senility
– nobody questioned whether these improvement schemes were realistic when
the federal government’s been teetering on default.28
On the other hand, for once Black’s artistic enthusiasms merit praise:
his July 22 reference to the French art movie “Celine and Julie Go Boating.”29
But if lottery odds were this good, you’d go broke.
A free arts magazine new to me, Origin, lumps the major Texas cities
in with San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City – and covers them with
the same pompous yet wafty prose. One article, “Children and Their Love of
Art,” inadvertently delivers a twist on the old criticism of modern art being
something a child could do. The article’s artwork not only rivals that done
by adults in the rest of the magazine, the children also make better use
On the Town
June 22: After a satisfying evening at Enzo’s, I encountered a
St. Bernard-poodle mix that resembled Sammy Hagar.
Since it didn’t bark approvingly when I said “Cabo Wabo,” it probably wasn’t
the red rocker.
July 10: While brooding about my circumstances while operating
heavy machinery, at the intersection of Highway 290 and South Congress Avenue
I saw someone who looked like a serious bicyclist, down to the bright European
bicycling attire, while simultaneously puffing on a cigarette. We’ll see
which endeavor wins.
At Ruta Maya, I told
this to “Melanie Ordones Welker” over coffee and dessert. Rather, she was
having coffee and dessert. That I bought for her. Because she forgot her
wallet at home. So she wrote me a check with a smiley face on the memo line
to compensate my favor for somebody with clout in the salsa scene. “Do I
need to hang on to this for any length of time before I cash it?” I asked
with enough inflection so she’d think it was more of a joke than it was,
and the sparkle in her eyes indicated that she did.
Most of the conversation we were trading down-at-the-mouth anecdotes
about our separate recent petty aggravations in life. Hence my brooding.
I might’ve wondered if it were tentatively romantic, bittersweet variety,
if I didn’t remember our past history.
I’m not that fond of her now, and I don’t want our relationship, such as
it is, drifting perilously into Albert Brooks territory.31
July 23: The Independence Day celebration at the newly revived
Pedro’s Place was nearly 100 percent Colombian. Unfortunately, this meant
endless cumbias … that no one danced to. The other men were grumbling that
the women had their bitch shields up and their backs to them, simultaneously
talking to each other while texting. Their behavior stunned even the veteran
Northland Investment Corp. took over management of my apartment complex
on July 14.33
Sometime in June as I was on my way to an important social engagement,
some fat, stupid bitch accosted me in a hick whine about waking her and
her baby with noise from my apartment around 1:30 a.m. “It sounded like
gunshots.” I had no idea what she was talking about, but I was certain she
didn’t. She definitely doesn’t know what gunshots sound like. And if were
firing gunshots, do you think I’d be firing them in my own apartment, surrounded
by potential witnesses?34 I hadn’t even seen her – or her
baby – around before – blessedly so – and she’s breaking my balls about
some bullshit sick fantasy, probably concocted while she was drunk or stoned.
I didn’t give her the satisfaction of an apology. Time for her to move the
fuck out, like the rest of my so-called neighbors. Bad enough Muslims inhabit
the same building.
On a positive note, a cheap generic spray I picked up at the supermarket
Independence Day weekend did the job of wiping out several vespine nests
on my balcony.
On June 20, emergency services responded to an auto collision near the
intersection of Stonehollow Drive and Gracy Farms Lane.
Construction of a pedestrian path between Balcones Community and Walnut
Creek Metropolitan parks has halted. The trail, funding with federal stimulus
money, is supposed to be done by March, but the builder blames a bad design
A New York online marketer bought ProfitFuel, a search-engine optimization
service.36 Several industrial buildings are under new management.37
An office building is under construction in the 12300 block of North MoPac.
Nearby, a urologist has moved to the Medical Oaks Pavilion.38
At the Gracy Farms Center, a convenience store has opened, Moonie’s Burger
House replaced Maggie’s Café,39 and a delivery-only breakfast-and-lunch
café replaced Sodade Coffee House.40 At The Domain, a restaurant
and a gallery have opened, and a salon and two sweets shops have closed. Another
salon has opened in the 2500 block of Rutland Drive.41 A precious
metals dealer has opened at the Kramer Center.42
National Instruments hosted a trade show Aug. 2-4.43 Admission
was $10, $50 if you wanted to actually meet someone who works there. The
June 26 Statesman ran a real estate feature on Scofield Farms, former neighborhood
of the late Joe Stack.44
Tentacles of Empire
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, who even looks like a Kraut, helped
quash the second legislative effort to ban groping by security screeners
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, plans to challenge incumbent Lloyd
Doggett in next year’s Democratic primary for the gerrymandered U.S. House
District 35. If the GOP-dominated Legislature’s gerrymanders withstand court
challenges, the new boundaries will do what they’re supposed to: squeeze
white Democrats out of Congress.46
Occasionally, you’ll hear from good-government types who wrinkle their
noses at gerrymandering and propose some technical solution to a non-existent
problem, like redrawing legislative districts after each Census with a
“neutral” computer program. It’s an expression of dismay that politics
exists in politics.
