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31 January 2003

Music Tonight

For you Houstonians looking for a music fix tonight, it's hard to beat the South Austin Jug Band opening for Reckless Kelly at the Continental Club.

Austin's hottest bluegrass band opening for the perennial winner of the Austin Chronicle's Best Roots Rock band award. Not bad.

It's gonna be a quiet night in for me, though, and most likely a quiet weekend working on some web stuff and doing some dissertation prep (although a roadtrip to Gruene is an outside possibility).

[Posted at 19:40 CST on 01/31/03] [Link]

RIPservations

As (long) promised threatened, Alex Whitlock has officially shut down his blog.

And what makes it so bad is that he went out with such a bang -- lots of great posts over the last 24 hours.

I enjoyed Alex's blog not so much for the political commentary (really, the strictly political blogs just aren't my cup of tea these days) but for the wit and the personal nature of the stuff. His "letters to people who don't read my blog" were always hilarious. And the music reviews -- good gawd, what an asset to a town that allegedly has no live music scene and no music press! And yeah, I tended to agree with the dude's political commentary. No secret there.

Thank goodness it was around for a while. Because I would never have gotten to know one Mr. R. Alex Whitlock otherwise, and that would have been a shame. And I would probably not have become such a devoted fan of the Firehouse (Alex's second home) without his persuasion, because several years ago the place just wasn't as good as it is now and I hadn't given it a chance more recently.

But just one request, Alex -- somehow, you have to get these new blogs set up so that your personal posts are aggregated somewhere. That shouldn't be too hard to do. And then maybe a little php wizardry and I can come up with my OWN aggregated version of RAWbservations (albeit drawn from several blogs).

Hey, I'm a typical pushy blog reader. But it's good to have fans, right?

[Posted at 06:53 CST on 01/31/03] [Link]

30 January 2003

Priceless

The headline and subheadline of this story grabbed my attention:

Mexican Fruit Fly Threatens Organic Farms

Ironically, chemical company offers only likely solution

Ah, the dilemmas faced by the Whole Foods crowd. *smirk*

[Posted at 22:49 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

Excellent

The Claremonsters have finally started a blog.

Powered by Movable Type even.

Good Job.

And here's an interesting early post on Scalia's (mis)interpretation of the First Amendment, which Orrin Judd has also discussed.

[Posted at 22:27 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

Nancy and Tom's Dems

I haven't seen this picked up in the mainstream press anywhere (then again, I haven't looked that hard for it), but it appears some Dems thought it would be a good idea to walk out in the middle of the State of the Union address:

The walkout, staged by mostly liberal Democrats, occurred about ten minutes before Bush's speech ended. According to one House leadership source, the walkout was approved beforehand by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who saw nothing wrong with members of her caucus behaving rudely, and is said by other Democratic staffers to have encouraged her caucus to react visibly to Bush's speech whenever emotions moved them.
As much damage as I thought President Clinton did to the dignity of the office, I would never have approved of a GOP walkout during the State of the Union. The office deserves more respect than that.

Then again, the Dems turned Paul Wellstone's funeral into a raucous party, so I'm not sure I should expect much better from them. Permanent minority status, anyone? They sure seem headed that way

[Posted at 21:52 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

The State Of The Union Is Not Good

I wish Jay Nordlinger would post to NRO's The Corner, rather than putting all of his Impromptus in a column, because then I could just link to the stuff I find amusing rather than having to cite it. But since he won't do it that way, here's some stuff from today's column that I liked:

What was the most offensive part of Gary Locke’s speech — his “Democratic Response” on Tuesday night? It’s hard to choose, but I nominate: “while Osama bin Laden runs free.”

Now, I know that the uncertainty about bin Laden is a big Democratic talking point, a rare war point to score against Bush, but runs free? My goodness. If he is alive, I would say he’s pretty well cooped up, not runnin’ free.

But will anyone in the Big Press call Locke and the Dems on this? Are you crazy?

I'm still amazed they put Locke on in the first place. The more he talked, the more he seemed to shrink. Anyway, more Nordlinger:
Talk about Not Getting It (and, no, I don’t mean that dirtily, for once): As she pooh-poohed George Bush’s case for war, Nancy Pelosi said, “I have seen nothing that connects Saddam Hussein to September 11.” She is blissfully, or willfully, unaware of the new challenges we face, countering the world’s Islamic terrorists and their state supporters — beginning with Saddam. In this, she’s perfectly representative of the party she leads in the House. Really, she might as well be French — or German. But not Italian, stand-up as Silvio has been.
Yep. And finally, this funny from a previous column:
My favorite line from any SotU was uttered by Gerald R. Ford, in 1975: “The state of the Union is not good.” Sometimes, when I’m going through a particularly rough patch, and a friend says, “How are you, Jay?,” I’ll answer, “The state of the Union is not good” — in honor of GRF, the only president from my home state of Michigan.
I'm going to have to start using that line.

