Random Rants of a New Old-Timer
Austin Dispatches
No. 35
Feb. 14, 2002
I've lived in Austin almost two full years. That makes me an old-timer, according to the definitions of the Austin Newcomers Club.1

Late last month, at Bowne/JFS, the company spent an entire week redirecting its focus in the wake of the Christmas layoffs.2 This meant the New York team spent a week in San Antonio in relatively warm weather, stuffing themselves on Tex-Mex and barbecue and spending all day in meetings with a couple of facilitators.

I'm in the wrong business. I should be getting big bucks for spouting a succession of trendy business buzzwords and
reading Dr. Seuss books for a week. I'll wait until the check clears to tell the employees they could have accomplished the whole refocusing themselves in about two hours.3

Recently, during my commute, I heard William Shatner and Harry Hamlin making the rounds of the Austin radio stations, plugging their new movie, "Shoot or Be Shot."4 Otherwise, I wouldn't have know until the film appeared as a regular staple of Comedy Central's weekday matinee programming.5 Shatner plays a technical writer-turned-aspiring screenwriter. In other words, my occupation is now cinematically represented by a cheesy, hammy, toupee'd hack. Thanks, Shatner.

Later, the radio also informed me Barry Manilow released a new album.6 Look for teen suicides to spike soon.

I'm preoccupied with worthier material, CD reissues from the archives of the Bethlehem, Blue Note, Chess, EmArcy, Label M, Mercury, Muse, Savoy and Verve labels.7 Thanks to my job, I can systematically buy desirable, comprehensive releases facing commercial oblivion and deletion from catalogs amidst the recession.8

That means tough luck for my alma mater, which isn't worthy of me to name. I severed contact since I graduated and moved frequently around the country. Yet the alumni office can always manage to send mail with the correct address, asking for money. This time, the college offers something in return: a brick with my name on it. I got a brick for ya, you worthless excuses for pond scum. This brick would be one of many to grace a repaved intersection at the edge of campus. That same intersection is where street bums gather, asking for handouts (like the alumni office) and urinating ... all over my good name, according to this plan.

Instead, I attended Carnaval, an Austin tradition since the mid-'70s.9 World affairs as they are, I didn't figure to be flying down to Rio.10 Rather, I paid $25 to learn that the national drink of Brazil is Coors Light. But the event was worthwhile just to see flamboyantly costumed revelers form conga lines through City Coliseum.

Ralph Nader appeared elsewhere in Austin, dragging along '70s sensitive singer-songwriter Jackson Browne for the "Rally Against Insomnia."11 For balance, the Chautauqua featured the shrill, stupid cow Molly Ivins.12 Ivins is some half-dead pinko who attempts to impersonate a stereotypical Texan, or what she thinks a Texan acts like. When she has nothing to say, she affects a down-home manner. Consequently, she affects a down-home manner often. Think of her career as a minstrel show she puts on for the white wine-and-brie crowd on the coasts.13

Near the neighborhood, Austin Business Journal reports plans for a big mixed-use development at Interstate 35 and Howard Lane.14 To the west, at MoPac Expressway and Parmer Lane, is a new Jaguar dealership.15 Further south, the late Agillion burned through $67 million in three years, the Austin American-Statesman reports.16 Either the executives used the same accountants as Enron or they tried to buy those CDs at retail price, instead of shopping for bargains on the Internet, like me.17

Ain't It Cool News reports the next season of Empty-V's "The Real World" will be set in Las Vegas.18 The names that made America great -- Rosenthal, Giunchigliani, Suprynowicz -- created Vegas as a place for adults. Then it degenerated into Disneyland with roulette.19 Now this?

There are knowledgeable pros who are blacklisted by the Nevada Gaming Commission because they might have talked to somebody who knows somebody in the Mob.20 Instead, the work of a Vegas casino will be performed by the cast, consisting of lazy, whiny, yammering youths aged 18 to 20, copping attitudes they haven't earned and bursting with inflated senses of entitlement stemming from their solipsistic, white-bread upbringings.

