Austin Dispatches

No. 178

Nov. 6, 2014

The latest Halloween was subdued, in the same ways as recent Christmases: fewer decorations, fewer songs on the radio, and everything holiday-related apart from the stores concentrated the last week of October.[1]

Regardless, I managed to have a good time with two-thirds of my seasonal ventures.[2] For example, another salsera with girlfriend potential – let’s call her … “Jacqueline Ferrera” – reappeared at an Oct. 18 Halloween social at Go Dance’s South Austin studio, in costume. “Are you supposed to be Pebbles Flintstone?”[3]

“No, just a generic cavewoman,” she laughed.

“Well, you look nice … in a primitive sort of way.”

The exception was Halloween itself. Another salsa social at another studio in South Austin was underattended at 10:30 p.m., and nothing else going on inspired me to do anything besides go home. Before I left, a black cat trotted by in the parking lot. A few seconds later, I saw a calico cat. I don’t know the implications of that.

Maybe everyone’s realized a fest for frights is superfluous, when we’ve got permanent war, grinding poverty, dispossession from our country by power elite-manipulated foreign hordes, and spreading fatal viruses.[4] A nurse who’d treated Ebola patients in West Africa arrived in Austin by plane and voluntarily quarantined herself.[5] I wouldn’t’ve guessed 25 years ago that Axl Rose would be prescient about the future as he described immigrants who “start some mini-Iran or spread some fucking disease.” [6]

Cultural Canapés

Opal Divine’s in South Austin held a “Seinfeld” quiz Sep. 18. I thought about participating, but the $5 cover provoked a Costanzaesque reaction.[7]

This fall marks the first time in 50 years that the broadcast TV networks don’t carry Saturday morning cartoons.[8] I remember in the ‘70s that the networks used to run prime-time preview specials the night before the new season.[9]

Director Richard Linklater is filming a sequel to “Dazed and Confused” through Nov. 29.[10]

Austin Death Watch

The Texas attorney general wrote an opinion that the city’s bag ban may be illegal.[11] The Sep. 4 Statesman reports that Capital Metro spending is up while ridership is down.[12] The Travis County commissioners voted a $5 million pay raise for county employees.[13] It’s probably just a coincidence, but local tax increases from four local governments will hike the typical county homeowner’s property taxes by $291.[14] Moreover, Austin property owners are on the hook for the City Council’s $3.5 billion city budget for next year.[15]

Even the Chronicle questions the Council’s practice of trying to draft ordinances late at night during its meetings.[16] Specifically, Austin’s new ordinance regulating transportation network companies is only temporary. Left unaddressed by the local power elite is why the taxi companies who pushed for the regulations themselves require special licenses to operate, or why people can’t just pick up the phone and have friends drive them as a favor, instead of tapping on a computer screen to schedule a lift from a vehicle sporting a pretentious, effeminate pink handlebar mustache.[17]

To compensate for its foray into good sense, the Chronicle also simpered and cooed that the annual early September public self-affirmation by homosexuals and other deviants downtown has spread out further – sort of like a venereal epidemic.[18] UT football home games also occurred during this time.[19] The paper doesn’t tell us whether this commingling of both groups into one big gridlock-induced morass was coincidence or some puckish prank on the part of city event planners.[20]

Speaking of morasses, the Sep. 19 Business Journal reports that proposed changes to regulations about special events, in the wake of last year’s South by Southwest fatalities, are jeopardizing other event plans.[21] A college student died of a drug overdose at the ACL Festival.[22]

Appropriately, the Austin school district named its new all-boys junior high, that opened for the school year the same day the ACLU filed a civil rights complaint about it, after former mayor and reckless driver Gus Garcia.[23]

Garcia’s predecessor, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, brought in Jimmy Cliff for a fundraising, well, reggae night.[24] That suits the career politician, because the bigger they are, the harder they fall, unless Rock Howard’s the challenger.[25] In that case, Hitler could coast to victory. Of course, Hitler at least didn’t pretend to be a libertarian.

