Austin Dispatches No. 166 Aug. 18, 2013

e166fig2After I speculated my graduating class wasn’t holding a 25th anniversary reunion, the organizers e-mailed me July 22, at the wrong address, about the same thing over three days at August’s start. I guess they wanted the reunion to seem as interminable as doing time in government school.[1] Such short notice was another reason not to attend.[2]

Same as last time, I still don’t recognize the reunion organizers. I briefly thought the main correspondent was some punk I provided a pugilistic primer to in seventh grade, but a check of the photos in my dusty senior yearbook dispelled that notion.[3] Of course, since the bruises on his noggin would’ve healed by then, I could’ve guessed right the first time. Maybe it’s someone else I drubbed.

Also, three weeks later, I can’t find any online proof anybody else attended, even the twits who tweeted about it beforehand. Maybe they developed the same reservations about enduring formulaic nostalgia for entertainment.[4] 

Cultural Canapés

Daria Morgendorffer lookalike Jodi Arias faces a possible death sentence in Arizona court for the slaying of her boyfriend, and worse, has been turned into the subject of a Lifetime channel movie, which sounds like a premise for Daria to sarcastically critique on her show.[5]

I was wary already about the movie adaptation of “The Copperhead” because the director previously filmed an epic about the War of Southern Secession wherein the deathbed soliloquies lasted longer than the real war, and the scriptwriter frequently mistakes decentralization and particularism with extolling the village idiot because she’s a village idiot, instead of an idiot commenting on NPR.[6] Regrettably, my suspicions were correct. “Copperhead” combines the worst features of a folk festival, a hipster microbrewery, and well, a Bill Kauffman essay. To watch the movie, you’d never know it was based on a better novella.[7] This is the third libertarianistic film flop in two years, which isn’t helping the case for libertarians who advocate influencing the culture through culture instead of electoral politics.[8] Hollywood, an entertainment arm of the American power elite, still puts out better product.[9]

Media Indigest

Several retail chains refused to stock Rolling Stone’s Aug. 1 issue, with one of the foreign Muslim Boston butchers on the cover. The real matter here: Does anybody still read Rolling Stone?[10]

The same question increasingly applies to Reason magazine. Reason celebrated its 45th anniversary by posting hitherto unavailable articles from the days before it had a Web site and a blog, which may partially explain why it’s been in steady, obvious decline for about 25 years. The current staff and contributors have everything to lose when you compare their work to their predecessors, who were more interested in critiquing the status quo and offering alternatives thereof to brownnosing their counterparts at statist media outlets.[11] Moreover, the same contributors and the same attitudes I castigated as the cause of decline 10 years ago are still there. When Kurt Loder, Boomeroid rock critic and Beavis and Butt-Head foil, is the best writer on the staff, the magazine has problems.[12]

Chronicle columnist Michael Ventura crossed the line by praising the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and concluding, “The Constitution exists to define and limit government.” This view puts him fully at odds with that rag’s worldview. We’ll see how long he remains on staff. And Ventura? I wouldn’t recommend trying to work at Reason with those beliefs.[13]

Tentacles of Empire

The local papers report the feelings of a Round Rock mosque’s members were hurt when the organizer for the Round Rock Sertoma Club’s Independence Day parade denied them permission to march. The organizer gave a mealy mouthed and yet frustrating close-to-the-point response about doing so: “It was all about Muslims. It isn’t what the July 4 parade is all about.”[14]

Exactly. Islam and Independence Day commemorations, rooted in Enlightenment principles, themselves rooted in the Christian faith, are incompatible, notwithstanding the efforts of Dean Ahmad and his Minaret of Freedom.[15] Just up the freeway from Round Rock, another Arab Muslim is on trial for murdering unarmed American servicemen at Fort Hood.[16] Further north, a Moroccan foreign trespasser, Abdelkrim Belachheb, sits in state prison after committing mass murder in Dallas in 1984.[17] One could believe freedom of expression to an Arab means killing publicly.[18] The real scandal is why these people are allowed in our country in the first place. Let them express themselves where they came from.

