Austin Dispatches No. 209 Sep. 8, 2018

I first noticed something darting behind me in the rearview mirror on the drive home. Age, heat, and the breeze from the need to roll the windows down in the triple-degree weather had loosened the interior liner by the left rear passenger door.[1]

According to research, fixing the problem could cost almost as much as my car’s purchase price. I couldn’t justify that expense, if only because the odometer mileage recently passed 100,000. However, a co-worker recommended 3M adhesive spray. Last weekend, I placed tarps over the interior, donned mask, gloves and googles, sprayed the adhesive onto the liner fabric and foam, and smoothed the interior section with a cheap paint roller.[2] So far, the fix holds.


Maybe my attitude is completely irresponsible, but I enjoy the almost daily spectacle of the entire Beltway establishment – journalists, politicos and bureaucrats – in unprecedented unity against President Trump. This proves even to mainstream news audiences that the supposed differences in the capital are and were fake – hitherto something only marginal radicals claimed.

Furthermore, how this spectacle is happening amuses me. Trump is pretty buffoonish himself, but his foes are so outraged and distraught about him that they’ve lost their dignity and behave like bumbling, crazed ninnies. Really, they presume to run things and that’s the best they can manage against him? The Washington antics are one step up from a pie fight.

We once had to wait until 11:30 Saturday nights for an outlandish take on politics the politicians now provide themselves every day.[3] No wonder the satirists hate Trump: He’s made them redundant.

On the Town

Aug. 25: I received an impromptu lesson in the basics of kizomba.[4]

Aug. 27: I witnessed the aftermath of a collision at Research Boulevard and Ohlen Road.

Sep. 5: At a staff lunch, an officemate began comically ranting about the erroneous use of “chicken fried” on menus to describe anything breaded and fried that isn’t chicken, e.g., “chicken fried steak.” This lead to us devising a new restaurant concept with entrees like “chicken fried calamari” and “calamari fried chicken.” The slogan: “Tastes like chicken.”

Austin Death Watch

Fittingly, the avowed socialist running for City Council District 1 is also a convicted killer.[5]

Homeowners within the Austin Independent School District will pay another $400 per year in property taxes, which overall are 50 percent higher than six years ago.[6] Infighting has stymied the self-organization of the city’s new Tourism Commission.[7]

Neighborhood News

The Statesman’s traffic Web page recorded traffic collisions at Parmer Lane and Metric Boulevard on Aug. 20 and 21, and on Metric between Lamplight Village Avenue and Running Bird Lane. The traffic lights at the Burnet Road-Waterford Centre Boulevard-Helen Milton Smith Way intersection failed on Aug. 25. The power briefly failed at my apartment complex the morning of Sep. 5.

The National Science Foundation awarded $60 million to the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus to build Frontera, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers.[8]

Eastbound and Down for Good

Burt Reynolds, decades-long celebrity whose persona was a rare combination of Southern good ol’ boy and New York City wiseass, died Sep. 6 at age 82.[9]

The early 21st century has become grist for nostalgia, as CNN advertises a new program, infelicitously titled “The 2000s.”[10]

Home Archives


[1] Villalpando, Roberto. “2018: Austin’s Third-Hottest Summer.” AAS 4 Sep. 2018: B1.

[2] Mattson, Fred. Automotive Upholstery & Interior Restoration. Forest Lake, Minn.: CarTech, 2017.

[3] Hill, Doug, and Jeff Weingrad. Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. New York City: Beech Tree Books/William Morrow, 1986; Miller, James Andrew, and Tom Shales. Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live As Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests, 2nd rev. ed. New York City: Little, Brown & Co., 2014; Saturday Night Live. Ed. Anne Beatts and John Head. New York City: Avon Books, 1977.

[4] Sowell, Gary. Afro Latin Rhythm Romance Dance. Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, 2014: 51.

[5] Hernandez, Nina. “Lewis Conway’s Complex Candidacy.” AC 24 Aug. 2018: 12.

[6] Taboada, Melissa B. “Austin School Taxes Set to Go Up $400.” AAS 29 Aug. 2018: A1+.

[7] Hernandez. “Peace and Harmony?” AC 7 Sep. 2018: 16.

[8] Hawkins, Lori. “UT Center to Get $60M Supercomputer.” AAS 29 Aug. 2018: A1+.

[9] McLellan, Dennis. “Film Star Won Over His Audiences With Humor.” LAT 7 Sep. 2018: A1+; Strauss, Bob. “Iconic Actor Was in It for the Long Run.” Los Angeles Daily News 7 Sep. 2018: 1+.

[10] “Promo Mojo.” Broadcasting & Cable 9 Jul. 2018: 38.