The Austin police chief fired yet another policeman.[26]

Tentacles of Empire

A Chronicle investigation found that the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, a post-9/11 creation that shares “information” between federal and local law enforcement, has also been monitoring good-government groups and political organizations seeking to change the status quo. Nice to see the goo-goos lumped in with terrorists and criminals by the sort of government functionaries they back. The question is whether the goo-goos have the brains and the balls to change their thinking, then make the necessary changes to government.[27]

Bevo and Butt-Heads

The FBI reports that Cuban spies have been recruiting American academics.[28] I though they did that already.

At UT, a coach has suspended another jock for an assault charge off the court.[29] Meanwhile, the Oct. 29 Daily Texan reports former UT quarterback Vince Young is the diversity and community engagement officer for program alumni relations in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.[30] Given that Young’s professional football career memorably included a game where he threw his shoulder pads into the crowd, scuffled with the coach in the locker room, and stormed out of the stadium, he should bring some excitement to a normally eye-glazing project.[31]

Neighborhood News

The new owners changed the name of my complex: Folio Apartments.[32] Meanwhile, the manager informed tenants that “excessive animal feces” shut down one of the pools for maintenance. Excessive? I knew there was a reason I never swim there.[33]

On the night of Sep. 15, I spared the life of a dumbass pedestrian walking south along the northbound lane of Burnet Road. When I write he was walking along the lane, I mean he was in the lane, rather than keeping to the shoulder. Fortunately for my car’s exterior, I saw him soon enough to slow down, switch lanes, and call him a dumb motherfucker, in a dismissive tone one usually deploys for chronically stupid relatives. He may have been oblivious to his own safety, but he understood that.

An heirloom jewelry buyer off Burnet left town, the details in dispute.[34] On Sep. 9, I witnessed the aftermath of an auto collision at Gracy Farms Lane and the egress to The Village at Gracy Farms.

On Sep. 10, I attended a neighborhood forum for mayoral and Council District 7 candidates. Once again, I was motivated to move out of town. Bureaucrats in government and their non-governmental auxiliaries predominated among the candidates, and even the few private citizens running accept the gestalt of government involvement in everything, including the need for more and better planning.[35] To hear them speak, you’d think Austin didn’t already have decades of implemented plans and planners running amok. Perhaps this is inevitable, given the deep-rooted mindset found among government, academia, and big business, but couldn’t somebody running have articulated a comprehensive laissez-faire alternative to these city Soetoros?[36]

La Morada has closed.[37] Three eateries, two salons, a shoe store, a sweets shop, and a chiropracty have opened. For once, I must agree with a Chronicle restaurant review. A brewery has expanded.[38] KEYE-TV has a new news director.[39]

Further Political Follies

The gubernatorial bid of Sen. Wendy “Abortion Barbie” Davis, D-Fort Worth, crashed and burned Nov. 4 in a humiliating fashion consistent with the rest of her campaign, in which the tawdry milestones of her life, more befitting a soap opera villainess than a public servant, were exposed for all the world to savor, the Mexicans voted en mass for one of their own in her party’s primary, and she took flak for ads attacking her main opponent for being a cripple.[40] That last part might’ve worked in Texas had she explicitly linked the attacks with an older worldview “which still respected the notion of the Book of Leviticus that those destined for high service must be perfect in body,” but such approach requires more familiarity with scripture than nostril-flaring yuppettes like her are known for.[41]

Al-Qaeda’s expanding operations into India.[42] I suspect the terrorist group has lost patience with the help desk personnel who handle its computer issues. Meanwhile, Brooklynites berated and chased away a couple of Arab civil rights activists.[43] The “assailants” have done more for national security than the entire U.S. government the past 13 years.

Media Indigest

The newsstands at Whole Foods sport two new titles. Austin Way is another glossy lifestyle magazine about famous locals satisfied with their glossy lives and living in houses with quirky interior décor that yet somehow seems impersonal. yBitcoin is a glossy print publication devoted to explaining and advocating the online payment system. The former function’s convenient, because a few readers have asked me about the topic and I had no answers or insights, because I don’t understand it, either. Actually, I’d anticipated the first printed comprehensive explanation about Bitcoin would appear in a book.