A recurring complaint against "The Real World" is the fake, processed nature of the episodes.21 So I propose that the show's producers bring in character actors, like the guys who played the supporting roles in "Casino." The season's plot line will have the youths failing at their jobs, failing to understand the folkways of Nevada, pissing off the wrong people, and getting smacked around, figuratively and literally. The season ends with the youths having their hands busted by security guards or their heads crushed in vices by loan sharks; whoring themselves out to support their coke habits; or lipping off to the wrong people and winding up in some hole in the desert.22
E-mail: deisler1@swbell.net

[1] "Community: Meetings & Instruction." AC 15 Feb. 2002: 56.
[2] AD No. 34 (Jan. 14, 2002).
[3] Harsdorff, Chris. Transformational Change, Bowne/JFS, San Antonio, Texas, January 14-16, 2002. Dallas: Optîmance, 2002.
[4] Lieck, Ken. "Clash of the Titans." AC 1 Feb. 2002: 39.
[5] "Comedy Central to Do Original Movies." Mediaweek 22 Oct. 2001: 35-36.
[6] Manilow, Barry. Here at The Mayflower. Concord Jazz 2102, 2001.
[7] All Music Guide to Jazz: The Best CDs, Albums & Tapes. Ed Ron Wynn et al. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 1994: 697-698, 700-704, 708; Unterberger, Richie, and Cub Koda. "Chess Records." All Music Guide to the Blues: The Experts' Guide to the Best Blues Recordings, 2nd ed. Ed. Michael Erlewine et al. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 1999: 615-616.
[8] Graybow, Steve. "New Verve CEO May Trim Roster, Catalog Releases." Billboard 26 Jan. 2002: 10.
[9] Walter, Erin J. "One Last Wild Weekend at the Coliseum." XL 31 Jan. 2002: 37.
[10] Flying Down to Rio. RKO Radio Pictures Inc., 1933; Fussman, Cal. "Rio Loco." GQ Feb. 1995: 192; Nesmith, Michael. "Rio." From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing. Pacific Arts 7-107, 1978; Orfeu. Cine-Source/Globo Filmes/Rio Veremlho Films, 1999; Pablo Cruise. "I Go to Rio." Worlds Away. A&M 4597, 1978.
[11] Black, Louis. "Page Two." AC 8 Feb. 2002: 2; King, Michael. "Ralph's Road Show." AC 1 Feb. 2002: 16.
[12] Mencken, H.L. “Diagnosis of Our Cultural Malaise.” 1919. Rpt. H.L. Mencken’s Smart Set Criticism. Ed. William H. Nolte. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell UP, 1968: 2-9.
[13] Ivins, Molly. Nothin' but Good Times Ahead. New York City: Random House, 1993.
[14] Pope, Colin. "Planning Under Way for Large Multiuse Project." ABJ 18 Jan. 2002: 4.
[15] "Behind the Wheel." Upscale Austin Homes & Living Feb. 2002: 24.
[16] Hawkins, Lori. "Agillion's Brief, Fast Life Led to Costly Death." AAS 3 Feb. 2002: A1+
[17] Bing, Stanley. "Lessons From the Abyss." Fortune 18 Feb. 2002: 49.
[18] "spider15." "Movies, Tibet and the Next 'Real World.' " 17 Jan. 2002. Ain't It Cool News "Real World Chicago!! Talk Back!!" 15 Jan. 2002. <http://www.aintitcool.com/tb_display.cgi?id=11248#397810>.
[19] Pileggi, Nicholas. Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1995; Richman, Alan. "Lost Vegas." GQ Nov. 1992: 240.
    But see also Sloan, Gene. "Skin and Sin are In Again in the Las Vegas Strip." USA Today 15 Feb. 2002: 1A+.
[20] Burbank, Jeff. License to Steal: Nevada's Gaming Control System in the Megaresort Era. Reno, Nev.: U of Nevada P, 2000.
[21] Patane, Joe. Livin’ in Joe’s World: Unauthorized, Uncut, and Unreal. New York City: HarperTrade, 1998.
[22] Casino. DeFina-Cappa/Légende Enterprises/Syalis D.A./Universal Pictures, 1995. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Written by Pileggi and Scorsese.