Gerrymandering is a political tradition inherited from the Founding Fathers
that works as intended. In the bogus solution, the computer code, the programmers
and whoever does the actual work of redistricting can be influenced, in multiple
meanings. They aren't neutral substitutes for an inherently partisan political
process. But such an approach would likely mislead the public into thinking
the redistricting process is more honest and unbiased when it's actually
worse than an openly partisan approach.
Also, these anti-gerrymander types don't ever seem to recognize that
their ideal approach to redistricting used to be the norm until Wesberry
vs. Sanders and Reynolds vs. Sims, and the tacit but plausibly deniable
racial considerations upheld in Hunt vs. Cromartie. If they did recognize
it, they probably wouldn’t have the stomach to deal with either race or
the legitimacy of court rulings as a judicial usurpation of powers. The
best way to redistrict to one's satisfaction is to take power in the legislatures.47
In other political follies, Izzy Sanabria48 lookalike Anthony
Weiner resigned from Congress after getting caught in a sex scandal without
real sex, i.e., body-to-body contact.49 The whole scandal is
funnier than any joke Weiner’s college roommate, Jon Stewart (nee Jon Stuart
Leibowitz) ever uttered.50
Now that Gov. Greaseball Jr. signed a law letting homosexuals wed in
New York,51 does that mean we’re supposed to forget about his
role in looting savings and loans during the ‘80s?52 Also, the
new law gives New Jerseyites reason to feel superior.
One financial analyst estimated the gross value of LinkedIn, business-professional
social networking Web site turned hot stock offering, at $10 billion.53
By the same financial logic, that means that my contacts are each worth approximately
$400 million. But my contacts often have contacts in the hundreds, meaning
their contacts are worth less. So if you don’t want to dilute the value
of your contacts, don’t add any more to your LinkedIn account.
The other day I received an unsolicited e-mail about becoming a doge
minder. I responded and thought the interview went really well, until I gave
my answer to the question, “How do you make a Venetian blind?”54
Top of the World Wide Web, Ma
In a related vain, Mat Honan at Gizmodo.com concludes that a social
media background check on him could make him unemployable for the rest of
his life.55 If he’s chronically unemployable, I’m getting the
death penalty for sure. For example, recently one of my original readers lost his shit over an offhand crack
about queers in the U.S. military,56 and has jeopardized a friendship of nearly 25 years
as a result of his flamboyantly sanctimonious tone. The fuck he thinks
he’s been reading all these years? On the other hand, to the rest of the world,
my Web sites are almost invisible
by being about four media trends behind,57 from what Steve Sailer
calls “The Golden Age of White Male Antisocial Media.”58
1 Copelin, Laylan. “Despite Unrelenting Heat, State Avoids
Rotating Outages – for Now.” AAS 5 Aug. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
2 Alsdorf, Will. “Dry Weather Tampers With Travis County
Fourth of July.” DT 30 Jun. 2011: 1-2; Faires, Robert. “Austin Symphony Orchestra
July Fourth Concert & Fireworks.” AC 1 Jul. 2011: 26; Wear, Ben. “A Fourth
Without Fireworks, Concert.” AAS 4 Jul. 2011, final ed.: A1+; Wear, and Patrick
Beach. “July Fourth Concert Snuffed Out.” Idem., 17 Jun. 2011: B1.
3 “Ban Extinguishes Fireworks Plans.” DT 30 Jun. 2011:
1+; “County Bans Fireworks With Disaster Declaration Due to Drought.” CIN
Jun. 2011: 10.
4 Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American
Revolution, rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard UP,
1992; McDonald, Forrest. Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins
of the Constitution. Lawrence, Kan.: UP of Kansas, 1985; Rothbard, Murray
N. Conceived in Liberty, Vol. IV: The Revolutionary War, 1775-1784.
1979. Rpt. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1999: Ch. 33; Wood, Gordon
S. The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787, rev. ed. Chapel
Hill, N.C.: U of North Carolina P, 1998.