[Posted at 21:47 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

What?

My friend and Lubbock local Michael Duff first brought this story to my attention a few months ago.

Now, Orrin Judd has discovered that the Justice Department is involved.

We're with Orrin here -- surely the Justice Department has more important matters to pursue, matters that are actually within its constitutional purview.

[Posted at 21:40 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

Why Should We Trust The Government On Iraq?

I was mentioning to a gathering at Barry's Pizza a while back that one of the things I enjoy most about Secretary Rumsfeld's press conferences is that there's almost always a mini civics lesson at some point. Yesterday's press conference was a good example. Here's a question, followed by the Secretary's answer:

Q: The overarching philosophical issue on the intelligence sharing. What the administration is doing right now is essentially asking the American public to support a possible war with Iraq that could be extremely costly in terms of money, American lives, Iraqi civilians, environmental issues. And reasonable people do disagree, including General Zinni and General Schwarzkopf, as to what kind of threat is posed right now. And apparently, the administration is sitting on some intelligence that it believes weights the issue in the opposite direction.

And the question I want to ask you is, why should we trust the administration on this, sight-unseen, with its intelligence? Because I understand that much of it won't be shared with us.

There is a long tradition, and I think a very healthy one, of American people not trusting government but, rather, saying, prove it to us before you ask us to make this question.

And please don't say, you know, "It's either trust or trust Saddam Hussein," because I don't think that's a fair decision -- or a fair question to ask.

Rumsfeld: Did you think I was going to answer it that way?

Q: Actually, Wolfowitz did answer the question that way last week, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz.

Rumsfeld: And he's not here to defend himself.

(Laughter.)

Q: (Chuckling) No. Just thought I'd broadside --

Rumsfeld: Why should the American people trust their government, is the question, I guess. The -- first of all, they don't have to trust their government blindly. The leaders have the responsibility to persuade, and persuasion means you marshal facts and you marshal argumentation, and the combination of the two results in persuasion.

It seems to me that the logic pattern that the President went through, and that I have outlined somewhat differently here today, and the enormous amount of facts that exist, force people to say, "What do I think about that?" And they don't have to trust, they can come to their own conclusion; indeed, everyone must come to their own conclusion.

We have a constitutional system where we elect leadership and we put responsibility and authority in their hands, subject to a host of checks and balances. The Congress has voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution, joint resolution. The United Nations voted unanimously in the Security Council for Resolution 1441, citing the Iraqi regime as being in material breach, and indicating that a false declaration would be further material breach, and that lack of cooperation would be still further material breach.

And it's the kind of thing that everyone would love when they make a decision -- to have perfect knowledge. When you get married, or what college you're going to go to, if you're going to go to college, or what you're going to do on a tough business issue or a personal issue, you almost never have personal -- perfect knowledge. It's not the way the world works. And if things -- the only way you get personal [perfect] knowledge is to wait until Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. That's when you get perfect knowledge. That's after the fact. And after the fact in the 21st century, in the world of weapons of mass destruction, biological weapons that can kill tens of thousands of people, after the fact is too late.

[Posted at 17:11 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

Line Of The Day

My line of the day comes from NRO's Andrew Stuttaford:

fittingly enough for an organization that is always going in circles, the EU has a rotating presidency: it passes from country to country every six months.
Ha!

A much more sobering post from The Corner is here.

[Posted at 15:52 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

Boland

Jason Boland will be playing at the Firehouse tonight in Houston, which ought to be a good show.

I'm not gonna make it out this time, but I bet those of you who do will run into Alex.

[Posted at 15:33 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

DEA Recording

The Dead End Angels have headed off to the studio today (and are working with Fred Remmert and Cedar Creek, whose clients are a Who's Who of Americana/Alt-Country). Alejandro Escovedo will be producing.

You DEA fans should go give 'em some encouragement on their boards. Come on guys, we're ready for that CD!

[Posted at 14:42 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

Go Leave Some Comments

John has been updating his site frantically the last few days after a brief hiatus. It's a nifty postnuke thing with integrated phpbb, meaning you peeps can leave all sorts of feedback.

And Randy, if you're reading any of this, this is your big chance!

[Posted at 09:35 CST on 01/30/03] [Link]

29 January 2003

Albatross

Maybe I shouldn't write what follows, for fear of jinxing it (is that too superstitious for a post-objectivist?)....

But for the first time in a long time, I actually think the thing may finally get approved. Within a few weeks. Maybe....

