Strand and Deliver

Austin Dispatches No. 238 Sep. 18, 2022

For variety, this issue's lead subject is about my hair. Yes, like a chick columnist on social media.1

More problematically, since the Reagan administration, I've worn my hair slicked back with gel. (Before that, I wore it spiked with mousse.) It's cheap. In better times, before the new inflation, I spent no more than $100 annually on my coiffure ($5 monthly haircut plus product).2 It's also low-maintenance. Whatever problems I must confront on a given day, my hair won't be among them.

Indeed, throughout the years I've seldom endured a bad hair day -- until two weeks ago. During my weekly grocery visit, I bought a container of Blue Magic conditioner/hair dressing from among the meager selection. However, Blue Magic -- not to be confused with the Philadelphia soul group -- is a pomade.3

Applying it to my hair resulted in a similar appearance. Removing the pomade, however, required applying liquid dish detergent, instead of shampoo, to my scalp. This was my first experience with pomade, and its drawback is the opposite of the runny LA Looks gel.4

Such a problem is still preferable to finding proper clothes. Last month, by the time I left the office and drove to the nearest shopping plaza the first day of Texas' back-to-school sales tax holiday, all the garments had been picked over.5 I found other stores in the same condition that weekend.

So I bought basic clothes online. But a couple of orders vanished in transit, and the big box retailers had to refund me.

This is what my life has been reduced to, in the wake of anti-pandemic response disruptions to commerce.6 I can't even buy new underwear.


Two of the Statesman's chief coronavirus propagandists' bylines appeared in the Aug. 28 edition shilling for electric vehicles, the worst piece of one-sided reportage under Gannett ownership so far.7 Meanwhile, under cover of continuing anti-pandemic efforts that have civil society still in disarray, California bureaucrats outlawed sale of internal combustion engines in the state by 2035.8 This edict, among other aspects, is an assault on California car culture.9

Yet merely reciting the technical and financial problems preventing widespread adoption of EVs, and awaiting their contradictions and flaws to self-collapse the power elite's scheme, isn't enough.10 To resist successfully requires collective action, with Californians taking the lead.11

For until we defeat the corporatist, managerial-therapeutic warfare-welfare state on automotive fundamentals, we'll be distracted from insisting companies solve the real problem -- contemporary cars' lack of style. Most new cars resemble a cross between a bath toy and an athletic shoe. For five and six figures retail, the manufacturers ought to at least make their products look cool. They've done it before.12 Motorists of the world, unite! You have only your antenna housing to lose!13

Michael Badnarik, R.I.P.

Michael Badnarik, friend and sometime reader of Austin Dispatches, died Aug. 11, age 68.14 Austin Dispatches endorsed him for president two days before his presidential candidacy, which may have made it the first media outlet to do so. The day of the announcement, before his kickoff speech, Michael approached me, shook my hand, and thanked me for it, even though he had a lot to do on one of the biggest days of his life. The night before the 2004 election, I dined with him and his campaign aide, Jon Airheart, among others. The highlight was their hilarious, extended mock-argument over the merits of Krispy Kreme vs. Dunkin' Donuts, fortified by a year-and-a-half of research.15

e238fig1His Majesty King Chuck of Limeystan

Also dead: Liz Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, matriarch of a dysfunctional Eurotrash brood prone to making public spectacles of themselves.16 Lèse-majesté indeed. Participants on daytime talk shows comport themselves with more dignity. Chuck, her eldest and heir to the throne, has spent his adulthood babbling pinko globaloney, oblivious to what made Great Britain great, and might again, if only his sort would shut up and get out of the way.17 What's more, he's a great-great-great-great-great grandson of foreign tyrant George III.18 Never forget. Also, he may be king, but Chuck still needs to join the Hair Club for Men.19