5 Brands, H.W. Lone Star Nation: How a Ragged Army
of Volunteers Won the Battle for Texas Independence – and Changed America.
New York City: Doubleday, 2004: Pt. 3; Cox, Mike. The Texas Rangers, Vol.
I: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900. New York City: Forge, 2008: Ch.
2; Fehrenbach, T.R. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans, rev.
ed. New York City: Da Capo Press, 2000: Ch. 11-14; Myth and the History
of the Hispanic Southwest: Essays by David J. Weber. Albuquerque, N.M.:
U of New Mexico P, 1988: Ch. 8.
6 Churchill, Robert H. To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant’s
Face: Libertarian Political Violence and the Origins of the Militia Movement.
Ann Arbor, Mich. U of Michigan P, 2009: 4-7, and passim.
7 Smith, Jordan. “Proof of Nothing.” AC 24 Jun. 2011:
8 Toohey, Marty. “Activists’ Plan for Payback Nets Small
Fines.” AAS 4 Jul. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
9 Tollins, Karina. “City Forces Trailers to Relocate or
Close.” DT 27 Jun. 2011: 1-2.
10 Smith. “Slow-Cooked Felonies.” AC 5 Aug. 2011: 16.
11 Dunbar, Wells. “Skid Marks on the Dais.” Idem., 1 Jul.
12 Garza, Vicky. “Austin Ponders Annexing F1 Racetrack.”
ABJ 8 Jul. 2011: 1+.
13 Coppola, Sarah. “Higher Bills in Draft of Budget.”
AAS, 28 Jul. 2011, final ed.: A1+; Dunbar. “City Budget: More Vuts and Hikes
on the Way.” AC 29 Jul. 2011: 18.
14 AD No. 108n29 (Apr. 28, 2008); AD No. 127n17
(Sep. 21, 2009); AD No. 138n57 (Jan. 13, 2011); Nichols, Lee. “Access
Denied.” AC 8 Jul. 2011: 20-22.
15 Wear. “MoPac/U.S. 290 Flyover Work Is Grounded.” AAS
19 Jul. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
16 Taboada, Melissa B. “District Says It Missed Targets.”
Idem., 22 Jul. 2011: A1+.
17 AD No. 48n14 (Feb. 15, 2003).
18 Cruz, Diego. “City Council May Ban Plastic Bag Use.”
DT 4 Aug. 2011: 5; Garza. “City Debates: Plastic Bag Ban or New Fees?” ABJ
5 Aug. 2011: 3+; King, Michael. “Bag It.” AC 5 Aug. 2011: 15+.
19 Black, Louis. “Program Notes.” AC 15 Jul. 2011: 6.
20 Smith, Jordan. “Death Penalty: Older but Not Wiser.”
Idem., 1 Jul. 2011: 19.
21 Lavergne, Gary M. Worse Than Death: The Dallas Nightclub
Murders and the Texas Multiple Murder Law. Denton, Texas: U of North Texas
22 North, Gary. Victim’s Rights: The Biblical View
of Civil Justice. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990:
23 Deis, Amy. “Harmony Charter System Expands in Northwest
Austin.” CIN 22 Jul. 2011, Northwest Austin ed.: 1+; Whittaker, Richard. “Dis-Harmony
From the Right.” AC 15 Jul. 2011: 20.
24 AD No. 31n98 (Nov. 17, 2001); AD No. 53n34
(July 30, 2003); Fregosi, Paul. Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests From
the 7th to the 21st Centuries. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1998:
Ch. 45, 53; Schwartz, Jeremy. “Death Possible in Hasan Trial.” AAS 7 Jul.
2011: A1; Schwartz. “Suspect Shouts Hasan’s Name in Courtroom.” AAS 30 Jul.
2011, final ed.: A1+.
25 Kanin, Mike. “East Austin Studio De-Tour.” AC 15 Jul.
26 AD No. 133n13 (May 4, 2010).
27 Behunek, Sara. “City to Begin Camera Surveillance Program
at Rundberg and I-35.” CIN June 2011: 1+.
28 Hoover, Kent. “Debt Deal Creates New Challenges for
Business.” ABJ 5 Aug. 2011: 6.
29 Black, Louis. “In the Moment.” AC 22 Jul. 2011: 6.
30 Farb, Carolyn. “Children and Their Love of Art.” Origin
July/Aug. 2011: 25.