[Posted at 22:07 CST on 01/29/03] [Link]

Aguirre Booted

HPD fired Mark Aguirre earlier today.

Aguirre, of course, presided over the infamous E-Racer/James Coney Island/Kmart raids that took place last summer and caused the city all sorts of embarrassment (but which had NOTHING to do with Chief Bradford's recent perjury acquittal, despite the confusion of some bloggers on that topic).

Aguirre certainly deserved to be booted, but he is not wrong when he suggests that the powers-that-be at HPD were no doubt pleased to have a reason (finally) to fire him -- that's been clear for a while.

And it's not wrong to think the problems at HPD go a lot deeper than Mark Aguirre. Someone in HPD's chain of command should still answer the question why a relatively low-ranking officer was able to run roughshod over what is allegedly established policy and procedure. But I wouldn't expect the Houston Comical to pursue that very far.

[Posted at 19:24 CST on 01/29/03] [Link]

The Big Guys

Protestors in Abidjan Look To U.S.
Protestors in Abidjan Look To U.S.

Well well, the big boys have discovered what the FrenchWeenies are up to in Cote d'Ivoire Ivory Coast.

It's old news to the fine folks who stop by here, of course. And to readers of Michael Ledeen (hey, I beat Ledeen, so I get to crow a little bit. Okay, there. I'm done now).

But of course, ya'll are really here to hear about the political discussions with Randy Rogers, so we promise to keep the scoops of the big boys to a minimum.

[Posted at 19:12 CST on 01/29/03] [Link]

The Absurdity That Is The UN

From Jonah Goldberg's latest piece, I learn that Iraq will be chairing an upcoming UN disarmament conference.

As I like to say on certain occasions, charming. Just charming.

[Posted at 15:56 CST on 01/29/03] [Link]

Essence de Char

I'm not one of those smoking Nazis who lobbies for smoking to be banned everywhere (although contrary to Scott, I must say that I enjoyed the smoke-free All Good Cafe in Dallas this weekend), so this is really more an observation than anything....

But there is someone wandering around the office today who smells like he/she has been fighting a forest fire. No no, he/she is not smoking IN the office. Rather, he/she has been smoking so much that he/she is emitting a stench.

Again, not being judgmental here -- I support your right to give yourself lung cancer and emphysema so long as you don't ask me to pay for your healthcare later -- but do you smokers realize just how bad it makes you smell? I mean, surely you wear perfume or cologne at times, right? Because pretty much everyone does. Presumably, you want to project a certain scent. You do realize that essence de char tends to be stronger than most cologne? Right? And that the combination can sometimes be horrendous?

Just wondering.

[Posted at 11:35 CST on 01/29/03] [Link]

Thom On Mayor Pothole

Most readers know I'm not the biggest fan of Houston Comical columnist Thom Marshall, but he raises some interesting questions about Mayor Pothole's priorities today.

I would only add that the Comical endorsed Mayor Pothole over and over and over.

[Posted at 10:26 CST on 01/29/03] [Link]

Barnett

Colorado coach Gary Barnett is such a class act. *heavy sarcasm*

Kinda makes me wish Bob Stoops would have had a few more opportunities to kick his ass last year.

[Posted at 08:07 CST on 01/29/03] [Link]

28 January 2003

Warm Houston

One of the reasons I love Houston is that it can go from a (rare) freeze just a few days ago to warm enough to grill steaks earlier tonight.

Mmmmm..... steaks.

[Posted at 18:53 CST on 01/28/03] [Link]

27 January 2003

Hmm... What Kind Of Doughnuts?

The official food of HPD
Mmm... an HPD favorite!

Callie calls this article to my attention.

Note the headline. Ignore the rest of the article. Make your own police/doughnuts joke.

[Posted at 23:06 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

What I Missed In Houston This Weekend

Alex has about the best damn band story I've seen on a blog in a while.

He also has confirmation of the bad news we've been expecting regarding The Great Divide. Ugh.

You Great Divide/Mike McClure fans better come hang with us at the Firehouse on 13 February (the day before Halloween).

[Posted at 23:03 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

Dead End Angels (2003-01-25)

The Dead End Angels

Callie and I have seen a bunch of Dead End Angels shows now. Most of them, in fact. So many that we can tell when the band is experimenting with the songs.

And so many that we were starting to ask ourselves -- I wonder what they sound like to someone who's never heard them, and doesn't know any of the old Groobees stuff.

The answer -- I think our buddy Scott Chaffin enjoyed the most recent show, at the All Good Cafe in Dallas.

And why not?

It was their best show to date, in a really nice sounding room.