Cultural Canapés

The Austin-San Antonio edition of the Home Design & Decor August/September issue contains three features on renovations of older houses -- one built c. 1900, one built in the 1960s, and one built in the '80s.20 Now they look approximately the same. Obviously, there's a style trend, though I haven't yet seen a catchy term for it. Whatever it is, the results left me cold. Moreover, looking at the photos gives me the same impression from reading similar free publications from Whole Foods. Specifically, these owners have no real personalities or lives, judging from their decor. I know it's supposed to be neutral or tasteful or whatever terms the interior designer spouted to get the owners to agree, but it just looks bland. I began to imagine -- increasingly unflattering -- the sort of people who live in their renovated abodes. I bet they work "bullshit jobs," probably in mid-management in HR departments of some state welfare agency at odds with the Texas ethos, that they hate but have to continue with to pay for their house projects.21 One photo shows the family dog lying forlornly in the new foyer, probably thinking doggie thoughts about how the old decor was better, and wondering when his owners will replace him.

Austin Death Watch

Speaking of replacing dogs, Austin's worst. mayor. ever congratulated himself at his final State of the City message, for his role in ruining Austin, i.e., serving as an errand boy for multinational corporations and out-of-town big developers, at the expense of everyone else, while wrapping himself in the rainbow flag.22 Amazingly, the chunky flunky didn't deliver the speech from a Mexican resort.23 Adler's the sort of carpetbagger who's never liked nor cared about the city, except as a stepping stone. He hinted as much about working in His Fraudulency's administration, where he can help impose a spiteful, alien agenda on Americans at large.24

His predecessor, Will Wynn, choked a guest at one of his parties, but Adler has choked the life from Austin. Just for his role in imposing a dictatorial lockdown on Austinites, he should be tarred, feathered, and run out of town.

At its Aug. 18 meeting, the Austin City Council raised property taxes, then voted itself a pay raise.25 In its Aug. 26 issue, the Chronicle frets rising rents are pricing people out of Austin.26 Perhaps someday, the Chroniclistas will make the connect between the two.

But there's more. City Hall's foisting more debt upon us, with a multimillion dollar bond measure in November to build welfare housing.27 If voters approve the bond, Austin property taxes will rise further, reports the Sep. 16 Business Journal, thereby making housing less affordable.28 Before that, the City's plan to dump street bums in hotels "hit a snag" as City Hall can't afford the rising price of properties.29 Meanwhile, City government fired a nonprofit group running one of its homeless shelters for "chronic underperformance."30

Reservations about Project Connect continue to emerge, this time in the Aug. 12 Chronicle. A guest columnist points out the mass transit boondoogle lacks flexibility for changing conditions, may actually promote more people to move to the suburbs and drive cars in Austin, and isn't "being held accountable by the public or city leaders."31 Even the project's bureaucrats may be getting cold feet, according to the Sep. 16 Chronicle.32

The Council has also voted to lower speed limits, even though the police don't have the staff to enforce them.33 A Travis County misdemeanor judge pleaded guilty to drunk driving.34 A grand jury indicted a former Austin police officer on charges of sexual assault and burglary.35

Austin Energy plans to use the officially continuing pandemic as a reason to hike rates, something even the Statesman's Metro columnist can't swallow.36

Bevo and Butt-Heads

The Aug. 5 Villager reported a shortage of crossing guards for the new school year.37 The little nippers will just have to wise up and mind traffic, or else learn a few things about life the schools won't teach them anyway.

The schools want pupils dumb so they grow up to be dumb property owners the schools can fleece with ever increasing district property taxes to pay staff raises for keeping pupils dumb.38 For example, the Austin Independent School District is requesting a record $2.44 billion bond measure in November.39 The Austin Community College Board of Trustees are asking for $770 million.40

On the Metro

July 18: City workers had to repair malfunctioning traffic lights at East Pecan Street and Biltmore Avenue.

July 21: Found 50 cents in a parking garage at The Domain.

Aug. 5: Saw a lime green Lamborghini Huracán in commuter traffic at East Howard Lane and Dessau Road.41

Aug. 13: Found a penny at Great Hills Station shopping plaza.

