Austin Dispatches No. 192 Nov. 21, 2016

I was preoccupied with other matters,[1] so the wording of the safety recall notice from Honda about faulty passenger air bags read like an assurance that the problem could wait.[2]

After about two months, I still hadn’t received a follow-up letter as promised about the parts’ availability at the dealership for repair. I had to overcome Honda’s inscrutable phone tree system to get a halfway straight answer, like a Marine unit extirpating a concealed emplacement.[3] Customer Service’s halfway straight answer was that I had to call the dealership.

This kind of corporate bungling happens all the time, but Honda was actually a great company.[4] “Was,” because for several years I’ve noticed a decline in service at all levels from Honda’s previous excellence. Had Honda sent that follow-up letter, or for cost-savings, stated clearly in the recall notice that I had to contact the dealership directly, this whole matter would’ve been satisfactorily settled months earlier, and you’d be reading my rant about the election instead.[5]

In Other Business …

During this same period, a real estate broker sent an unsolicited pitch to my business e-mail account about renting in Chicago’s Old Town, just four blocks away from the notorious Cabrini-Green projects to warehouse feral blacks.[6]

Numerous newspapers worldwide report that Indian suppliers have been ripping off retailers with lower-quality fabric blends in bedsheets instead of made with Egyptian cotton as promised. No surprise to anyone who’s made the mistake of doing business with subcontinental curries – you’ll always regret it, even if you can understand a fucking word they mumble.[7] In my early days of Internet shopping, I ordered some bedsheets cheap – presumably quality fabric. Only weeks went by and they didn’t arrive when they were supposed to. I had to call the sellers in New Jersey. After 10 minutes of their uncomprehending excuses, I lost my temper and insinuated that I had a “crew” waiting outside their office to resolve the problem.[8] That got their attention, and my order arrived the next day – no charge.

In the past two months, Windows 7 has gained market share, and gained more market share than Windows 10.[9]

Bloomberg News reported Halloween candy sales rose to an estimated $3.8 billion this year.[10] Regardless, my admittedly subjective impression of the 2016 holiday mood is the breadth and depth of Halloween celebrations are down from previous years, and closer to the low-key event of my childhood.[11]

Austin Death Watch

The Austintatious manner may be putting off investors in the rest of the state, thereby starving tech start-ups of the moolah they need, according to the Oct. 28 Chronicle.[12] The article’s implication is Austin needs to drop the country-fried pinko mentality if it’s to become a world-class city.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Austin cop on a domestic disturbance beef.[13] Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services suspended a medic after a drunk-driving arrest.[14]

A judge rule the City Council violated the Texas Open Meetings Act in December when it OK’d at least $50 million in fee waivers for a housing development.[16] The Nov. 4 Chronicle reports City meddling is preventing an Eastside homeowner from selling his property.[16]

Typical labor union corruption, in this case dating back to the ‘80s, has endangered Local 433 of the American Federation of Musicians.[17]

Cultural Canapés

Comedian Kevin Meaney died Oct. 20, apparently from an excess of New York imported cheesecake.[18] The Oct. 20 Daily Texan carries a feature on student bluegrass musicians.[19]

Esquire’s fashion director blames the current generation of hipsters for ruining the appeal of wearing neckties, thereby encouraging the cravatless look seen from the lowliest late-wave Millennial to the globalist elite.[20] Of course, the type he’s writing about in the October issue could ruin anything.[21] A few years back, I saw a spread of these sad sacks sporting the fourth incarnation of the thin necktie and thought, “Kid, you look ridiculous. And that ain’t how you wear a necktie. This is how you wear a necktie.”

Bevo and Butt-Heads

The St. Edward’s University campus newspaper found it remarkable that a “professor integrates real world experience within the classroom,” which makes it about as damning a backhanded compliment as I’ve ever seen.[22]

Media Indigest

UT students are trying to revive print ‘zines.[23] Ownership of Texas Monthly magazine has changed hands.[24]

On the Town

Oct. 18: The student at the beauty school where I usually get my hair cut turned out to be the daughter of a nodding acquaintance on the salsa scene. Maybe Austin is still a small town.

Neighborhood News

A section of the new MoPac Expressway toll lane from Far West Boulevard to Parmer Lane opened Oct. 15.[25]

The Texas Education Agency cleared a Turk-founded private school chain, with a location just across the street from my apartment, of the Turkish government’s accusation of … nepotism, i.e., how most of the peoples of the world get things done apart from ripping off customers.[26]

On Nov. 3, I witnessed the aftermath of a smash-up near the MoPac southbound exit ramp to Duval Road. The Statesman’s Traffic Web page reported incidents on Oct. 19 and 20 at Burnet Road and U.S. Highway 183, on Oct. 24 at Burnet and Waterford Centre Boulevard, and on Nov. 8 at MoPac and Duval.

