Nyeh Nyeh Nyeh

Austin Dispatches

No. 175

May 31, 2014


Because Austin Dispatches is an internationally read media source, we receive interesting queries. Mid-month, Ayesha Gadhafi e-mailed one, about helping her move $100 million between accounts for a piece of the action.[1] That was damned white of her, since we jeered at her daddy’s death. Well, life is cheap in the Orient, but death can be quite rewarding.[2]


Anyway, henceforth I should have more interesting responses to the question people always ask: “What do you do all day?” Even friends ask this. I’m sure they’re not alluding to Richard Scarry.[3]


On the Town


May 24: Before I even entered Go Dance for a salsa social, a well-designed salsera exiting the studio beamed upon seeing me. She was the same woman who once chose dancing with me over checking her cell phone. Now, she wanted me to escort her to her car in the parking lot to fetch her electronic cigarette. “In exchange, I’ll give you … three dances.”



She laughed. “That was easy.” I wondered whether I should’ve haggled more.


Afterward, she sent mixed signals. She smooched me after the second dance (salsa). But as we began the final dance (bachata) in closed position, I leaned closer. “Before I forget to tell you: You look really nice tonight.”


She pushed away. “Stay professional.” If I were in professional mode, she’d be paying $45 to $50 an hour. Although she maintained eye contact and a gioconda smile when she asked again what my name was.


“So you’re German. That explains why you never talk … and you never smile … even though you have a beautiful smile.” The salsa venues typically are unconducive for extended conversations (“What? What did you say?”). Also, I keep my smiles in reserve because they’re often wasted on the women in attendance, with their bored, stressed or indignant expressions – that is, when they’re not absorbed by their cell phones or chatting with each other. I can’t take that personally, since they apply these resistance tactics even to the men with the looks, moves and status that are supposed to woo them nowadays. Rather than explain all this on the dance floor, I instead tried to seduce her with my eyes.


Business Roundup


Having finally exhausted his fulminations over Republicans, the rich, and businessmen profiting from the policies he supports, “Hee Haw” hick Jim Hightower hyperventilates over homos in the fashion world in his May 16 Chronicle column.[4] This yokel’s change of subject exposes him to accusations of “intolerance” from among his collectivist coalition.[5] Worse, he reveals he understands nothing about money or trade.[6] In this, he’s the worthy successor to Milford W. Howard, a Populist congressman from Alabama who later wrote a book praising Fascist Italy.[7]


More to the point, Hightower understands nothing about the garment industry. Jimbo, if you’re paying $5,000 to $17,000 per suit, it means you don’t know how to shop for bargains or get value for your money. Your kind never does. The most expensive suit I own didn’t cost anywhere near five grand, and it makes the suits you describe look like the frivolous loss leaders they probably are.[8] (The real money for couturiers comes from perfumes.)[9] Moreover, the least of my suits looks ten times better than anything I’ve seen you wear.[10] Scrape the cow dung out of your ears and wise up.


Cirrus Logic bid $467 million for a Scottish electric company after Cirrus’ executives got a loch at the wee firm that put burrs in their bonnets to buy it.[11]


Bank of America miscalculated its capital reserves by a paltry $4 billion and antagonized shareholders much the same as it’s done with customers’ balance statements since the late ‘90s.[12] As an indicator of California’s business climate, Toyota’s moving its U.S. headquarters from the Southland to Plano.[13]


Cultural Canapés


Speaking of wised up, I’ve finally begun reading a large amount of crime fiction by Silent authors.[14] It’s entertaining but much of it lacks plausibility. Typically, the private detective protagonists are such wisenheimers they’d lose potential clients in real life:


“Mr. Spenser, are you interested in taking my case, or are you just going to sit at your desk and smart off.”


“I’m just going to sit and my desk and smart off. Hey, where’re you going? You’re not going to hire me?”

