Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
Austin Dispatches 
No. 63 
 Apr. 15, 2004 
Key Energy is in trouble. It missed filing its report with federal regulators because the financial results the company though it had for last year and before are inaccurate, because of “improper use of assets and resources at its South Texas division.”1

The company’s lost millions because of some insider shenanigans; to make up its losses, Key is likely to suspend the project I’m working on.

So if you read about me trying to sell apples on the street corners of North Austin, you’ll know what that’s about.2

I thought everything was going too well for me to be comfortable for long. One recent Saturday evening, I sat by the open doors of the new Tuscany Market & Vinyard.3  The evening weather was just warm enough, without the humidity and insects later in the year.4 As the sugar and rich sauces coursed through my veins, I leaned back in my chair and sighed, “Peace and prosperity at last.”

Neighborhood News

But for the moment, with money coming in for the first time in too long, I’ve been able to accomplish some lingering minor tasks. I finally visited the Iron Horse Bar & Grill, which opened some weeks back at Waters Park Drive and the southbound frontage road of MoPac.  The place can’t decide whether it wants to be a collegiate hangout or a biker joint. Worse, Iron Horse was out of real beer. I didn’t even bother inquiring about hard liquor. I’m sticking with The Canary Roost.

After an uproar from residents, the Lower Colorado River Authority is cutting back on trimming trees in Gracywood Park.5

Business Roundup

My neighborhood convenience store is now selling some energy drink called Pimp Juice.6  (Actually, that would be Champale, and you don’t need much energy to count the money your stable earns for you.)7

Myself, I purchased a four-pack of Ste. Genevieve shiraz pints.8  They fit well in the inside pockets of my jacket when I go to the movies. And it’s a lot cheaper than the concession counter markups for soft drinks.

Tower Records is closing on the Drag in June. It’s the last surviving record store just off campus. As the Austin Chronicle story acknowledges, the parking was bad and the prices were high. Apparently, Tower reached a deal on a UT parking garage six months ago, but I didn’t heard about until now.9  The price factor is consistent with the other Tower locations I’ve visited. Even Tower’s online prices are higher than average. Not to mention its Web site regularly crashed my browser back when I had a more current system.10

Cultural Canapés

Something good finally came out of SXSW.  Host Jay Tractenberg interviewed Nellie McKay on KUT-FM’s “Jazz Etc.”11  The pop chanteuse played songs from her debut release.12  But she’ll have to adjust her attitude if she expects to stay in the business, especially on a major label like Columbia. Otherwise, she could marginalize herself like Janeane Garofalo.13

3rd Coast Music reports ex-Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman’s lawyer served a “cease and desist” order on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution music writer with the same name from using his name on bylines. The writer rebuffed the limey’s mouthpiece.14

Scenery chewer extraordinaire Al Pacino will play the title role in an upcoming adaptation of “The Merchant of Venice.”15  Joe Pesci recorded an album of jazz standards under the pseudonym Joe Doggs.16  I didn't recognize Pesci at first, because he wasn't tossing 12-letter obscenities into the lyrics.17

Political Rants

Now that U.S. Sen. John Forbes Kerry is the de facto Democratic president nominee, months before the actual convention,18  all the interesting stories about him have been coming out.19  He sounds like he could play the snooty foil in a Rodney Dangerfield movie.20  Similarly, Kerry couldn’t even give VH1 a straight answer about “Animal House” reputedly being his favorite movie.21  There are three straightforward responses:

Even for a politician, Kerry’s response was weasely.

Recently, I lunched with former LP national chairman Jim Lark.22  So pleasant, gracious and engaged, quite the contrast to his successor across the table. Lame-duck current chairman Geoff Neale spent about half the meal carping that the Libertarian National Committee wouldn’t do what he told them to. Tut, tut, old boy. Doubtless, Charles I utter the same complaint in his last minutes on the scaffold.23

Just two years ago, after ascending to the chairmanship, Neale talked about cultivating good rapport with the LNC, and expressed satisfaction with its membership. Of course, that was before Karen DeCoster passed along reports from national committee meetings that Neale was a control freak, unable to delegate.24

Don’t get me wrong. I think Neale would’ve made a great chairman – of the British Labour Party.25

Soon he’ll be out of office and can spend more time expressing his open disdain for libertarians,  while he pals around with Ralph Nader,26  and Russell Means,  the Jesse Jackson of Indians,27  who can add his role in the sub-Tarantino,  straight-to-video “29 Palms”28  to the list of his failings in life.

TCLP chairman Rock Howard showed up with a new TCLP baseball cap. I didn’t think the affiliate carried one in his size. Barely a month into his term as chairman, Rock Howard's head is inflating to gargantuan proportions. He doesn’t even have anything – no fact or achievement – to bolster his self-regard. Clearly, my active involvement in the TCLP the next two years will be severely curtailed. To watch him fumble away the gains of the past six years is more than I can stomach.