Over two and a half hours or so, they pounded out original stuff, Groobees tunes, a few covers (Escovedo, Uncle Tupelo, Waits, Sahm, Burrito Bros, and maybe a few I left out). The newbies at our table were a little surprised that the final addition to the band, guitarist Rick Poss, only started playing live shows with 'em a couple of months ago. A band that's only been around 2-3 months just isn't supposed to sound this tight, I guess.

But this is one talented group of folks who make a really nice whole. Libbi Bosworth was really belting it out on Saturday (and of course never stopped smiling), and the harmonies with Scott Melott are really becoming something else. And then there's Craig Bagby back on drums, who sings harmony a lot more than anyone really notices, along with some neat vocals of his own (and FINALLY the levels were high enough on his solo vocals this show! yay!). And Troy Wilson doing his bass thing, and putting up with his share of abuse from the band. And finally, Rick Poss, who just seems to have a gift for this kind of music.

So what kind of music exactly? I've had kind of a hard time describing these guys. It's not the Groobees, although they do some of my favorite old Groobees stuff with a few twists these days. It's not country, really. It could certainly be called alt-country or Americana, but that encompasses damn near everybody in Texas these days. What it is NOT is mindless Texas flag waving and Bock drinking (not that I don't listen to my share of that stuff). And maybe it's closer to the whole Whiskeytown/Uncle Tupelo style than most stuff being done by "Texas" or even "Red Dirt" artists (though Scott originally hails from red-dirt country).

It's fresh, to be sure. And it seems to have a destination. This stuff ain't just a rehash of The Groobees, although you'll likely hear a few of the old tunes if you make it out.

And you should make it out to a show, because there's no CD yet (maybe a few months? they're off to the studio soon).

I'm telling ya -- just like I did on these pages back in the days when Cross Canadian Ragweed couldn't book a room to play in Houston and Slobberbone was playing to about a half dozen of us in Rudz and Reckless Kelly couldn't convince a label they were worth having -- you better go see these guys (and gal) playing the small intimate rooms while you can. Or even better, when Scott and Cindy Chaffin get 'em booked for a music festival, you can come drink Shiner and camp out with all the cool kids who listen to cool music. I know I can't wait (hope I'm invited)!

* * * *

Speaking of those two -- we're very sad Cindy missed the festivities, but Scott showed us a really good time. He was a little more perturbed with the service at the All Good than I was, but then again, our waitress looked like Yancy Butler, an actress I have a crush on, so I'm probably not a good judge of the service. So far as I know, the waitress hasn't bitten or punched anyone lately. That's a plus, right? Seriously, all you North Texas peeps and stalkers should really go have a beer with Scott next time he's prowling Dallas, or on his promised Houston roadtrip. It'll be a hoot.

[Posted at 22:41 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

Randy Rogers (2003-01-24)

Okay, you peeps and stalkers must be wondering -- why in the world does he go roadtripping all over to see bands and drink beer.

The answer is, well, if you can't get the bands you want to see over to your town often enough because they're all just a bunch of Kenny Chesney-heads, then you roadtrip.

And so we did Friday night, to El Campo, Texas, home of Greek Bros Restaurant (I really can't escape Greeks no matter how hard I try) and... well, not much else, frankly.

This was our second trip to Greek Bros. The first time, we were blown away by the amazing food, and then blown away by the Randy Rogers Band (first time we had seen them in an actual bar, after first seeing 'em at a Texans game). So we figured we'd catch Randy and crew again there.

It was a little less crowded this time -- I think the cold weather kept all the El Campo weenies huddled around their woodburning stoves drinking moonshine or something -- but after our friend Jose Cuervo made a few rounds, the room loosened up and the band blasted away for an hour or so.

And then our crew added a new feature to the Randy Rogers intermission -- political commentary and debate. After a LONG week or so of figuring out political risk in some of the dicier places in the world, I was more than happy to sit back and let our friend John and Randy flesh out the finer points of health care policy and the death penalty and Scott Ritter (well, okay, I did wonder once WHICH Scott Ritter we were talking about, the one who was once critical of the Iraqi regime or the more recent apologist). And we talked a little music as well (now that I think about it, we talked a LONG time, which was cool). At some point, Randy had to leave the Fox News panel... err, I mean our table, and get back to the stage. But it was all great fun, nobody got called a fascist or a Commie Pinko, and more beer was consumed. And iced tea. Eddie was pounding the iced tea. Not sure what that was all about.

So Randy went on to close the place down for our small but dedicated little crowd with a kickass set and occasional political commentary that I'm not sure anybody but our Fox News devotees caught.

My only complaint -- the band seems to have retired "Just This Side of Heaven" from the live sets. I think it's just a ploy to make us all buy Live At Cheatham Street myself. But ploy or not, if you want to hear some REAL country music (none of this Kenny Chesney or Billy Ray Cyrus crap) you should buy it, and you should definitely go buy Like It Used To Be as well. Or better, go to a show, and buy 'em, because that makes everyone even happier.