In chance discoveries, the 1957 social drama “No Down Payment” contains the only dramatization I’ve yet seen of a real-life phenomenon where you’re arguing an issue with the same person even though somehow, somewhere over an extended time period, you’ve traded positions on the same issue you’re still arguing about.[15] Now that I think about it, the movie is only the second time I’ve ever encountered acknowledgement of this phenomenon, although I’ve experienced it numerous times.[16]


Al Feldstein, editor of Mad magazine from 1956 to 1984, died Apr. 29, age 88.[17] At one time he was the highest-paid editor in the world.[18] No wonder: it takes a special skill set for which there are no credentials to manage the Usual Gang of Idiots.[19]


Neighborhood News


“It was only May, but hot as August. The heat rose in shimmering waves over the office parks and credit union branches. A few hundred yards away, workers cut through the MoPac Expressway with jackhammers, the powerful noise of which clattered all day, and a heavy pall of white dust hung over the excavation, eclipsing the distance.”[20] They’re also doing this to Burnet Road parallel to MoPac between Highway 183 and Duval Road.


The fucking Arabs finally left my apartment building. Good riddance.


Meanwhile, Casa Chapala has moved from West Anderson Lane to a shopping plaza at the corner of Burnet and 183. Unfortunately, the service is still mediocre.[21] Other, new eateries have or will open at The Domain, the Shops at Arbor Walk, Braker Lane next to the post office, and the Hana World Market food court at 1700 W. Parmer Lane.[22] A gun shop has opened in the strip mall at Parmer and Lamplighter Village Avenue.[23] One pet shop has changed owners and another has moved to the 2500 block of Rutland Drive.[24] A healthcare company and a security firm have moved their headquarters to The Domain.[25] Also, Simon Property Group is adding more green space and park amenities there. A residential appliance and building supplies retailer has relocated to Burnet. A credit company has relocated to Kramer Lane.[26]


Austin Death Watch


The Business Journal reports a new poll finds Millennials more satisfied with Austin’s present and future than older generations – possibly because the latter have to contend with the former, who, according to just about every business article I’ve read the last 18 months, are stupid, lazy, entitled and incompetent.[27] Bloggers are even more contemptuous. Take that, Bill Strauss.


I don’t know if the Millennials are at fault for this, but the Chronicle reports a “flurry of Italian restaurants have closed over the last several months.”[28] Also, Tamale House, a terrific eatery off Airport Boulevard and an example of Austin culture, closed after its owner’s death.[29]


Only now has the city government realized a flood-control project downtown will block views of the Capitol, in violation of municipal policy. So the engineering firms have to rebuild the project and the City Council has a law firm on retainer if they don’t.[30] Meanwhile, the May 19 Statesman reports city officials are taking a slacker attitude toward pollution runoff into Barton Springs. Having finally seen those springs, I concur with the bureaucrats. But the sort who presume to speak for Austin’s social practices have an obsession with the place, though not enough to buy it and turn it into their private property.[31]


The City Council declared opposition – again – to the State Highway 45 plan, which would travel across the Edwards Aquifer to connect the south end of MoPac with Farm-to-Market Road 1626 in Hays County. The council based its decision for environmental, rather than financial or libertarian reasons. The long-sought and long-argued plan just pits statist against statist, but if you must take a side, root for the pro-development faction. That’ll crush the annoying environmentalists’ spirit and raison d’etre like a steamroller over a freshly surfaced roadway. Then we right-thinking people can move into the power vacuum and establish ourselves as the main opposition to local corporatist practices.[32]


Similarly, the Chronicle frets over the increasing population’s strain on local water supplies, while ignoring the obvious solutions: deport foreign nationals and drive out the pinkos. The latter don’t belong here, anyway.[33]


Meanwhile, the mass-transit fanatics are considering three plans for a “central corridor” urban rail, the cheapest of which costs $830 million to build and another $13.5 million per year to operate.[34] It’d be cheaper for us to run these mass-transit types out of town on a rail.


