Austin Dispatches No. 176 July 6, 2014

e176fig2The cashier looked worried when I asked why the cover charge was $7.

Dallas Nite Club had levied this before on holidays and for out-of-town DJs, but this was just a regular weeknight.

Only then did I learn Dallas had upped its regular cover charge by another $2 – vital information it didn’t deem worthy of telling us about on its Web site, print ads, or Internet listings. That, combined with some changes to the local salsa scene for perhaps the past nine months, forces me to consider scaling back my participation.

I do so reluctantly, if only because my frequent dance partners have learned to laugh at my jokes. Trouble is, a lot of people, sometimes people I’d seen around since my early days on the scene, have vanished. The people who replaced the old crowd tend to be more socially avoidant, whether that means constantly checking their cell phones or just refraining from signaling interest in dancing. Moreover, fewer women total have been attending. I could manage tolerably when the cover charge was $5, but at $7, my rough formula ($1/dance) means I’m no longer getting my money’s worth, unless I want to stay out well past midnight, which isn’t compatible with the work world’s schedule.

Beyond time and money, Austin used to have a better scene than several major cities, but no more.[1] Unlike previous slumps, this one’s lasted longer, with fewer venues with wood floors left.[2] June 28, Go Dance’s North Austin location held its last salsa social.

I don’t know what I’ll do instead. Austin generally isn’t as sociable as it was when I moved here, and that’s been a trend at least since fee-charging classes and professional services swamped Craigslist events, about five years ago. Quite apart from municipal meddlers, going out means enduring bad traffic, inconvenient times or locations, bad parking, higher cover charges, and poor service. So much for the Live Music Capital of the World.[3] Jive Muzak Capital, maybe.

Beyond these barriers, at the place or event in question, then you must contend with people who were never properly socialized and don’t know how to interact with strangers – or anybody else, for that matter. This aspect of contemporary life has become so commonplace people seldom remark how odd it really is – like this AT&T advertisement:


Nothing conveys a meaningful love affair like ignoring your significant other for a telescreen.[4]

And even if you can overcome all of the above, what’s the point of making and cultivating friends and the occasional inamorata when these people will just disappear from your life soon enough for whatever reason? I’ve read these phenomena are general social trends, but that doesn’t make enduring them any less annoying. On the other hand, even people I dislike don’t stick around.

No, moving elsewhere won’t fix these problems, which, anecdotally, seem to be nationwide.

Editorially, this means instead of accounts of my personal life, political rants will probably dominate future issues even more.[5] For example…

Austin Death Watch

The June 6 Statesman reports that “Recent polling and economic reality suggest one of the central tenets of Slackerdom has indeed given way to a different outlook: People in boomtown Austin seem to increasingly value work, focus, and career success.”[6] The daily’s story matches my observations, though I’d question whether Austin’s a boomtown now compared to when I moved here.[7]

After receiving their property tax appraisals, Austin residents grumbled their taxes are too high at a May 20 community forum.[8] The city Transportation Department is grumbling about “ridesharing” participants violating federal transportation law.[9] Local musicians are grumbling that the city towed their parked vehicles off Sixth Street while they were unloading their gear for the gigs.[10]

Various local statists have gotten crosswise with each other over competing plans to meddle in others’ property rights.[11] It may be the only thing that’s saving us for now. Similarly, Chronicalista Michael King laments that a mass transit plan subject to voter approval is already poised for defeat. If we work together and defeat this decisively, maybe we can break King’s spirit permanently.[12]

He deserves it. He wrote an indignant, hoplaphobic column in the aftermath of a recent mass shooting without ever once mentioning the common aspect for all these shooters is prescription psychotropics.[13] Furthermore, the Chronicle’s fretting on the topic might be more credible if didn’t also extol violent entertainment, such as its gleeful celebration of Crime Month (“The mealy mouthed hack screamed like a eunuch as I flushed his prescription anti-depressants down the crapper. I fluidly pulled the roscoe out of my backside holster and splattered his brains all over the alt-weekly newsroom. Then I altered the crime scene to make it look like some wetbacks heisted the place to finance their next fix.”).[14]