Still more stores have opened at The Domain.[27] A CVS pharmacy opened Oct. 29 at Parmer and Metric Boulevard. Two new apartment complexes have opened in the neighborhood.[28] Ownership of Firehouse Subs has changed.[29] Two local eateries have closed.[30]

Home Archives


[1] AD No. 190 (Aug. 30, 2016); AD No. 191 (Oct. 9, 2016).

[2] Kubota, Yoko, and Mike Spector. “Honda Adds to Takata Woes.” WSJ 4 Nov. 2015, Eastern ed.: B1+.

[3] AD No. 180n4 (Feb. 10, 2015).

[4] Shook, Robert L. Honda: An American Success Story. New York City: Prentice-Hall, 1988.

[5] Von Drehle, David et al. “Message Delivered.” Time 21 Nov. 2016: 28-41.

[6] Keating, Ann Durkin. Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2008: 120, 248; Standard & Partners. “Luxury Old Town Units for Rent – 1338 N. LaSalle Blvd.” E-mail to Dan Eisler, 10 Oct. 2016.

[7] Pagnamenta, Robin. “How DNA Tests Help Consumers Cotton on in the Fight Against Fakes.” The Times 29 Aug. 2016: 39.

[8] Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia, rev. ed. Indianapolis: Alpha, 2005: 10.

[9] AD No. 185 (Nov. 17, 2015); AD No. 191n2; Chan, Sean. “Windows 10’s Growth Slows Down.” MSPoweruser 2 Nov. 2016 <https://mspoweruser.com/windows-10s-growth-slows/>; Jones, Brad. “Windows 7 Gained More New Users Than Windows 10 in the Last Two Months.” Digital Trends 2 Nov. 2016 < https://www.yahoo.com/news/windows-7-gained-more-users-164736043.html>.

[10] Verhage, Julie. Bloomberg News. “Halloween Candy Sales Sending Good Economic Signals.” Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch 30 Oct. 2016: H2.

[11] Anderson, Will. “ ‘Stranger Things’ Going on Around ATX Offices.” ABJ 4 Nov. 2016: 3.

[12] Holden, Johnny. “Austin As Tech Hub: Myth or Reality?” AC 28 Oct. 2016: 64.

[13] Hoffberger, Chase. “APD’s Domestic Disturbance.” AC 11 Nov. 2016: 13.

[14] Jankowski, Philip. “Medic Suspended After DWI Arrest.” AAS 18 Oct. 2016: B3.

[15] Findell, Elizabeth. “Judge Strikes Down Easton Park Deal.” AAS 16 Oct. 2016: A1+.

[16] Pritchard, Caleb. “A Historic Lack of Compassion.” AC 4 Nov. 2016: 24.

[17] Curtin, Kevin. “Austin Musician Union Overthrown.” AC 21 Oct. 2016: 64; Petro, Sylvester. The Kohler Strike: Union Violence and Administrative Law. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1961; Reynolds, Morgan O. Making American Poorer: The Cost of Labor Law. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1987; Reynolds. Power and Privilege: Labor Unions in America. New York City: Universe Books, 1984.

[18] AD No. 36n23 (March 9, 2003); Rosenberg, Eli. “Kevin Meaney, Stand-Up Comedian Is Dead at 60.” NYT 24 Oct. 2016: A19.

[19] Jara, Alessandra. “Burnt Orange Bluegrass Provides Students With New Music.” DT 20 Oct. 2016: 8+.

[20] Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. New York City: Broadway Books, 1997: 137.

[21] AD No. 145n44 (Oct. 8, 2011); Sullivan, Nick. “All Tied Up.” Esquire Oct. 2016: 66-67.

[22] Samboy, Maia. “Professor Integrates Real World Experience Within the Classroom.” Hilltop Views 26 Oct. 2016: 3.

[23] Speas, Grace. “KVRX Students Strive to Revamp Zine Culture.” DT 14 Oct. 2016: 8.

[24] Dinges, Gary. “Texas Monthly Magazine Sold for $25M.” AAS 14 Oct. 2016: B6.

[25] Denney, Amy. “First Section of MoPac Express Lane Now Open.” CIN 27 Oct. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 1+; Wear, Ben. “MoPac Express Debut Puts Variable Tolling to the Test.” AAS 16 Oct. 2016: B1+; Wear. “MoPac Toll Lane to Open This Weekend.” AAS 14 Oct. 2016: B1+.

[26] AD No. 190n20; Chang, Julie. “State’s Largest Charter School Network Cleared of Wrongdoing.” AAS 18 Oct. 2016: B3.

[27] Blackwell, Kathy. “Frye, Baby.” Austin Way Late Fall 2016: 72; Denney. “Turf n’ Surf Po’ Boy.” CIN 27 Oct. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 13; “Impacts.” CIN 27 Oct. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 6, 9; “Not to Be Missed.” Austin Way Late Fall 2016: 124.

[28] Marczynski, Evan. “Developers Cater to Many Income Levels With New Apartment Choices.” CIN 27 Oct. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 1+.

[29] “New Ownership.” CIN 27 Oct. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.

[30] “Closings.” CIN 27 Oct. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.