Aug. 18: Witnessed a near collision at the new diverging diamond intersection of East Pecan and Dessau. Also, thunderstorms knocked out traffic lights in central Pflugerville.

Aug. 20: Bought some precooked pork ribs for lunch from Fresh Plus Grocery at Hillside Center shopping plaza. That was first time I'd visited that store since the Dubya administration, when it was Wild Oats grocery.42 The place didn't look like it'd changed much, except for the selection.

Aug. 23: Witnessed a near collision at the new diverging diamond intersection of East Pecan and Dessau.

Aug. 31: A beggar at Interstate 35 and West Howard Lane held a sign asking for money to "buy weed."43 His approach's flaw is that even commuters sympathetic or appreciative still bogarted their cash.44

Sep. 1: Saw the aftermath of a collision at Dessau and Sumatra Lane.

Sep. 6: Witnessed the aftermath of a collision on West Howard outside John B. Connally High School.

Sep. 11: The main branch of the Austin Public Library reopened Sundays for about the first time in 30 months. Wandering around inside, and trudging to and from my car parked blocks away, I noticed that no attractive woman wore a face diaper -- or much of anything else. Instead, it's the women who'd "hit the wall" who wore the diapers. Now that's a pandemic trend I can support.

Media Indigest

The Aug. 5 Villager noted the 85th birthday of its owner and founder: "His standards are high, and he expects his staff to produce their best each and every week!"45 However, you wouldn't know it by the broadsheet's page design, which looks like a typical newspaper from its founding year, 1973, before the industry at large switched to modular layout. I advise the editorial staff to buy the latest edition of Tim Harrower's book on newspaper design.46

Notes in the Margin

After nearly 24 years, I dreamt of Austin Dispatches: Discussing it with several erudite readers.

Neighborhood News

Cap City Comedy Club has reopened at The Domain.47 Nine other businesses have opened in the neighborhood, and two have closed.48 IBM plans to leave its existing Domain and Broadmoor offices.49 Offices at The Offices at Braker are scheduled for a Sep. 29 auction in New York City.50

On Sep. 10, I saw the remains of a collision at West Braker Lane and Ptarmigan Drive. On Sep. 12, I saw a smashed-up pickup on the side of Gracy Farms Lane, between Metric Boulevard and Prairie Knoll Court. KXAN-TV's traffic Web page reported collisions at the southbound frontage road of MoPac Expressway and Duval Road on July 26 and Aug. 26, and at MoPac and Parmer Lane on Aug. 19. KPEZ-FM reported collisions at Braker and Metric on July 29, and at Braker and Burnet Road on Aug. 1. KLBJ-AM reported a collision at MoPac and Highway 183 on Aug. 17. KEYE-TV reported a traffic injury at MoPac and Parmer on Aug. 21.

The local power elite pantomimed doing real work at a groundbreaking for a commuter rail station at that damned soccer stadium.51 Later, KVUE-TV reported Aug. 31 thunderstorms soaked the crowd and stalled a soccer game. Maybe the fans will wise up and stay home.

On Aug. 30, I found a quarter at my apartment complex. On Sep. 12, I found a dime there.

Business Roundup

At the office, I overheard that a company that never even bothered to interview me, despite lavish praise from my references, went out of business. Either that company got what it deserved, or I need more effective references.

Home Archives


1 Ungar-Sargon, Batya. Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy. New York City: Encounter Books, 2021: Ch. 5, 7.

2 Anatomy of the Crash: The Financial Crisis of 2020. Ed. Tho Bishop. Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 2020: 14.

3 The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music. Ed. Colin Larkin. London: Guinness Publishing, 1993: 23; Sherman, Shantella. "Don't Let the Brand Fool You." The (Philadelphia) Sunday Tribune 1 Jul. 2007: SM25.

4 "Spin A&R." Spin Oct. 2002: 25.