Even Mayor Lee Leffingwell was forced to acknowledge the city’s business incentives program is counterproductive. Of course, this happened after several big companies publicly rejected the lures as counterproductive.[15] Meanwhile, environmentalists failed in an attempt to remove Leffingwell from a committee “that deals with protection of the Balcones Canyonlands conservation area.”[16]

An alligator attacked an Austin environmental activist swimming in a South Texas lake. The alligator had his jaws around the activist’s skull before the latter began spouting green rhetoric. The alligator let him go because there are some things even wild predators can’t swallow.[17]

The Austin Firefighters Association filed suit in federal court against a consent decree between the city and the U.S. Justice Department regarding diversity quotas.[18] The Chronicle devotes two articles in its July 4 issue to attacking Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton for detaining foreign trespassers with preexisting criminal records for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to deport (presumably). This may be the only time I can recall the Chronicle attacking a Democrat – and for doing his job enforcing a law that’s actually popular with county citizens – you know, the people who already live here.[19] Moreover, there’s a deeper story here that rag’s scribes are too chickenshit or too blind to address. Hamilton’s black. American blacks really don’t like foreigners, particularly the browns the American power elite’s importing to marginalize or eliminate them.[20] The surname of the Chronicle’s hit man is Cantú, which I’m guessing won’t be found on the Mayflower Registry. Cantú’s articles praise the lawman who won’t enforce this law, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, Coincidentally, Acevedo is also Hispanic. What suffers most in this racial skirmishing is the rule of law, public order and domestic tranquility.

Seven years after The Daily Texan, the Chronicle concludes that racial integration has destroyed the club scene in historically black East Austin.[21] While it’s laudable the Chronicle has ventured out of its comfort zone and covered an aspect of the local blacks on their own terms, instead of using the subject as a prop to proclaim superiority against other whites, the story conveniently avoids addressing questions discomfiting to the paper.[22] Such as: If the loss of the black club scene is so bad, does that mean pro-segregationists actually had a valid point, instead of being the one-dimensional arch villains they’re always portrayed as? Moreover, the story’s non-racial aspect – the struggle for clubs, and hence the much-vaunted music scene, to survive amid the city’s statist regulatory climate that the Chronicle supports – goes unmentioned. When will the Chronicle admit it’s always been wrong on this issue?

The Jewish Outlook, a free local ethnocentric periodical that confirms the stereotypes, has some good news and some bad news. The good news is that delicatessen food is available in Austin again, from Kenny & Ziggy’s no less.[23] The bad news is you have to order it online and wait for delivery from Houston.[24] This could really hamper your lunch break.

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services responded to 25 crashes during this year’s Republic of Texas Biker Rally.[25] Which just goes to prove something Confucius copy wrote for a fortune cookie company in Kowloon: “A fool and his motorbike are soon parted.” So many attendees to the recent X Games were “strung out on crystal meth” they almost overwhelmed emergency personnel.[26]

More Political Follies

e176fig4I remember when pinko comedian-writer Dennis Perrin was the only other man online criticizing Obama with anything other than wussy GOP talking points.[27] Now everybody flogs him like an uppity slave. Obama takes so much criticism you’d think he was Geoff Neale (but that’s for another issue).[28]

Most recently, Joan Rivers, shrill Jewess and plastic surgery victim, publicly called Obama a faggot and his wife a tranny.[29] Rivers follows the North Korean government, which recently called Obama a “wicked black monkey.”[30]

Really? That’s the best they can do? I don’t want to get into insults here, but any random stateside Korean retail clerk could come up with something better – and probably has. For example, if those slit-eyed, urine-colored midgets who murdered our boys along the Yalu really wanted to prick Obama's thin, ego-bloated skin, they might’ve called him something like, oh, “a no-account, trifling zebra too dumb to pick cotton.”[31] It might’ve inspired the administration to devise something besides its actual prissy, tepid reply.