Meanwhile, the latest issue of Austin MD contains a 10-page feature on the bachelors and bachelorettes of the second annual Date a Doc Charity Auction. Of the doctor bachelorettes, half of them look like they’d get the same lectures about weight, diet and cholesterol as the rest of us at their annual check-ups. Moreover, they’re just as picky and demanding about their potential suitors as their less-credentialed counterparts. You’d probably get more attention as a cash-paying patient than as a date.[44]

Business Roundup

A federal jury has sentenced to prison executives of a company that never even bothered to respond to my resume.[45]

The U.S. Postal Service announced it’s cutting rates to compete with private carriers.[46] The August Community Impact Newspaper includes a guide to Central Texas antique shopping.[47]



[1] AD No. 121 (Jan. 5, 2009); AD No. 149 (Feb. 11, 2012); AD No. 160 (Jan. 8, 2013); Barragan, James, Marty Toohey, and Andrew McLemore. “Fan Fest and Halloween Merge, Draw Thousands.” AAS 1 Nov. 2014: A1+.

[2] Eisler, Dan. “Re: Halloween 2014.” E-mail to Chris Loyd, 2 Nov. 2014.

[3] Lenberg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film and Television’s Award-Winning and Legendary Animators. New York City: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006: 19.

[4] AD No. 159n2 (Dec. 25, 2012); King, Michael. “Premature Deaths.” AC 24 Oct. 2014: 14+; Kluger, Jeffrey et al. “Fear Factor.” Time 20 Oct. 2014: 30-34; Sullivan, Natalie. “Student on Ebola Flight to Return to University.” DT 4 Nov. 2014: 1-2.

[5] Roser, Mary Ann, and Julie Chang. “Nurse Lauded for Voluntary Quarantine.” AAS 30 Oct. 2014: A1+.

[6] Guns n’ Roses. “One in a Million.” G N’ R Lies. Geffen 9 24198-2, 1988; Wall, Mick. W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose. New York City: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.

[7] “Community.” AC 19 Sep. 2014: 54.

[8] “Dads – Era Comes to Close As Saturday Morning Cartoons Snuffed Out.” Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin 27 Oct. 2014: 6.

[9] Burke, Timothy, and Kevin Burke. Saturday Morning Fever. New York City: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999: 82.

[10] “In Brief.” ABJ 3 Oct. 2014: 11.

[11] Lindell, Chuck, and Asher Price. “Bag Bans May Be Violating State Law.” AAS 30 Aug. 2014: A1+.

[12] Wear, Ben. “Flush Cap Metro’s Ridership Shrinking.” AAS 4 Sep. 2014: A1+.

[13] Lim, Andra. “Travis Employees to Get Raises.” AAS 4 Sep. 2014: B1+.

[14] Idem., “How That Typical Tax Bill Rises $291.” 29 Sep. 2014: A1+.

[15] Curington, Jennifer. “City Council Adopts $3.5 Billion Budget.” CIN 25 Sep. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 1+.

[16] Barbaro, Nick. “No Way to Run a City.” AC 3 Oct. 2014: 16.

[17] AD No. 162n22 (March 30, 2013); Brennan, Jason. Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York City: Oxford UP, 2012: 145; Hoffberger, Chase. “Buy Yourselves a Ride – Legally!” AC 24 Oct. 2014: 22.

[18] Bauer, Henry H. The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2007; Hayden, Deborah. Pox: Genius, Madness, and the Mysteries of Syphilis. New York City: Basic Books, 2003; Messer, Kate X., Sarah Marloff, and Nina Hernandez. “Gayest. September. Ever.” AC 5 Sep. 46-47; Rappoport, Jon. AIDS Inc.: Scandal of the Century. San Bruno, Calif.: Human Energy Press, 1988; Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, rev. ed. New York City: Penguin Books, 1988.

[19] Golden, Cedric, and Kirk Bohls. “All Downhill.” AAS 7 Sep. 2014: C1.

[20] AD No. 165n28 (July 12, 2013).

[21] Swiatecki, Chad. “When the Chips Are Down.” ABJ 19 Sep. 2014: 4-6.

