Austin Dispatches
No. 204
March 25, 2018


Reports of bad weather have prompted my folks to call with concern.[1] So their languid pace during the mid-March bombings – they called soon before the authorities picked up the pieces of the lone bomber – means the attacks must not be the big deal the headlines at the time conveyed.[2]


Or rather, the headlines dared convey. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn later the local media capped coverage to avoid embarrassing the South by Southwest promoters, holding their usual inconvenience at the same time. Then the post-mortems of the bomber failed to produce evidence about him that could support the usual story templates of demonization and statist agenda-pushing, e.g., the Chroniclistas using the shrapnel-perforated corpses as a plinth to advocate for the umpteenth time disarming citizens. Instead, the tone indicated the scribes’ eagerness to bury the story as quickly as possible.[3]


Incidentally, I learned the bomber once attended the Austin Community College Northridge Campus, next door to my apartment complex.[4] I wonder if he was one of the student drivers in the neighborhood I chastised, using language to make a drill instructor wince, which then sent him on a downward spiral.


Had he been truly devious, he’d have done nothing, and let Austinites kill each other in the daily commutes. For instance, on March 15, I witnessed a near-collision between two reckless morons in pickups at the merging flyover ramp connecting MoPac Expressway and Highway 183. The drivers could’ve been injured or killed. Worse, they could’ve impeded my commute.


Speaking of bombing, even the Chronicle admitted SXSW has been declining in size and scope since 2014.[5] I’m sure we’d all prefer a more satisfying backdrop to the event’s decline, such as the management fatally contracting dysentery after eating street food prepared by a trendy immigrant.


University of Texas faculty and students protested the University administration has “dismantled” the Fine Arts Library by removing books.[6] This is something I’ve noticed whenever there’s a book supposedly located there that I’m finally getting around to reading.


Cultural Canapés


After distraction from movies, other books, and life itself, I finally read Roger Ebert’s autobiography. I almost regret giving it thumbs down, because he does a terrific job at the technical aspects of recalling the accompanying emotional aspects of early childhood memories, something I’ve attempted occasionally in Austin Dispatches. Nevertheless, after about 50 pages, he bored me. Maybe Gene Siskel’s co-authorship would’ve helped.[7]


Avast, Ye Schwabs


Workers have installed traffic lights at Gracy Farms Lane and the new Schwab Way, the entrance to the Charles Schwab office.


In a follow-up article about a proposed soccer stadium at McKalla Place, the March 16 Austin Chronicle mentions in passing that the MetroRail station at Kramer Lane is “underused on account of the lack of parking and its positioning within a mostly industrial area.”[8] In short, the Chronicle is only now figuring out what Austin Dispatches reported eight years ago.


The Statesman’s Traffic Web page reported collisions at Metric Boulevard and Braker and Metric lanes on March 14, and Braker and Kramer lanes on March 21.





[1] AD No. 140 (May 4, 2011); AD No. 183 (July 22, 2015).

[2] Dexheimer, Eric, and Philip Jankowski. “Investigators’ Job: Decode Bombings.” AAS 18 Mar. 2018: A1+; Hernandez, Nina. “Domestic Terrorism.” AC 16 Mar. 2018: 18; Lassman, Anna. “APD Pins String of Explosions on ‘Serial Bomber’.” DT 20 Mar. 2018: 1.

[3] Hernandez. “What Made Him Do It?” AC 23 Mar. 2018: 16-18.

[4] Walsh, Sean Collins, Mary Huber, and Claire Osborn. “Motive Behind Blasts Unclear, Officials Say.” AAS 22 Mar. 2018: A1.

[5] Curtin, Kevin. “Does Size Still Matter at SXSW?” AC 23 Mar. 2018: 46.

[6] Taboada, Melissa B. “Faculty: Library ‘Dismantled.’ ” AAS 20 Mar. 2018: B1.         

[7] AD No. 163 (May 5, 2013); AD No. 182 (June 29, 2015); AD No. 200 (Nov. 6, 2017); Ebert, Roger. Life Itself: A Memoir. New York City: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

[8] AD No. 203n7 (March 11, 2018); Sanders, Austin. “McKalla Is the Place?” AC 16 Mar. 2018: 14.