But the biggest insult to Obama has to be the latest polls showing him to be barely more popular than … Dubya?[32] That takes some work. And you though Obama was lazy.[33]             

Like I said, I don’t want to get into insults. By now, everybody knows that motherfucker ain’t shit. So I don’t have to belabor the issue.

The Chronicle’s in a snit because the Texas GOP approved a platform that reflects the wishes of the Republican rank and file, instead of the Chronicle newsroom.[34] Come to think of it, that platform sounds better than whatever drivel the national LP has produced since Portland (but that’s for another issue, too).

e176fig5In the June 27 Chronicle, columnist Michael Ventura poorly attempts the type of political analysis Austin Dispatches does regularly. By this, I mean he forgets his own good insights from his earlier columns and concludes, apparently without self-deprecating irony, “Stop speaking in terms that describe a previous generation’s country.” Perhaps that Boomer pinko stuck in the ‘60s should take his own advice.[35]

Perversely, the same issue contains a feature about John Henry Faulk, some Austin-born broadcaster famous for being blacklisted by Red hunters in the ‘50s. Naturally, this has made him a martyr to comsymps and other fools, to the extent that Austin Public Library’s central branch is named after him. Given that this branch is concrete crap done in the ugliest Soviet architectural style possible, with insufficient parking, I’ve wondered whether it wasn’t some in-joke many of us missed.[36] Well, now it can be told: This article, written by someone who worked with Faulk, concedes so many details of Faulk’s actual views and political affiliations that it’s irrefutable he was a goddamned fellow traveler even if he avoided being a formal card-carrying Communist.[37] In other words, the Red hunters were right, and CBS was justified in kicking Faulk’s ass off its payroll. This is why the Reds and pinkos malign the “Red scare” to this day, because for once, people like Obama’s parents were on the defensive and receiving the kind of treatment they dreamed of inflicting on us.[38] A pity the corporatist power elite undermined these efforts,[39] and we’re that much further along the road to serfdom that Ventura decries without understanding why.[40] The big surprise is that this appears in the Chronicle. The editorial staff must’ve been distracted to let this admission slip through. Wait’ll they find out Alger Hiss really was a Soviet spy.[41]                                                                                                       

Neighborhood News

On June 25, I witnessed the driver of a luxury sedan misjudge the rain-slick pavement at MoPac Expressway and Scofield Ridge Parkway, skid into the MoPac southbound frontage lane’s curb, and destroy the sedan’s underside, particularly the front axle.

Police arrested an up and coming local lawyer in a prostitution sting in the 11900 block of MoPac.[42]

The UT supercomputer center named a new director and plans to expand.[43] A construction firm has renovated some former IBM buildings on Kramer Lane as its headquarters.[44] A Vietnamese restaurant will open in the shopping plaza at Research Boulevard and Burnet Road.[45] A photographer, a mattress store, a flooring store, and a sandwich shop have opened.[46] A shoe store has moved from Burnet Road to Rutland Drive. An Indian grocery store has relocated to another suite in the Parmer Lane Marketplace strip mall.[47] A jeweler and a technology gift store have closed.[48]

Community Impact Newspaper’s Northwest Austin edition for June includes a feature on Kiefer’s Café & Catering. However, contrary to the article, the best lunch choice is not the chicken salad sandwich, but the hot sandwiches.[49]

Bevo and Butt-heads

A local prof has been living in a Dumpster to prove a theory that other Americans should live the same way. What he’s really demonstrated is where many of his academic peers should go after we stop paying their salaries and convert those colleges to office parks and condominiums.[50]

Science Roundup

Recent DNA tests on hair samples dispelled the possibility of them coming from sasquatches – the Pacific Northwest’s answer to the chupacabra.[51] I’m surprised the topic got the coverage it did, because interest dropped off sharply around 1980, along with roller disco and other ‘70s phenomena.[52] I figured the sasquatch had left the woods and become a programmer at Microsoft or something.