And when you get Randy to sign the thing, ask him about Scott Ritter. Tell him the Fox News gang sent ya!

[Posted at 21:28 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

Ever The Optimists

One face of Malaise
Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezezinski

It's always interesting (or maybe a slap in the face) to hear from the Malaise Contingent.

On the PBS News Hour tonight, Zbigniew Brzezinski actually spun the Hans Blix report by contending that it moves us further from war, because it increases pressure on Saddam Hussein, and if just given a little more time, that pressure quite likely will force Saddam, when faced with his own personal destruction, to comply with the UN Resolution.

I had a good chuckle, and now I'm going to have dinner.

(01-28-03 Update) A transcript is now available here. The part I describe above:

JIM LEHRER: All the details aside that we have just talked about, what most Americans want to know tonight, after a momentous day like this, did we move closer to war or did we move further away from war, in your opinion?. . .

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I think maybe a step or two away, rather than closer to, in part because it strengthens, today strengthens the case against Iraq and increases the pressure on Iraq to comply. And I think there's still a chance that at the last minute, when faced with the prospect of military disruption and eventually personal death, Saddam will comply. And therefore we have to always balance deliberation, not be saber rattling too much, with determination. Do things that do convince people that we're ready to act and let Blix develop the case that Iraq in effect is not fully complying.

Uh huh. Sure.

[Posted at 18:28 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

Greenland Sorcery

I just love news reports like this one:

The Greenland government collapsed yesterday because of a row about a phenomenon associated more commonly with the medieval period rather than the 21st century: witchcraft.

[Posted at 15:32 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

Maybe, Maybe Not

Maybe.

Or maybe the world's best scientists should turn their attention to patching all the holes and bugs in Microsoft products?

Just a thought.

[Posted at 10:01 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

Oh Those French

So, the French want us to stay out of Iraq, huh?

Maybe they should worry about THEIR unpopular imperialism in Cote d'Ivoire Ivory Coast, and not concern themselves so much with the fact that the U.S. is just about to begin the task of liberating Iraq from a dictator intent on obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

I've been suggesting as much for a while....

[Posted at 08:46 CST on 01/27/03] [Link]

26 January 2003

Winding Down

Man oh man.... what a great weekend! Well, aside from the internet getting hosed by Microsoft vulnerabilities (best quote I saw on Slashdot: "Microsoft broke the internet. How will they top that?") and a netblock at Hurricane Electric (where my hosting firm's servers reside physically) being hit particularly hard knocking out our sites longer than just about anyone's....

But that was okay, because we were busy catching an awesome performance by Randy Rogers on Friday, followed by another awesome performance by the Dead End Angels. And we caught up with Scott Chaffin and knocked down plenty of brews to the Dead End Angels, although sadly his prettier half couldn't make it.

More details of it all, but I just want to REST for a little while, and watch a little football. But it really was a great weekend.

PS Why in the hell do people call that sh#t stuff Shania Twain does "country music?!" Can anyone tell me that? Because it sounds nothing like the really good music I heard all weekend long.

PPS Is it too incongruous for the boy who watched alt-country music all weekend to admit he's always had a crush on Gwen Stefani and likes the music?

[Posted at 19:20 CST on 01/26/03] [Link]

24 January 2003

Another Musical Weekend

Cindy's broken out the love today for the Dead End Angels, who will be playing up in Dallas this weekend.

I can't wait for the roadtrip. Ya'll should come out and hear some amazing original Americana and maybe a few covers thrown in. Plus you can meet those cool Dallas kids, Scott and Cindy. Well worth the price of admission, I would say.

But first, a very short roadtrip tonight to Greek Bros in El Campo, to catch the Randy Rogers Band.

[Posted at 12:58 CST on 01/24/03] [Link]

23 January 2003

Cool

Sweet Libbi Bosworth
Libbi Bosworth

I knew that Libbi Bosworth of the Dead End Angels had a kick ass website, but I just discovered her journal/blog page.

And now, of course, is when the reader gets all demanding, and wants more entries....

Come on Libbi, we want more updates! :)

[Posted at 19:43 CST on 01/23/03] [Link]

Oops

Ah, Houston.

The city that just has trouble doing much of anything right these days.

Given the resources being expended on the great light rail experiment (boondoggle?), one would think planners might have thought a little more about the sidewalks.

Ah well.

(01-24-03) I should clarify that I'm generally a rail fan, and the boondoggle comment is meant more as criticism of the way projects are generally awarded and managed in Houston (i.e. the old boy crony network) than as any statement on rail's merits. I'm rather looking forward to experiencing DART firsthand in Dallas this weekend.