Recently, my utilities, insurers, and creditors have mailed form letters assuring me of their commitment to protecting my privacy. However, as we know from preceding revelations, when the U.S. government’s executive police agencies trawled for data, these same companies kowtowed, in violation of statutory law, ethical responsibilities, and American principles. Their reassurances mean nothing.[19]

Austin Death Watch

The July 15 Daily Texan reports the biggest threat to the campus’ 4,900 trees, valued at $25 million, comes from squirrels, who chew on their natural habitat, thereby depriving the trees of nutrients. In other words, nature is nature’s biggest problem.[20] The Aug. 16 Business Journal reports the city government is forsaking $3.1 million in future taxable revenue by insisting the developer preserve some big oak trees at a downtown skyscraper project. Remember that when city government whines about a budget shortfall.[21]

The July 19 Business Journal reports that city regulations and high property taxes scourge attempts at urban farming, which in turn undermines Austin’s foodie reputation and attempts to “keep Austin weird.”[22] The Statesman discovered two Capital Metro board members have run up $60,000 in travel bills.[23] The July 19 Chronicle reports a city maintenance site in East Austin violates the city’s own zoning rules.[24]

Neighborhood opposition quashed a proposed trailer park for street bums at McKalla Place and other Austin sites, so poverty pimps specializing in street bums want to dump them outside city limits near Walter E. Long Municipal Park in a relatively inaccessible place.[25]

Homos are hyperventilating over being turned away from one of their downtown hangouts that apparently doesn’t want to be regarded as a gay bar anymore. Perhaps more shocking, the club insisted on an upscale dress code, including neckties for the men.[26]

Limeys and Muslims and Nazis, Oh My!

Enough aristocrats paused their groveling before dominatrices and buggering strangers in public lavatories to don outfits that make them resemble aging drag queens and attend a session of the House of Lords, where they legalized homosexual “marriages,” both civil and religious, in Great Britain.[27] Imams for the swelling foreign Muslim hordes within the nation that once resisted the Nazis were unavailable for comment.[28]

On the Town

July 18: My first excursion after the Zimmerman verdict, I noticed the blacks subtly behaved better in general, not just around me.[29]

July 20: For a stretch, the organizers of a salsa social at Uptown Dance Studio encouraged everyone to dance with someone they hadn’t before. For me, this was a challenge. After several numbers, I danced again with a newcomer to Austin. If she does and says the right things, you might be reading about her more in the future. “Are we still supposed to be dancing with strangers?” she asked.

“I don’t think so. Anyway, do you want to follow the rules, or do you want to have a good time?”

She became flustered as she considered my question’s double entendre implications, but allowed that she preferred the latter. Good answer.

July 26: The new H-E-B in the Mueller neighborhood incorporates a lot of the yuppie chow aspects of Central Market. The store’s potential problem, as with the neighborhood at large, is the diversity: The nonwhites will soon perturb the new white residents/customers, who’ll wonder why they paid to live in a house right by the street where at all hours they can hear a passing car blaring bilingual rap.[30]

Aug. 2: I finally saw “Slacker 2011,” as part of a double bill with “Slacker,” at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre. Turned out to be a good way to see the remake, since it riffs so much off the original.[31] That was the first time I’d seen a movie in public since March and discovered some free Web sites that eliminate traveling for televisual entertainment.

Neighborhood News

After two years, work has resumed on a pedestrian path between Balcones Community and Walnut Creek Metropolitan parks.[34] On Aug. 2, the power to my apartment complex ceased for about 30 minutes in the early evening. Meanwhile, the Public Utility commissioners disagree about how to fix the problem.[35]

Home Archives


[1] The Twelve-Year Sentence: Radical Views of Compulsory Schooling. Ed. William F. Rickenbacker. 1974. Rpt. San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1999.

[2] Eisler, Dan. “Fire the DJ.” E-mail to Dennis Lucey et al., 3 Aug. 2013.

[3] Fairbairn, William Ewalt. Get Tough!: How to Win in Hand-to-Hand Fighting, as Taught to the British Commandos and the U.S. Armed Forces. 1943. Rpt. Boulder, Colo.: Paladin Press, 1974.

[4] AD No. 163n34 (May 5, 2013).

[5] AD No. 99n6 (Aug. 10, 2007); AD No. 134n49 (July 10, 2010); Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. “Daria.”  The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network & Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, 8th ed. New York City: Ballantine Books, 2003: 278-279; “Raging Sex & Murder.” NYDN 18 Aug. 2013: 20-21.