All that is a long way of saying a new study confirms what most of us already know: Austin’s land development rules don’t work, undercut the city’s growth plan, and exacerbate the cost of living.[35] The obvious solution is to scrap them and replace them with nothing, like Houston, but Austin’s power elite is either too dumb or too power hungry to do that. We need a new elite.


The Chronicle has finally found a reason to oppose federally mandated diversity quotas, at least for the Austin Fire Department, if it means diminishing the clout of the firefighters’ union. According to the rules of contemporary discourse, that means the Chronicle is racist and sexist. Probably homophobic, cisnormative and classist, too.[36]


Speaking of which, the United Methodist Church declined to ordain an Austin lesbian.[37] The real news is that a mainline Protestant denomination based a decision on scripture. Nowadays those clergy are more bereft of belief than any god forsaking blogger.[38]


Media Indigest


The Statesman finally did something worthwhile: pissed off the Chronicle. In the latter’s May 30 edition, Publisher Nick Barbaro wrote a seething two-column attack on the Statesman’s “demagoguery” about the Chronicle’s financial ties to the increasingly inconvenient South by Southwest. The Statesman is probably motivated by a desire to get a slice of SXSW to bolster its declining revenues, but that’s not the point here. Rather, we should take delight in and encourage two major institutions of Austin’s power elite to savage and thereby weaken each other. Already, Barbaro has put himself on record complaining about people who aren’t SXSW registrants also bustling about downtown. Yes, how dare they.[39]


Political Follies


A group of UT students protested “modern slavery” on campus April 23. However, the Daily Texan story contained no mention of such practices as compulsory schooling or income taxes.[40]


Tentacles of Empire


The May 5 New York Times reports the firearms the CIA has distributed around the world for decades come from a cache at Camp Stanley in Boerne.[41]





[1] “Gadhafi, Ayesha.” “I Am Ayesha Gadhafi.” E-mail to Dan Eisler, 12 May 2014.

[2] Baritz, Loren. Backfire: A History of How American Culture Led Us Into Vietnam and Made Us Fight the Way We Did. New York City: William Morrow & Co., 1985: 21.

[3] Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? New York City: Random House, 1968.

[4] Baker, Dean. The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer. Washington, D.C.: Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2006; Hightower, Jim. “Look Out the ‘Yummies’ Are Coming!” AC 16 May 2014: 22; “Hee Haw.” Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network & Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, 8th rev. ed. New York City: Ballantine Books, 2007: 598-599.

[5] AD No. 150n7 (April 16, 2012).

[6] Magness, Philip W. “From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System.” Diss. George Mason U, 2010; North, Gary. Gertrude Coogan's Bluff: Greenback Populism as Conservative Economics. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010; Shaffer, Butler. In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918-1938. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell UP, 2001; Williams, William Appleman. The Roots of the Modern American Empire: A Study of the Growth and Shaping of a Social Consciousness in a Marketplace Society. New York City: Random House, 1969: Ch. 11, 14.

[7] Howard, Milford W. Fascism: A Challenge to Democracy. New York City: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1928.

[8] Eisler. “Re: Did the earth move for you?” E-mail to Dennis Lucey, 30 Aug. 2011.

[9] Brady, James. Paris One. New York City: Delacorte Press, 1977.

[10] Richards, David. Once Upon a Time in Texas: A Liberal in the Lone Star State. Austin, Texas: U of Texas, 2002: 221.

[11] Calnan, Christopher. “Cirrus Makes $467M Bid for Wolfson Microelectronics.” ABJ 2 May 2014: A8.

[12] Corkery, Michael. “Bank Shareholders Press Officials After $4 Billion Error.” NYT 8 May 2014: B3; Steinberg, Julie et al. “Fund Sends BofA a Message.” WSJ 6 May 2014, Eastern ed.: C2.

[13] AD No. 26n26 (April 27, 2001); Crain, Keith. “Scattered Around the Nation.” Automotive News 19 May 2014: 12; Rechtin, Mark. “Toyota Exec: Vendors Don’t Have to Move to Texas.” Idem., 12 May 2014: 18.