[Posted at 17:03 CST on 01/23/03] [Link]

Public Works

Mayor Sinkhole's America

Remember that HUGE sinkhole that appeared in southwest Houston months ago?

Well, it's not even close to being repaired.

Houston Public Works.

One of the few terms I know that contains its own punchline.

[Posted at 16:51 CST on 01/23/03] [Link]

Bradford Slips Wife The Tongue -- Only On 11!

Sorry, but here's a shot from Channel 11 of accused-and-acquitted perjurer Chief Clarence Bradford that I could certainly do without:

Way to slip her the tongue, Chief!

The dismissal notwithstanding, Bradford is still a buffoon, one of many in Mayor Pothole's crack leadership team.

And now that he'll be back on the job, maybe he can address a recent critical audit of HPD's police lab, which led one expert to call the lab the worse he's ever seen.

[Posted at 16:36 CST on 01/23/03] [Link]

22 January 2003

Nice

Dear gawd, he's been displaced as the starting second baseman, nobody knows if he'll be worth a damn in the outfield, and his baseball skills are in decline.

Maybe the owner should personally negotiate a contract extension?

Sometimes Drayton McLane makes even Jerry Jones (pre-Parcells and post-Jimmy) look like a smart sports owner.

Of course, if same sad sack of an owner is looking to reduce the impact of Biggio's salary this year with an extension, so that he can then sell the team during that period, reap a significant profit, and leave the next owner to deal with the problem... well, it sounds just about perfect. Not that Drayton would ever consider such a thing, right?

Meanwhile, up the road in Dallas, another local icon -- and one that, unlike Biggio, is a lock for the Hall of Fame in his sport -- is likely to be shown the door unless he agrees to lessen HIS role on the team and impact on the salary cap. Skills decline, and teams move on -- if they're smart. It's nice to have a football man running the place again.

[Posted at 23:40 CST on 01/22/03] [Link]

Not Where I Want To Be

I've always had great admiration for Robert Pelton, global adventurer and author of The World's Most Dangerous Places. The man has an intimate understanding of political risk all over the world because he goes out to "have a look around," as an old mentor of mine used to say. And he's a funny writer to boot.

Unfortunately, Pelton and a couple of others were reported missing over the past weekend, having last been seen in a no-man's land called Darien's Gap, between Panama and Colombia.

Now, Reuters is reporting that a Colombian warlord indicates that Pelton and the other two missing people are simply being held "for their own protection."

That's never good. But at least he's alive.

Oh, did I mention that while I have great admiration for Pelton, I have no interest in his job?

(01-23-03 Update) Pelton has been released. This should make for interesting reading in his next book.

[Posted at 17:47 CST on 01/22/03] [Link]

Bragg Stockton, RIP


Coach Bragg Stockton

The Houston Cougar baseball family suffered a blow yesterday with the passing of volunteer assistant coach Bragg Stockton.

Dr. Stockton was a past head coach at UH, and a very successful coach on every level. Indeed, he was Rayner Noble's coach at UH, and had a dramatic effect on the pitching staff after coming on board last season. He was well known as a great teacher of fundamentals.

I didn't know Coach Stockton at all, but it was obvious from watching so many games last season that the man loved being around baseball and loved teaching young people the right way to play a great game. He always seemed to be upbeat, and amazingly fit and energetic for a man his age.

What a sad day for his family, Cougar baseball, and the literally thousands of people he taught to play the game.

[Posted at 06:46 CST on 01/22/03] [Link]

21 January 2003

Brought To You By Big Oil

My answer to five years of Mayor Pothole's street maintenance
A typical trip down West Alabama

Two pieces worth reading on various liberal anti-SUV ranting, written by

Jonathan Adler

and

David Brooks (requires damn registration)

I must report that two months after the purchase, I'm quite pleased with my SUV -- and it makes me smile when I romp down and make that 210 HP 3.7L powerplant roar. But then, I'm a pawn of big oil, so what do you expect? And as a pawn of big oil, you know what roar I like even better? That of a certain black Ford Cobra. But that doesn't bring out the irrational hatred that an SUV does, despite worse mileage.

Sadly, one needs an SUV to get around Mayor Pothole's America these days. I really don't see how people can get around Montrose in a little econobox without the potholes destroying the damn things. Who needs the Rubicon trail -- Jeep could just certify their vehicles by sending 'em down West Alabama towards Montrose.

[Posted at 22:16 CST on 01/21/03] [Link]

Wedding Fun

Scroll down to the picture in Evelynne's latest journal entry.

Dont'cha wanna just give her a great big hug?

