From the producers of “Credit Rating of the Dragon” and “Shaolin Resort and Golf Course” …


Funk in Deep Freeze


Austin Dispatches No. 173 March 18, 2014


Even down here in the Sun Belt, the repeated cold spells quashed the remaining holiday spirit the corporatist state didn’t, and kept on long into the new year to give it a bleaker wintertime feel than usual.[1]


For example, the Feb. 13 Daily Texan reported the recent icy weather depleted the city’s supply of dolomite for use against the ice on the roads. The city prefers dolomite to salt out of concerns for the vegetation, when the better reason is the corrosion salt causes to car undercarriages.[2]


Though signs of Christmas were appearing a week before Thanksgiving, the holiday season was so stretched out I think the actual presence was thinner day to day than ever, away from the stores. Even the radio stations held off the blitz of Christmas music until Dec. 23. Again, the fun excursions happened on regular days, rather than the holidays themselves, but I suspect the holidays happening mid-week created a scheduling damper for many. Then on Dec. 26, I tried to do some post-Christmas shopping to replace a few worn-out basic clothes, for about $100 total, but the selections in the big-box retailers had been picked so clean, like a roasted goose at the family table, I was unable to spend money.


e173fig1Neighborhood News


Not even the new feature of a self-serve barbecue island at The Domain's long-delayed Whole Foods compensated for the store’s flaws apparent on its Jan. 15 grand opening. Millions Whole Foods spent on the place and the parking, outside traffic flow, and design flow at the store’s front are worse than the Gateway location.[3]


Not to mention you’re still paying the highest prices in town for produce, compared to other supermarkets, where I ventured through the cold in a fedora and camel-hair overcoat to buy groceries.[4] The bagger asked if I played “L.A. Noire.” Of course, I dressed like this years before the video game.[5] “Can the gab and bag the grub, toots,” I said in a hard-boiled growl.


Meanwhile, Nordstrom announced it will open a new store at The Domain in 2016.[6] A fitness equipment company moved from Round Rock to Boyer Boulevard. A discount store in the 9500 block of Burnet Road closed.[7] Levy Architects is renovating Kramer Center off Burnet.[8]


On Mar. 13, KLBJ-FM reported an auto collision at Parmer Lane and Lamplighter Village Avenue.


On the Town


Feb. 19: After years of half-assed promotions, promoters included the time, date, place and price in their advance notices for an East Austin concert, by several third-generation free form jazz musicians associated with Chicago. Not only did I finally get to hear them live, they even played music in a way I’d never heard before.[9] As a bonus, my suit and tie ensemble disconcerted the would-be hipsters, dressed like their Greenwich Village grandparents circa 1960 and looking grim and poverty stricken instead of beatific, which I don’t think was their intent. Several hipsters obviously worried my slickly prosperous look would lure away their women, even though their shabby attire and bitchy expressions made them unappealing.[10]


Austin Death Watch


On March 13, a Killeen rapper in town for South by Southwest fled a traffic stop, smashed through a police barrier and drunkenly plowed into a festival crowd along Red River Street, killing three attendees and injuring another 22.[10] When I heard the updates on the radio that day, I thought the police were withholding the driver’s name because it was another government official behind the wheel, doing what they do best: destroying other people’s lives.[11] Still, Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Lee Leffingwell uttered some variation on “the system works,” even though if this happened during another such event – now grown so large that the local power elite, notably Chronicle Editor Louis Black – have an interest in perpetuating it despite broad conflicts of interest – we’d hear their screams of outrage to ban said event.[12] As is, SXSW, showcasing such unknown acts as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, has become just “another bloated American institution,” as described by a letter writer to the Chronicle in its issue dated the day of the carnage.[13] The March 6 Daily Texan advised readers to flee the gridlock for North Austin.[14] Regardless, the driver will be tried for murder by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, run of course by belligerent convicted drunk driver Rosemary Lehmberg (“Hey, at least I didn’t kill anybody”).[15]


Speaking of broad conflicts of interest, the March 14 Chronicle cover proclaimed “Austin Music Awards Director Margaret Moser Goes Out With a Bang.” Given Moser’s confessional accounts as a Chronicle contributor these many years of her sordid, pathetic, attention-seeking Boomeroid life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’roll, I half expected to read about Austin’s musicians running a train on her as her last request before dying of terminal cancer.[16]


The City Council will impose a minimum $500 fine for parking or stopping in the new downtown lanes reserved for Capital Metro buses, which presumes you can find street parking downtown.[17] Incidentally, Vince May called out this new transit scheme as a blunder leading to downtown gridlock and a contributor to the “exploding cost of living in Austin.”[18]