31 Modern Romance. Columbia Pictures Corp., 1981.
32 AD No. 86n42 (Nov. 13, 2005); Lozano, Carlos
H. “Rumba Frenektia por la Independencia.” El Mundo 28 Jul. 2011: 9.
33 Shapiro, Fred, Michael Gershenson, and Steven P. Rosenthal.
“Notice to Tennants,” 14 Jul. 2011.
34 “Boston T. Party” [Kenneth W. Royce] et al. Boston’s
Gun Bible, 6th rev. ed. Ignacio, Colo.: Javelin Press, 2008: Ch. 3-5;
Minnery, John. "Kill Without Joy!": The Complete How to Kill Book,
rev. ed. Boulder, Colo.: Paladin Press, 1992: 29-32, 37, 49-53, 64-67, 77-84.
35 Behunek. “Austin Delays Construction of North Walnut
Creek Trail.” CIN Jun. 2011: 9; Toohey. “Trail Unbuilt 2 Years After Stimulus
Grant Awarded.” AAS 31 Jul. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
36 “In the News.” CIN Jul. 2011: 5.
37 Lyon, Cody. “Industrial Sites Change Hands.” ABJ 8
Jul. 2011: 3.
38 “Relocation.” CIN Jul. 2011: 4.
39 “Coming Soon.” Idem.
40 AD No. 139n50 (Apr. 1, 2011); “Impacts.” CIN
Jun. 2011: 4.
41 “Impacts.” CIN Jun. 2011: 4-5.
42 “Now Open.” CIN Jul. 2011: 4.
43 Ladendorf, Kirk. “Experts, Competitors Join During
‘Geek Fest.’ ” AAS 2 Aug. 2011: B5.
44 Plohetski, Tony. “ ‘Why Did This Have to Happen?’ ”
AAS 31 Jul. 2011, final ed.: A1+; Santos, Michelle Chan. “Quiet Stability
in the Heart of North Austin.” AAS 26 Jun. 2011: G1+.
45 Eaton, Tim. “Pat-Down Bill Called Stunt.” AAS 25 Jun.
2011: A1; “Curtains (Finally) for Pat-Down Theatrics.” 30 Jun. 2011: A8; Herman,
Ken. “A Song and Dance, and Our One-House Wonder Bows Out.” Idem., 30 Jun.
2011: A8; Ward, Mike. “Session Wraps Up.” Idem., 30 Jun. 2011: A1.
46 Embry, Jason. “Castro Eyes New District.” AAS 25 Jun.
2011: B1; King. “A Bridge Too Far.” AC 15 Jul. 2011: 12+; Nichols. “Doggett
Draws District 35 Challenger.” Idem., 1 Jul. 2011: 20.
47 Eisler, Dan. “Re: Two Documentary Movie Screenings
Tomorrow.” E-mail to Bob Ruliffson, 23 Jan. 2011.
48 Salazar, Max. Mambo Kingdom: Latin Music in New
York. New York City: Schirmer Trade Books, 2002: 96-97, 112, 200, 214-216,
246-247, 257, 262, 273.
49 Chen, David W. “Election to Replace Weiner Is Set for
Sept. 13.” NYT 2 Jul. 2011, late ed.: A15.
50 “Weiner Roast Fails to Sizzle.” Gold Coast Bulletin
(Queensland, Australia). 10 Jun. 2011: 20.
51 “Cuomo’s Pride.” The Economist 2 Jul. 2011:
52 Pizzo, Stephen, Mary Fricker, and Paul Muolo. Inside
Job: The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans, rev. ed. New York City:
HarperPerennial, 1991: 13.
53 Rusli, Evelyn M. “Bank Analysts Shower Praise on LinkedIn.”
NYT 29 Jun. 2011, late ed.: B6.
54 Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I. Brooksfilms,
1981; Norwich, John Julius. A History of Venice. New York City: Alfred
A. Knopf, 1982.
55 Honan, Mat. “I Flunked My Social Media Background Check.
Will You?” Gizmodo < http://gizmodo.com/5818774/this-is-a-social-media-background-check>.
56 AD No. 140n57 (May 4, 2011).
57 AD No. 50n68 (May 14, 2003); AD No. 82n2
(Aug. 18, 2005); Eisler. “Re: Stealth Mode: Making Yourself Nearly Invisible
on Facebook.” E-mail to Steve Adams, 8 Feb. 2011.
58 Sailer, Steve. “The Golden Age of White Male Antisocial
Media.” Taki’s Magazine 22 Jun. 2011 <http://takimag.com/article/the_golden_age_of_white_male_antisocial_media/print>.