Geophysicists at UT have authored a paper claiming geothermal fluxes have been melting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.[53]

Media Indigest

The brouhaha surrounding the New York Times publisher firing Editor-in-Chief Jill Abramson fails to address the real question: Why is that paper so dull?[54] As a reporter, I never understood why my peers were so quick to praise it, unless they themselves were secretly, intrinsically dull and/or cravenly careerist. Many periodicals espouse worldviews I strongly disagree with, but the writing is far livelier.

Business Roundup

The June 6 Chronicle proclaims “perfume is a country.”[55] So is it ruled by Prince Matchabelli?[56]

Whole Foods had to hire two full-time employees just to handle compliance with California regulations.[57]

Cultural Canapés

Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey cable network will headquarter in Austin. This makes El Rey the first TV network to be based out of Texas, according to the Chronicle.[58]

The March GQ proclaims the fashionable return of wearing a jacket with a shirt buttoned to the collar without a necktie.[59] It’s a look from the mid-‘80s through the mid-‘90s that characters remarked upon in Elmore Leonard novels – unfavorably[60] – until it died from association with O.J. Simpson sporting the style at his murder-trial arraignment.[61] Keep in mind the same issue also proclaims the seersucker suit is back.[62]

This year marks the centennial of the foxtrot, the surviving dance among many introduced in 1914. If you so choose, in Austin you can dance it socially at least once a week, to more recent recordings from various Vegasy crooners.[63]

Home Archives


[1] AD No. 137 (Nov. 23, 2010), p. 2; AD No. 138 (Jan. 13, 2011).

[2] AD No. 100 (Sep. 3, 2007); AD No. 105n55 (Feb. 27, 2008).

[3] AD No. 23 (Dec. 2000); AD No. 29 (Sep. 4, 2001); AD No. 34n9 (Jan. 14, 2002); AD No. 65 (May 22, 2004); AD No. 114 (July 27, 2008); AD No. 119 (Dec. 7, 2008); AD No. 149n35 (Feb. 11, 2012); AD No. 165 (July 12, 2013).

[4] Boyd, Danah. It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 2014.

[5] Eisler, Dan. “Did the Earth Move for You?” E-mail to Dennis Lucey, 30 Aug. 2011.

[6] Toohey, Marty. “Picking Up the Slack.” AAS 6 Jun. 2014: A1+.

[7] High Tech Austin: Millennium Edition. Ed. Robert Lawrence. Austin, Texas: High Tech Austin Annual, 2000.

[8] Smith, Amy. “No Praise for Appraisal Process.” AC 6 Jun. 2014: 12.

[9] Grattan, Robert. “Lyft, Uber Put Pressure on City Hall Like Never Before.” ABJ 6 Jun. 2014: A6; Hoffberger, Chase. “Need a Lyft? Rideshare Wars, the Sequel.” AC 6 Jun. 2014: 16-17.

[10] Curtin, Kevin. “Sixth Street Parking Screws Musicians – Again.” AC 6 Jun. 2014: 48.

[11] Smith. “Split Views on ADUs.” AC 20 Jun. 2014: 12.

[12] AD No. 175n34 (May 31, 2014); King, Michael. “Dis Connect.” AC 13 Jun. 2014: 10+.

[13] King. “We’ll Always Have … Mass Murder.” AC 6 Jun. 2014: 11-12.

[14] Faires, Robert. “July Is Crime Month.” AC 4 Jul. 2014: 29.

[15] Grattan. “Economic Incentives – It’s Not Just About the City’s Money.” ABJ 20 Jun. 2014: 8; Pope, Colin. “City Officials Must Catch Up to Private Sector.” ABJ 13 Jun. 2014: 31.

[16] Rockwell, Lily, and Andrea Lim. “Mayor Stays on Balcones Panel.” AAS 28 Jun. 2014: B1+; Smith. “Morrison to Mayor: ‘It’s Not Personal, It’s Policy.’ ” AC 4 Jul. 2014: 19.

[17] Mortimer, Sarah. “Crocodile Goes Head-to-Head With Alligator.” AC 4 Jul. 2014: 17.

[18] AD No. 175n36; King. “…And Two Steps Back.” AC 4 Jul. 2014: 10+.