For now, until the national convention in May and the state convention in June, the LP is misrepresented by the wrong people at the county, state, and federal levels. That’s a trick it never pulled off even when I lived in Oregon.29

Meanwhile, Pat Dixon, who’s certain to become the next state chairman, and a fine one at that, was back from a choir tour in Europe. While in Italy, he got a couple of tailor-made suits. You’d think he took my advice about dressing or something.  I leaned over and cracked him up with a stage-whispered line from “The Godfather Part III.”30

Media Indigest

The Austin Business Journal has a new editor, who replaces Rickie Windle, “who no longer is with the Austin Business Journal.” I was in the biz long enough to know that’s management-speak for “We unceremoniously dumped his ass after lining up a replacement in advance.”31  Normally, I’d feel a twinge of sympathy, because, again, I was in the biz long enough to witness enough firings to know how meritless they were. Why do think I’m so cynical and contemptuous of management? However, Windle was an ass to me in my limited dealings with him, so screw him. He probably deserved what he got.

A glossy new magazine, Rumor Has It, has begun publishing. The magazine covers Round Rock.32

An older glossy magazine, put out by my alma mater, sent a cover letter attached to the latest issue begging for money to offset increasing costs and declining revenues to keep its circulation figures up.  Otherwise, the magazine might cease sending me all four issues each year. Promises, promises.33  Inside the pages is a glorifying feature on an alumna who became a lawyer and labor activist. In other words, a pest. A parasite, feasting on the lifeblood of people from that part of the world who actually contribute something of value to mankind – a vanishing prey, thanks to her. This is a typical article.34  Since I only read it to find out if my worthless teachers and classmates I disliked have finally died, I’m calling the magazine’s bluff: No. You get nothing more from me. Twenty thousand dollars for a B.A. was enough. If you keep pestering me for money, I’ll give you the back of my hand.
E-mail: deisler1@swbell.net
1 Reuters. “Key Energy Sees Restatement, Launches Probe.” Forbes.com 29 Mar. 2004 <http://www.forbes.com/newswire/2004/03/29/rtr1315431.html>.
2 Terkel, Studs. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression. New York City: Pantheon Books, 1970.
3 Wood, Virginia B. “Food-o-File.” AC 26 Mar. 2004: 42.
4 Spencer, Tom. “Spring in Central Texas a Fleeting Gift.” TGL Apr. 2004: 23.
5 Smith, Amy. “Gracywoods Saves the Trees.” AC 26 Mar. 2004: 19.
6 “Pimp Juice: From Fillmore Street Brewing Co.” Beverage Aisle 15 Oct. 2003: 11.
7 Dougherty, Philip H. “Ashford and Simpson to Pitch for Champale.” NYT 24 Mar. 1987, late ed.: D25; Milner, Christine, and Richard Milner. Black Players: The Secret World of Black Pimps. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1972.
8 WB, 236, 753.
9 Gray, Christopher. “TCB.” AC 2 Apr. 2004: 59.
10 AD No. 60 (Dec. 20, 2003).
11 Jazz Etc. KUT-FM, Austin, Texas. 17 Mar. 2003.
12 McKay, Nellie. Get Away From Me. Columbia 90664, 2004.
13 AD No. 50n23-24 (May 14, 2003).
14 “John the Revelator.” 3CM Apr. 2004: 7.
15 "Trailer for that Al Pacino starring version of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE!" Ain’t It Cool News < http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=17302> 3 Apr. 2004.
16 DeFrancesco, Joey, and “Joe Doggs” [Joe Pesci]. Falling in Love Again. Concord Jazz 2160, 2003.
17 Pesci. Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You. Sony 69518, 1998.
18 “John Kerry Grabs the Prize.” The Economist 6 Mar. 2004, U.S. ed.: 25.
19 E.g., Carr, Howie. “We Knew Jawn When He Was Just a Cheap Phony.” Boston Herald 21 Jan. 2004: 4.
20 Fussman, Cal. “What I’ve Learned: Rodney Dangerfield.” Esquire Oct. 2000: 174.
21 National Lampoon’s Animal House. Universal Pictures, 1978; Stein, Joel. “How I Nearly Killed VH1.” Time 2 Feb. 2004: 66.
22 Libertarian Party 2004 National Convention. Jan. 2004: 4.
23 “Charles I.” New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1997: III, 112-113.
24 DeCoster, Karen. “Libertarian Party Troubles.” 22 Jul. 2003. KarenDeCoster.com Web Log. <http://www.karendecoster.com/blog/archives/000047.html>.
25 Shaw, Eric. The Labour Party Since 1979: Crisis and Transformation. London: Routledge, 2002.
26 “LP Joins Campaign to Halt Tort Bill.” LPN Apr. 2003: 1+.
27 Timmerman, Kenneth R. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson. Washington, D.C.: Regenery Publishing, 2002.
28 29 Palms. B. Lord Productions/Ben’s Sister Productions/Davis Entertainment Filmworks/George Street Pictures/Release Entertainment, 2002.
29 Eisler. “Reader Blasts ‘The New Libertarian,’ Anarchy.” (Letter to editor). The Oregon Libertarian, Feb./Mar. 1994: S1.
30 The Godfather, Part III. Paramount Pictures/Zoetrope Studios, 1990.
31 Pope, Colin. “Egan Named Editor.” ABJ 9 Apr. 2004: 3.
32 AD No. 52n2 (July 13, 2003).
33 Bacharach, Burt, and Hal David. “Promises, Promises.” 1968. 
34 Schwartz, Todd. “Alice in Laborland.” Oregon Quarterly Spring 2004: 18-21.