[6] AD No. 31n26 (Nov. 17, 2001); Copperhead. Swordspoint Productions, 2013; EAD No. 9n17 (Oct. 23, 1999); Gods and Generals. Turner Pictures/Antietam Filmworks, 2003; Kauffman, Bill. “A Globe of Villages.” Liberty Mar. 1995: 34-37.

[7] Harold Frederic's Stories of York State. Ed. Thomas F. O'Donnell. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse UP, 1966: 3-110.

[8] AD No. 140 (May 2011); AD No. 165 (July 12, 2013).

[9] Brownstein, Ronald. The Power and the Glitter: The Hollywood-Washington Connection, rev. ed. New York City: Vintage Books, 1992.

[10] Dinges, Gary. “Retailers Shun ‘Bomber’ Rolling Stone.” AAS 19 Jul. 2013: B6; Draper, Robert. Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History. New York City: Doubleday, 1990.

[11] Welch, Matt. “Making the World a Better Place Since 1968.” Reason Aug./Sep. 2013: 2-4.

[12] Loder, Kurt. Bat Chain Puller: Rock & Roll in the Age of Celebrity, rev. ed. New York City: Cooper Square Press, 2002; Loder. The Good, the Bad, and the Godawful: 21st-Century Movie Reviews. New York City: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011; “Thanksgiving  ’97.” MTV, 27 Nov. 1997.

[13] Ventura, Michael. “An Arbitrary Nation, Part 6.” AC 26 Jul. 2013: 20.

[14] Stutzman, Brad. “Mosque Barred From Parade.” AAS 13 Jul. 2013: B1

[15] Cavanaugh, Tim. “Revealed Libertarianism.” Reason.com 28 Jul. 2003 < http://reason.com/archives/2003/07/28/revealed-libertarianism/print >; Evans, M. Stanton. The Theme is Freedom: Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1994.

[16] Schwartz, Jeremy. “Judge to Rule on Religious Evidence.” AAS 17 Aug. 2013: B1.

[17] AD No. 144n21 (Aug. 6, 2011).

[18] Fregosi, Paul. Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests From the 7th to the 21st Centuries. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1998; Pryce-Jones, David. The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, rev. ed. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2002.

[19] Jones, Alex, and Paul Joseph Watson. “NSA: Spying, Intimidation, Censorship.” Infowars Jul. 2013: 10-11.

[20] Ayala, Christine. “Spreading Roots.” DT 15 Jul. 2013: 6-7.

[21] “Downtown Trees Worth a Lot of Money to City.” ABJ 16 Aug. 2013: 11.

[22] Grattan, Robert. “City Code Puts Damper on Urban Farming.” ABJ 19 Jul 2013: 12.

[23] Plohetski, Tony. “Pair’s Travel Bills Near $60,000.” AAS 14 Jul. 2013: A1+.

[24] Pagano, Elizabeth. “City Promises to Obey Law … Eventually.” AC 19 Jul. 2013: 14-15.

[25] Smith, Amy. “Sunshine for the Homeless.” AC 26 Jul. 2013: 8.

[26] Watson, Brandon. “No Room for Gays at the Red Room.” AC 26 Jul. 2013: 14.

[27] “Gay Marriage Bill Clears House of Lords.” The Daily Telegraph 16 Jul. 2013: 2.

[28] AD No. 152n32 (July 4, 2012).

[29] P.J. Watson and Jones. “Social Engineering & Racial Division: The Trayvon Martin Tragedy.” Infowars Aug. 2013: 10-12.

[30] Buchholz, Jan. “At Mueller, It’s Full Steam Ahead.” ABJ 16 Aug. 2013: 17-19; Buchholz. “First Look.” ABJ 2 Aug. 2013: 6; Ross, Robyn. “From Runways to Sidewalks.” AC 9 Aug. 2013: 20-22+; Wood, Virginia B. “Food-O-File.” AC 2 Aug. 2013: 29.

[31] “Slacker 1991 vs. Slacker 2011.” AC 2 Aug. 2013: 53.

[34] AD No. 144n35; City of Austin. Public Works Deparment. Notice of Filing of Application for Administrative Approval of a Site Plan 17 Jul. 2013.

[35] Copelin, Laylan. “Tackling Blackout Divides Board.” AAS 10 Aug. 2013: A1+.