The chink who stabbed his girlfriend at UT in September fled back to where he came from after getting bailed out.[19] Public opinion appears to be against the police after arresting a headphone wearing jogger near UT on Feb. 20 for “failure to identify” and “failure to obey a pedestrian control device.”[20]


Austin has an unexpected $14.2 million surplus, so councilors are already scheming to spend (i.e., squander) the money. Among all the ideas, nobody mentioned paying down the city’s debt.[21] Austinites have been so good about conserving water that the Austin Water Utility has lost millions in revenue and is looking to raise its “drought rates” to recoup its losses.[22]


The owner of Dan’s Hamburgers vows to never build another store within city limits after the bureaucratic hassles of remodeling an existing location.[23] As punishment, city bureaucrats should have to eat there.


Business Roundup


Meanwhile, locals are flocking to the newly opened In-N-Out burger joints. I drove past one on Airport Boulevard past 9 p.m. one December night and the parking lot was full.[24]


Cultural Canapés


Recent developments in Eastern Europe reminded me to recommend once again Vassily Aksyonov’s “Island of Crimea,” first published in English in 1983. The novel’s premise is that the White Russians fled to the peninsula, fictionalized as an island, and turned it into a Slavic Taiwan or South Korea. Think “Atlas Shrugged” as intentionally comic and you’ll have an idea of the content.[25]


Political Follies


Post-Portland, the Libertarian Party remains bereft of its ideology, and thus more flaccid than a Lena Dunham nude scene.[26] Party members, and the party as a whole, lack credibility in their more libertarian stances on the issues after the current dominant fake faction gutted the platform, crafted by libertarian intellectuals, as “too radical.” Not that the radicals have distinguished themselves lately. Instead, we hear from them blather about “the patriarchy” or “red state fascism.”[27]


So I had to vote in the March Republican primary to pick candidates at least rhetorically motivated to roll back the size and scope of government, in the best interests of the American bourgeoisie; and motivated to criticize social attitudes that oppose those interests.[28] More immediately, some of my picks won, all the better to predictably aggravate the Chronicalistas and a couple of motherfuckers whose opinions are equally stupid and who aren't real libertarians anyway.[29] If nothing else, politics is useful for sticking it to people you don’t like, until they either leave the polity or drop dead of strokes from their aggravation, with its basis in their being wrong all the time. Politics as we know it ends when the last environmentalist is strangled with the entrails of the last social credit advocate.[30] Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die!


Yet on further reflection, it’s the participants in the Democratic primary who might’ve caused more aggravation. Black LaRouchie Kesha Rogers is back and vexing my targets by getting enough votes for U.S. senator to force a run-off primary. As before, Rogers calls for impeaching President Obama, who’s left himself vulnerable for that twice – once involving his Chicago corrupt cronies, the other for military action against Libya without even the pretense of consulting Congress.[31] If she wins, there’ll be at least one reliable Senate vote for impeachment. Now that’s a pinko agenda I can get behind.

Home Archives


[1] Chang, Julie. “Area Can’t Seem to Shake Winter’s Icy Grip.” AAS 4 Mar. 2014: A1.

[2] Mahoney, Alyssa. “Icy Weather Drains City Safety Supplies.” DT 13 Feb. 2014: 1+; National Research Council. Transportation Research Board. Highway Deicing: Comparing Salt and Calcium Magnesium Acetate. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board, 1991: 140.

[3] AD No. 167n20 (Sep. 24, 2013); “Gateway Whole Foods to Revamp.” AAS 7 Jan. 2014: B5.

[4] AD No. 157n28 (Nov. 3, 2012).

[5] Kushner, David. Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2012: 276.

[6] Novak, Shonda. “Nordstrom Planning New Store at Domain.” AAS 6 Mar. 2014: B5-6.

[7] “Impacts.” Ed. Amy Denney. CIN Feb. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.

[8] Taylor, Lyndsey. “Aging NW Austin Retail Buildings Receive Facelift.” CIN 19 Dec. 2013, Northwest Austin ed.: 27.

[9] Fawcett, Thomas. “Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble.” AC 14 Feb. 2014: 72; Litweiler, John. The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958. New York City: William Morrow & Co., 1984: Ch. 8.

[10] Leland, John. Hip: The History, rev. ed. New York City: HarperPerennial, 2005: 9.