[Posted at 21:37 CST on 01/21/03] [Link]

Bootleg Blahs

It's really cool to have an excellent bootleg of a band doing a bunch of covers you've never heard 'em do....

until you hear the waitress interrupting song after song asking us if she can bring us anything.

Not her fault, of course, she was just doing her job, and doing it well. But it makes for kind of a sad little bootleg (along with muddy room acoustics).

[Posted at 21:33 CST on 01/21/03] [Link]

That Silly Place Known As The Academy

There are days when I am thankful that, for whatever reason, I wound up in industry instead of academia.

Most days are that way actually -- it's just that I'm especially thankful when I actually have to interact with the academy.

This is one of those days.

[Posted at 21:27 CST on 01/21/03] [Link]

20 January 2003

Yao

Charley Rosen has written a really interesting scouting report on Yao Ming.

What is amazing to is that despite all of the weaknesses Rosen lists, everyone still pretty much agrees that Yao is the second best center in the league.

Imagine how good he will be when he fully grasps what he needs to be doing!

And yes, all of my doubts about Yao ever listed on this blog were WRONG.

[Posted at 22:44 CST on 01/20/03] [Link]

Our Profane Chief

I haven't blogged much lately about local goings-on, but fortunately Kuffner's got all the latest on Houston Police Chief Bradford's big trial.

Kuffner also notes that Reynolds is a bit confused on the topic. Like everyone else, he should go read Kuff!

[Posted at 22:31 CST on 01/20/03] [Link]

Stoned?

Do the FrenchWeenies diplomats really think the U.S. is going to come ask their permission AGAIN when the time comes to go to war with Iraq?

They must be smoking some good weed at the U.N.

(01-21-03 Update) I forgot to mention -- it might be useful for the U.S. to remind the FrenchWeenies that the U.N. has yet to approve their outrageously unilateral action in their former colony Cote d'Ivoire Ivory Coast. Imperialist colonialist hypocrites! :)

[Posted at 22:22 CST on 01/20/03] [Link]

A Global Observation On Lee Brown's America

A colleague from the UK is working out of our Houston office this week.

He came early to run the marathon.

This was his comment on the marathon, overheard today: "Your streets are falling apart!"

Yes.

Five years of Mayor Pothole have been hell on the streets. Even for runners.

[Posted at 20:45 CST on 01/20/03] [Link]

19 January 2003

Useful Idiot

Maybe Scott Anderson should next go sit down with Saddam Hussein, have some coffee, and share a few laughs.

After all, he's just figured out that Muammar Qaddafi's a relatively swell, misunderstood guy:

Yet, today, Qaddafi seems intent on putting his checkered past behind him. Now, rather than calling for ''armed struggle'' against Western imperialism, he has re-established diplomatic and economic ties throughout Europe. Rather than trying to destabilize his Arab neighbors, he wants to create a pan-African confederation modeled along the lines of the European Union. He has even done an about-face with regard to Israel. The man who once called for pushing the ''Zionists'' into the sea now advocates the forming of one nation where Jews and Palestinians would live together in peace. . . .

There is also the hint that this new spirit of moderation has carried over into Qaddafi's personal life. Supposedly freed from the daily demands of governance -- he continues only as the nation's spiritual leader, he says, with no official powers -- he is able to indulge in life's simpler pleasures.

''I have time now for horseback riding,'' he says. ''I've always liked horses. Also, I enjoy hunting sometimes, and I do quite a lot of reading. Also, going on the Internet. I have a Web site.''

Wonderful, isn't it? The man likes animals. And surfing the web. You didn't know that, didja?

See, Qaddafi's just been misunderstood for nearly thirty years. Maybe even, Anderson almost concedes, by his own people:

Sitting outside his tent in Bab el-Azziziya, Qaddafi even felt comfortable enough to cast his own small element of doubt over his long, slow journey toward rehabilitation in the eyes of the world. When I asked how he would like to be remembered, he started with a platitudinous answer: ''I would hope that people would feel that I haven't been selfish, that I have even forsaken myself in order to please and to help others. I do hope people would say that.'' But then Qaddafi stopped and gave a low chuckle. ''And I do hope that I have actually been like this in reality.''
Charming. Just charming.

Now that Mr. Anderson has helped us to understand one of the great authoritarians of our time, I really do think Iraq should be next on his itinerary. Imagine what clarity he could bring to American misunderstandings of Mr. Saddam Hussein.

(Update) This must be the week for liberal rags to run pro-Libya pieces. Here, Ian Urbina urges the U.S. to drop sanctions gradually against Libya, with their ultimate cessation being dependent upon Libyan democratization and respect for human rights. I hope he's not holding his breath.