[19] Cantú, Tony. “Cold as ICE.” AC 4 Jul. 2014: 22+; Idem. “Hamilton Digs In: Won’t End ‘S-Comm.’ ” 14.

[20] Gottfried, Paul Edward. Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy. Columbia, Mo.: U of Missouri P, 2002: 166; Taylor, Jared. Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. New York City: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1992: 197-198; Vaca, Nicolás C. The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict Between Latinos and Blacks and What It Means for America. New York City: Rayo, 2004.

[21] AD No. 100n13; Hoffberger. “Cold Sweat.” AC 13 Jun. 2014: 50-53.

[22] AD No. 163n28 (May 5, 2013); AD No. 133 (May 4, 2010).

[23] AD No. 150n54 (April 16, 2012).

[24] Hanna, Mark. “Is There a Jewish Deli in Austin’s Future?” The Jewish Outlook June 2014: 4.

[25] McLemore, Andrew, and Philip Jankowski. “No Fatal Crashes During Biker Rally.” AAS 16 Jun. 2014: B1+.

[26] Hoffberger. “X Games X-Factors: Heat, Booze, and Meth.” AC 4 Jul. 2014: 20.

[27] AD No. 118 (Oct. 27, 2008); AD No. 119, op. cit.; AD No. 122 (Feb. 8, 2009); AD No. 123 (April 22, 2009); AD No. 125 (June 20, 2009); AD No. 128 (Nov. 7, 2009); AD No. 134 (July 10, 2010); AD No. 135 (July 21, 2010); AD No. 141 (May 17, 2011); AD No. 142 (June 16, 2011); AD No. 147 (Dec. 16, 2011); AD No. 156 (Sep. 22, 2012); AD No. 159 (Dec. 25, 2012); AD No. 161 (March 12, 2013); AD No. 164 (May 29, 2013); “Second Time as Tragedy.” Dennis Perrin 13 Nov. 2012 < http://dennisperrin.blogspot.com/2012/11/second-time-as-tragedy.html>.

[28] Pyeatt, Jill et al. “Open Thread for Libertarian National Convention June 27 to 29.” Independent Political Report 26 Jun. 2014 < http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2014/06/open-thread-for-libertarian-national-convention-june-27-to-29/>.

[29] "Joan Rivers Says Obama is Gay and First Lady is a Tranny." Chicago Examiner 4 Jul. 2014, Chicago Top News Examiner: NewsBank. Web. 5 Jul. 2014.

[30] Howie, Michael. “US Slams North Korea’s ‘Wicked Black Monkey’ Slur on Obama.” London Evening Standard 9 May 2014, West End Final A ed.: 29.

[31] AD No. 135n5; Berrettini, Mark L. “Private Knowledge, Public Space: Investigation and Navigation in ‘Devil in a Blue Dress.’ ” Authorship in Film Adaptation. Ed. Jack Boozer. Austin, Texas: U of Texas P, 2008: 128-129n11; O’Rourke, P.J. Holidays in Hell. New York City: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988: 184.

[32] Boyer, Dave, and Stephen Dinan. “Obama Polls as Worst President Since World War II.” The Washington Times 3 Jul. 2014: 1.

[33] Klein, Edward. The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, rev. ed. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2013: 64.

[34] Watson, Brandon. “GOP Marches Backward.” AC 13 Jun. 2014: 20.

[43] AD No. 93 (Oct. 15, 2006).

[35] Ventura, Michael. “Oligarchy Blues.” AC 27 Jun. 2014: 28.

[36] Chaubin, Frédéric. CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed. Trans. Charles Penwarden. Cologne, Germany: Taschen, 2011.

[37] Manus, Willard. “Faulk Hero.” AC 27 Jun. 2014: 32-33.

[38] Sailer, Steve. America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's Story of Race and Inheritance. Washington, Conn.: VDARE Foundation, 2008: Ch. 2-3; Scott, Janny. A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother. New York City: Riverhead Books, 2011.