[10] Lindell, Chuck, and Jeremy Schwartz. “In One Minute, Horror Strikes.” AAS 14 Mar. 2014: A1+; McGuinness, Chris, and Courtney Griffin. “Killeen Man Arrested in Fatal SXSW Crash.” Killeen Daily Herald 14 Mar. 2014: A1+; Mekelburg, Madlin, and Jordan Rudner. “Survivors Reflect on Crash.” DT 17 Mar. 2014: 1+; O’Rourke, Ciara. “Third SXSW Crash Victim Dies.” AAS 18 Mar. 2014: A1+; Rudner, and Hannah Smothers. “Motorist Charged in Thursday’s Fatalities.” DT, Idem.; Ulloa, Jazmine, and Tony Plohetski. “Suspect in Crash a Killeen Musician.” AAS, Idem.

[11] AD No. 105n59 (Feb. 27, 2008); AD No. 162n36 (March 30, 2013).

[12] AD No. 147n49 (Dec. 16, 2011); AD No. 150n52 (Apr. 16, 2012); Dexheimer, Eric, and Plohetski. “Police Consider Event Safety System Effective.” AAS 14 Mar. 2014: A1+.

[13] Bowman, Thomas. “So Many Are Deluded.” Letter. AC 14 Mar. 2014: 8; Stith, Deborah Sengupta. “Speaking of Celebrities….” AAS 11 Mar. 2014: D3; Villalpando, Nicole, Stith, and Erin J. Walters. “Some Were Ga-Ga, Others Gagged, at Lady Gaga Show.” AAS 15 Mar. 2014: B6.

[14] Benestante, Brigit. “How to Avoid Festival Crowds Like a Local.” DT 6 Mar. 2014: 8.

[15] AD No. 163n35 (May 5, 2013); AD No. 171n12 (Dec. 20, 2013).

[16] Green, Jonathon. Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, rev. ed. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005: 1218; Hoffberger,  Chase. “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows.” AC 14 Mar. 2014: 54-55.

[17] Wear, Ben. “Drivers Face $500 Fine in Bus Lane Ordinance.” AAS 23 Jan. 2014: A+; Whittaker, Richard. “Here Comes MetroRapid.” AC 24 Jan. 2014: 20-22.

[18] May, Vince. “Bus ‘Rapid’ Transit.” AL 19 Jan. 2014: 3; May. “CapMetro Average Weekday Ridership Same Now as It Was Nearly Two Decades Ago.” AL 16 Mar. 2013: 1.

[19] Brouillette, Julia. “Fork-Attack Assailant Allegedly Flees the US.” DT 13 Jan. 2014: 1-2.

[20] “Police Chief’s Comments Are Alarming, Aggressive.” DT 24 Feb. 2014: 4.

[21] AD No. 94n30 (Nov. 25, 2006); Coppola, Sarah. “Austin Has $14.2 Million Surplus.” AAS 13 Mar. 2014: A1+.

[22] Toohey, Marty, and Asher Price. “Decline in Water Use Could Force Rate Hikes.” AAS 25 Feb. 2014: A1+.

[23] “The Big News.” ABJ 7 Mar. 2014: A2.

[24] Felice, Jory. “ ‘In ‘n’ Out Burger’ Bumper Stickers.” Retro Hell, 99; Wood, Virginia B. “Food-O-File.” AC 27 Dec. 2013: 35.

[25] Aksyonov, Vassily. Ostrov Krym. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ardis. Trans. Michael W. Heim. Island of Crimea. New York City: Random House, 1983; DeYoung, Karen, and Greft Witte. “U.S., Europe Hit Russians With Sanctions.” WP 18 Mar. 2014: A1+; Morello, Carol, and Pamela Constable. “Crimea Looks More Russian by the Hour.” Idem.

[26] Derakshani, Tirdad. “Lena Dunham’s Real Reality.” Philadelphia Inquirer 16 Jan. 2014, South Jersey ed.: C2.

[27] Keaton, Angela. “The Wars at Home: What Domestic Violence, Homophobia & Misogyny Have to Do With Empire.” Libertopia 2013. Town & Country Resort and Conference Center, San Diego. 31 Aug. 2013; Rockwell, Llewellyn H. Jr. Fascism vs. Capitalism. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2013: Ch. 1.

[28] “Primary Election Guide 2014.” CIN Feb. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 18-19.

[29] King, Michael. “Primarily Texas.” AC 7 Mar. 2014: 10+.

[30] North, Gary. Salvation Through Inflation: The Economics of Social Credit. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1993.

[31] Eisler, Dan. “Today’s Pertinent Clip….” E-mail to Frank Rossi, 17 Mar. 2014; King, op. cit.