[22] McLemore, Andrew. “Police: Woman Dies After Taking Ecstasy During Festival.” AAS 11 Oct. 2014: B3.

[23] AD No. 121n23; Taboada, Melissa B. “Austin District Debuts All-Boys Middle School.” AAS 4 Sep. 2014: B1+.

[24] Cliff, Jimmy [James Chambers]. “The Harder They Come.” The Harder They Come – Original Soundtrack Recording, expanded ed. Hip-O/Island 440 069 495-2, 2003; Cliff. “Reggae Night.” The Power and the Glory. Columbia FC 38986, 1983; Concert Under the Stars. Advertisement. AC 26 Sep. 2014: 17.

[25] “Texas Legislature.” AC 10 Nov. 2006: 25.

[26] “Headlines.” AC 31 Oct. 2014: 20.

[27] Anderson, John. “ARIC and Privacy.” AC 29 Aug. 2014: 22.

[28] Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Cuban Intelligence Targeting of Academia.” Private Sector Advisory, 2 Sep. 2014.

[29] Sullivan. “Walker Suspended on Assault Charge.” DT 15 Sep. 2014: 1-2.

[30] Wilts, Alex. “University, Powers Seek Continued Diversity.” DT 29 Oct. 2014: 1-2.

[31] Wiedmer, Mark. “Are Titans on the Verge of Another QB Controversy?” Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press 20 Sep. 2010: 17.

[32] AD No. 177n32 (Aug. 23, 2014); Hanlon, Erica. Letter to Stonehollow Apartments tenants, 23 Oct. 2014.

[33] Idem., 26 Aug. 2014.

[34] Day, Jeff. Letter to Editor. AC 12 Sep. 2014: 8+; Hoffberger. “Heirloom Wisdom.” AC 29 Aug. 2014: 24.

[35] East, Andy. “Mr./Ms. Mayor.” ATX Man Fall 2014: 42-46.

[36] Corsi, Jerome R. The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. New York City: Threshold Editions, 2008: 45; King. “Looking for Bums.” AC 26 Sep. 2014: 10+; Orum, Anthony M. Power, Money and the People: The Making of Modern Austin. Austin, Texas: Texas Monthly Press, 1987.

[37] “Closings.” CIN Sep. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.

[38] “Food & Drink” ATX Man Fall 2014: 15; Haupt, Melanie. “Darn Shame.” AC 19 Sep. 2014: 72; “Impacts.” CIN Aug. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 4-5; “Now Open. CIN Sep. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 6; Idem., Oct. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 6

[39] Dinges, Gary. “KEYE’s New News Boss Has Texas Background.” AAS 26 Sep. 2014: B6-7.

[40] Draper, Robert. “The Legend of Wendy Davis.” New York Times Magazine 16 Feb. 2014: MM18; Tilove, Jonathan. “Tea Party Surges As Democrats Struggle.” AAS 6 Mar. 2014: A1+; Tilove, and Laylan Copelin. “GOP Landslide.” AAS 5 Nov. 2014: A1+; “Wheelchair Ad Rolls Back on Davis.” USAT 14 Oct. 2014: 6A.

[41] Johnson, Paul. The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830. New York City: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991: 93.

[42] “India Sounds Alert as al Qaeda Sets Up a Sub-Continent Wing.” Hindustan Times 5 Sep. 2014, Guragon ed.: 1+.

[43] Tracy, Thomas, and Joe Stepansky. “Arab Target in B’klyn Bias Hit.” NYDN 4 Sep. 2014: 8.

[44] “Come Rock the Red Carpet for Austin’s Hottest and Most Admirable Docs.” Austin MD Sep./Oct. 2014: 52-61.

[45] Copelin, Laylan. “Ex-ArthroCare Executives Get Prison Time for Fraud.” AAS 30 Aug. 2014: B4.

[46] Stevens, Laura. “U.S. Mail Cuts Prices, Chafing UPS and FedEx.” WSJ 5 Sep. 2014, Eastern ed.: B1-2.

[47] Curington, Jennifer, and Amy Denney. “Regional Antiques Guide.” CIN Aug. 2014, Northwest Austin ed.: 21-23.