5 Villalpando, Nicole. "Time to Stock Up on School Supplies." AAS 1 Aug. 2022: 1A+.

6 Phillips, Jim. "Coronavirus Creates Uncertain Future." Textile World Mar./Apr. 2020: 8-9.

7 AD No. 222n35 (Dec. 27, 2019); Osbourne, Heather, and Kara Carlson. "EV Affordability Less of a Challenge." AAS 28 Aug. 2022: 1A+.

8 Lopez, Nadia. "Zero Emissions: State Regulators Unveil Plan to Phase Out Gas, Diesel Trucks." Orange County (Calif.) Register 17 Sep. 2022: 1.

9 Dobrin, Michael et al. Hot Rods and Customs: The Men and Machines of California's Car Culture. Oakland, Calif.: Oakland Museum of California, 1996.

10 Moore, Geoffrey. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Technology Products to Mainstream Customers, 2nd rev. ed. New York City: HarperBusiness, 2002. Rpt. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers, 2nd rev. ed. New York City: CollinsBusiness Essentials, 2006.

11 Falkvinge, Rick. Swarmwise: The Tactical Manual to Changing the World, rev. ed. North Charleston, S.C.: CreateSpace, 2014; Heinlein, Robert A. Take Back Your Government: A Practical Handbook for the Private Citizen Who Wants Democracy to Work. Ed. Jerry Pournelle. Riverdale, N.Y.: Baen Books, 1992. Rpt. How to Be a Politician: A Practical Handbook for the Private Citizen Who Wants Democracy to Work. Houston: Virginia Edition, 2008; Holcomb, Jeremy. Speak Up, Speak Out and Be Heard: How to Protest and Make It Count. Port Townsend, Wash.: Loompanics Unlimited, 2003; Popovic, Srdja, and Matthew Miller. Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World. New York City: Spiegel & Grau, 2015

12 Knoedelseder, William. Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit. New York City: Harper Business, 2018.

13 AD No. 220n32 (Sep. 20, 2019); Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. Trans. Samuel Moore. 1888. Ed. Gareth Steadman Jones: London: Penguin Books, 2002: 258.

14 Morrison, Michael F.S.W. "Michael Badnarik, R.I.P." Liberty 23 Aug. 2022 <>.

15 Krondl, Michael. The Donut: History, Recipes, and Lore From Boston to Berlin. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2014.

16 Dougherty, Steve et al. "Queen Elizabeth II: 1926-2022." Time 26 Sep. 2022: 34-47; Gabor, Tim, and R. Sikoryak. "MonArchie Comics." Esquire Jan. 1993: 63; Petropoulos, Jonathan. Royals and the Reich: The Princes Von Hessen in Nazi Germany. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2006: 8, 364.

17 Jones, Alex. The Great Reset and the War for the World. New York City: Skyhorse Publishing, 2022: passim.; Lander, Mark. "Charles, Long in the Wings, Ascends a Throne He Was Born To." NYT 9 Sep. 2022: A1+; Luce, U.S. Rep. Clare Boothe, R-Conn. "America in the Post-War Air World: Be Pratical -- Ration Globaloney." Speech. U.S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C., February 9, 1943. Rpt. Vital Speeches of the Day 15 Mar. 1943: 331–36; Morgan, Edmund S. Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America. New York City: W.W. Norton & Co., 1988: Ch. 1-5, 7-9; Porter, Roy. The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment. New York City: W.W. Norton & Co., 2000.

18 Rothbard, Murray N., and Leonard Liggio. Conceived in Liberty, Vol. II: "Salutary Neglect": The American Colonies in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1975: 759.

19 Padwa, Lynette. Quick, Answer Me Before I Forget the Question: Everything You Need to Know About Turning 50. New York City: Penguin Books, 2007: 127.

20 Alarcón, Claudia. "Local and Global." Home Design & Decor Aug./Sep. 2022, Austin-San Antonio ed.: 46-55; Henry, Drew. "Appreciation of Contrast." Home Design & Decor Aug./Sep. 2022, Austin-San Antonio ed.: 56-64; Suta, Kimberly. "Grand Opening." Home Design & Decor Aug./Sep. 2022, Austin-San Antonio ed.: 36-45.