[39] Manly, Chesly. The Twenty-Year Revolution: From Roosevelt to Eisenhower. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1954: Ch. 1-2, 13; Martin Dies’ Story. New York City: Bookmailer, 1963: Ch. 16; Stang, Alan. The Actor: The True Story of John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, 1953-1959. Boston: Western Islands, 1968: Ch. 24; Sutton, Antony C. The Best Enemy Money Can Buy. Billings, Mont.: Liberty House Press, 1986: Ch. 5, 7, Appendix F; Welch, Robert. The Politician, rev. ed. 1963. Rpt. Appleton, Wis.: Robert Welch UP, 2002: Ch. 8-18.

[40] Hayek, F.A. The Road to Serfdom, corr. 4th ed. Ed. Bruce Caldwell. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2007.

[41] Haynes, John Earl, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev. Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 2010: Ch. 1.

[42] “Reader’s Picks.” ABJ 4 Jul. 2014: 2.

[43] Gaar, Brian. “UT Selects Supercomputing Chief.” AAS 3 Jul. 2014: B5-6.

[44] Buchholz, Jan. “Finally, New Life for Old IBM Offices.” ABJ 6 Jun. 2014: A4.

[45] Idem. “Ready to Spread Their Wings.” 27 Jun. 2014: A4.

[46] “Now Open.” CIN Jun. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.

[47] “Relocations.” Idem., 7.

[48] “Closings” Idem.

[49] Taylor, Lyndsey. “Keifer’s Café & Catering.” Idem., 45.

[50] Ankrum, Nora. “Prof. Dumpster: Fighting for the 1%.” AC 20 Jun. 2014: 18.

[51] Cheng, Maria. “DNA Tests Prove That Bigfoot Is Part Bear, Wolf – and Human.” The Independent 3 Jul. 2014: 25; Radford, Benjamin. Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. Albuquerque, N.M.: U of New Mexico P, 2011.

[52] McLeod, Michael. Anatomy of a Beast: Obsession and Myth on the Trail of Bigfoot. Berkeley, Calif.: U of California P, 2009: 4.

[53] Schroeder, Dustin M. et al. “Evidence for Elevated and Spatially Variable Geothermal Fluxes Beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 24 Jun. 2014: 9,070-9,072.

[54] Taranto, James. “Church and State.” TAS Jul. 2014: 52-53.

[55] Gentry, Amy. “Perfume Is a Country.” AC 6 Jun. 2014: 38-39.

[56] “Matchabelli, Prince.” New Perfume Handbook, rev. ed. Ed. Nigel Groom. London: Blackie Academic and Professional, 1997: 206.

[57] “Whole Foods Fined.” ABJ 27 Jun. 2014: A31.

[58] AD No. 174n35 (April 12, 2014); Whittaker, Richard. “El Rey Move Lights Up Austin Film Scene.” AC 13 Jun. 2014: 14.

[59] Moore, Jim. “Back From the Dead: The Air Tie.” GQ Mar. 2014: 79.

[60] Leonard, Elmore. Bandits. New York City: Arbor House, 1987: 71; Leonard. Get Shorty. New York City: Delacorte Press, 1990: 102.

[61] Dunne, Dominick. Another City, Not My Own: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir. 1997. Rpt. New York City: Ballentine Books, 2009; Lange, Tom, Philip Vannatter, and Moldea. Evidence Dismissed: The Inside Story of the Police Investigation of O.J. Simpson. New York City: Pocket Books, 1997; O’Rourke, P.J. Give War a Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind’s Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice and Alcohol-Free Beer. New York City: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1992: 7; Reed, Ishmael. Juice! Champaign, Ill.: Dalkey Archive Press, 2011.

[62] Green, Mark Anthony. “The Talented Mr. Shipley & Halmos.” GQ Mar. 2014: 82.

[63] Douglas, Ann. Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s. New York City: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1995: 52; Hawkins, Christina M. A Compilation and Analysis of the Origins of the Foxtrot in White Mainstream America. MA thesis. Brigham Young University Department of Dance, 2002: 18.