[14] Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584-2069. New York City: William Morrow and Co., 1991: 279-294.

[15] No Down Payment. Jerry Wald Productions/20th Century Fox Film Corp., 1957.

[16] Berendt, Joachim E., and Gunther Huesmann. The Jazz Book: From Ragtime to the 21st Century, 6th rev. ed. Trans. H. Bredigkeit et. al. New York City: Lawrence Hill Books, 2009: 162-179.

[17] Weber, Bruce, and Daniel E. Slotnick. “Soul of Mad Magazine, Al Feldstein Dies at 88.” NYT 1 May 2014: A22.

[18] McNamara, Robert. “It’s a Mad, Mad World.” The Milwaukee Journal 13 Apr. 1980: 19.

[19] Reidelbach, Maria. Completely Mad: A History of the Comic Book and Magazine. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1991: 38, 40.

[20] Yates, Richard. A Special Providence. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969: 213.

[21] Denney, Amy. “Casa Chapala Mexican Grill and Tequila Bar.” CIN May 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 19.

[22] Dinges, Gary. “Domain to Add Punch Bowl Social.” AAS 16 May 2014: B7-8; “Impacts.” CIN Mar. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 7; “Now Open.” CIN Apr. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 6; “Now Open.” CIN May 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.

[23] “Now Open.” CIN May 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.

[24] “Impacts.” Idem.

[25] “Relocations.” CIN Apr. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.

[26] “Impacts.” CIN Mar. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.

[27] Grattan, Robert. “No City for Old Slackers.” ABJ 16 May 2014: 3.

[33] AD No. 105n23 (Feb. 27, 2008).

[28] Wood, Virginia B. “Food-O-File.” 9 May 2014: 43.

[29] AD No. 172 (Feb. 21, 2014); Swiatecki, Chad. “Sadly, End of an Era.” ABJ 9 May 2014: 3.

[30] Barbaro, Nick. “More Poor Planning.” AC 23 May 2014: 22; Coppola, Sarah. “Flood-Control Structure Too High, Must Be Redone.” AAS 16 May 2014: A1+.

[31] Toohey, Marty. “Runoff Into Barton Springs an Issue.” AAS 19 May 2014: A1+.

[32] Smith, Amy. “Highway 45 Revisited.” AC 23 May 2014: 14.

[33] Idem., “Water Talk Bubbles Forth.” 16 May 2014: 14.

[34] Whittaker, Richard. “Project Connect: Three Rail Plans Mulled for CCAG.” Idem., 23 May 2014: 18.

[35] Grattan. “Study: Land Development Rules Don’t Work.” ABJ 23 May 2014: 10.

[36] King, Michael. “Fixing What Ain’t Broke.” AC 23 May 2014: 13-14.

[37] “Headlines.”  Idem., 16 May 2014: 13.

[38] Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Nineties, rev. ed. New York City: HarperPerennial, 1992: 704-705; North, Gary. Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1996; Podles, Leon J. The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity. Dallas: Spence Publishing Co., 1999; Singer, C. Gregg. The Unholy Alliance: The Definitive History of the National Council of Churches and Its Leftist Policies – From 1908 to the Present. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1975.

[39] Barbarao. “ ‘Statesman’ Demagoguery on SXSW and Special Events.” AC 30 May 2014: 15.

[40] Gatto, John Taylor. The Underground History of American Education: A Schoolteacher's Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling, 3rd rev. ed. New York City: Oxford Village Press, 2006; Rothbard, Murray N. Education, Free and Compulsory: The Individual's Education. Wichita, Kan.: Center for Independent Education, 1972; Thomas, Jeremy. “Students Protest Modern Slavery.” DT 24 Apr. 2014: 5.

[41] Savage, Charlie, Mark Mazzetti, and Kitty Bennett. “Arms Cache Most Likely Kept in Texas by the C.I.A.” NYT 5 May 2014: A14.