21 Graeber, David. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2018.

22 "Austin Mayor Lauds Job Growth, Transit Wins." ABJ 2 Sep. 2022: 13; Autullo, Ryan. " 'The Buck Has Stopped With Us.' " AAS 27 Aug. 2022: A1+.

23 AD No. 231n13 (Feb. 28, 2021).

24 Autullo, op. cit.

25 Sanders, Austin. "Money in My Pocket." AC 26 Aug. 2022: 12-13.

26 Asher, Abe. "Ever-Rising Rent." 26 Aug. 2022: 16.

27" $350 Housing Bond OK'd for November Ballot." ABJ 5 Aug. 2022: 12,

28 Christen, Mike. "A Hugh Push for Affordability." ABJ 16 Sep. 2022: 16-17.

29 Autullo. "Austin Struggling With Plan for Shelters." AAS 31 Jul. 2022: 1B+.

30 Sanders. "Front Steps Slips and Falls." AC 29 Jul. 2022: 18-21.

31 Epstein, Barbara. "Can Project Connect Actually Meet Our Needs?" AC 12 Aug. 2022: 7.

32 Barbaro, Nick. "What's Up With the Orange Line?" AC 16 Sep. 2022: 8.

33 McAfee, Katy. "Speed Limits Are Lowered Around the City As Traffic Deaths Rise." CIN Jul. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 1+.

34 Hall, Katie. "Judge Pleads Guilty to DWI." AAS 6 Aug. 2022: B1

35 Hal. "Grand Jury Indicts Former Officer in Sexual Assault." AAS 4 Sep. 2022: 1B+.

36 Grumet, Bridget. "Austin Energy's 'Test Year' Is Skewed." AAS 18 Sep. 2022: 1B+.

37 "Austin Faces Crossing Guard Shortage As Start of School Year Approaches." The Villager 5 Aug. 2022: 6.

38 Johnson, Rebecca. "School Board Approves Pay Raises." AAS 25 Jun. 2022: 1-2B; Fisher, Lina. "AISD's Largest Bond Ever to Fix Infrastructure; ACC's Adds Campuses." AC 26 Aug. 2022: 23.

39 Johnson. "Board Calls for $2.44B Bond Vote on Nov. 8." AAS 13 Aug. 2022: 1A+.

40 Menchaca, Megan. "ACC Board Calls for $770M Bond Election." AAS 13 Aug. 2022: 1B+.

41 Lamborghini Huracán Evo. Mankato, Minn.: EPIC, 2022.

42 Hamstra, Mark. "Whole Foods to Sell 32 Stores." Supermarket News 16 Mar. 2009: 6+.

43 Cooper, Clarence L. Jr. Weed. Evanston, Ill.: Regency Books, 1961.

44 Bogart, John Albert. The Bogart Family: Tunis Gysbert Bogaert and His Descendants. Scranton, Pa.: Haddon Craftsmen, 1959; Partridge, Eric, Tom Dalzell, and Terry Victor. The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, rev. ed. London: Routledge, 2013: I, 243.

45 Richard, Naomi. "Happy 85th Birthday, Mr. Tommie Wyatt. We Salute You!" The Villager 5 Aug. 2022: 1+.

46 Harrower, Tim, and Julie M. Elman. The Newspaper Designer’s Handbook, 6th rev. ed. New York City: McGraw-Hill, 2012.

47 Machen, Rod. "First Look: Inside the New Cap City Comedy Club." AC 22 Jul. 2022: 28.

48 "Impacts." CIN Aug. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 6-7; "Now Open." CIN Jul. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.

49 Baird, Cody. "IBM Needs New Austin Home." ABJ 16 Sep. 2022: 2.

50 Thompson, Paul. "Another Auction on World Class' Horizon." ABJ 5 Aug. 2022: 2.

51 Schaefer, Jennifer. "McKalla Station Groundbreaking Draws Crowd." CIN Jul. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 10.