[Posted at 22:24 CST on 01/19/03] [Link]

Sorry I missed...

It's nice to settle in for some football (how about Tampa Bay?!) after another music roadtrip. The Dead End Angels put on another fine show last night at the Scenic Loop Cafe outside of San Antonio (and I put away a fine steak). Unfortunately, the weather was too cold for them to play outside (where's there's a nice stage and FIREPITS for those of us pyros who like to sip a beer AND play in the fire), so they had to play inside on a teeny little stage. It was great for those of us who like an intimate show in any case.

I'm a little disappointed that I missed Chris Simms set a record by throwing an interception that was returned for 99 yards in the Senior Bowl. I guess he thought he was playing Oklahoma?

[Posted at 17:57 CST on 01/19/03] [Link]

18 January 2003

More Django

I REALLY enjoyed the Django Walker show at the Firehouse.

But I'm too sleepy to post anything really. However, Alex was there, and maybe if everyone's really nice he'll post something about it.

Two shows so far this week, and a roadtrip for the week's headline act (Dead End Angels) on Saturday.

Rock on.

[Posted at 01:59 CST on 01/18/03] [Link]

17 January 2003

Django

A last minute change of plans (for all you stalkers out there)....

I don't think I can pass up Django Walker at the Firehouse tonight (Speedtrucker opening).

The Gourds will probably put on a fine show at the Continental Club. But I've just grown more comfortable with the Firehouse. And after this LONG TIRING week, it's all about the comfort level.

Dead End Angels tomorrow in San Antonio.

[Posted at 15:53 CST on 01/17/03] [Link]

16 January 2003

Terrible Places

It's been a while since I've done completely new analysis on an absolute hell-hole of a country at work.

Sure, there was a recent Cote d'Ivoire update -- but it was an update, rather than completely new analysis.

Anyway, a client called and wanted to know more about a few countries we don't actually cover (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea). There's a reason we don't cover them, of course, and that would be because nobody in their friggin' right mind would do business there (aside from flagging ships out of Liberia, of course, which makes great sense). Except there might be hydrocarbons offshore, and political risk doesn't matter so much when oil jumps over $30/bbl.

Now, one of the great things about what we do is that people in our industry largely want the punchline and could care less about academic-style treatises (thank gawd!) -- so we can write bluntly and succintly, so long as we get it right for the most part.

However, I still will probably have to come up with something more elaborate on Liberia than simply, "It's F-ed politically. And companies that hope to exploit its hydrocarbons may well be also."

A good task for a Friday, I think.

[Posted at 22:07 CST on 01/16/03] [Link]

15 January 2003

Mooch Booted

Okay, is Bill Walsh still the genius architect of the West Coast offense with a keen eye for talent to fit that system, or just a senile old fool who shouldn't be let anywhere near the controls of an NFL franchise?

After the way the 49ers ditched Steve Mariucci, I'm starting to think the latter of Mr. Walsh.

[Posted at 22:54 CST on 01/15/03] [Link]

Mr. Football

Randy Galloway has an interesting column on Chris Simms and Mack Brown. It seems that a fair number of NFL scouts and coaches are none too impressed with the development of NFL prospects who are coming out of Austin (or that offense Mack ran this year).

Given the blue-chip talent he had on offense this year and the degree to which it underperformed, one would think Mack would make bigger changes than the minor reshuffle that took place. Then again, maybe that's why Spurrier called him Mr. Football. And why NFL scouts are not that impressed.

This is an odd comment from Kirk Bohls:

He sacked offensive line coach Tim Nunez, bumped running backs coach Bruce Chambers to tight ends coach, gave the entire line to Mac McWhorter and hired Louisiana State assistant Mike Haywood to get the most out of Benson. Chambers represents many of the qualities Brown nurtures — he's black and came from the high school coaching ranks — but, like all of Texas' coaches, he's been put on notice that he must produce.
Umm... Mack Brown nurtures black-ness and high-school-coaching-ness?! What in the hell is Bohls trying to say?

[Posted at 22:24 CST on 01/15/03] [Link]

The Gourds and Bootlegs

Here's an entirely refreshing view of bootleg taping of concerts, from Kevin Russell of The Gourds:

Well-it's alright with us. There has been alot of
folks recording us for awhile now. And more so than a
money thing, it seems to be like trading cards, you
know. I really doubt that there is a serious boot leg
market over the internet. Ar least not for bands on
our level. And with portable digital gear becoming
cheaper and cheaper and more and more concealed. I
think people who play music in public should just
expect to be taped. Who knows what effect this has.
Any artist that gets upset about somebody making a
personal tape of their performance is either paranoid,
greedy, anal, afraid or all of the above. It's
uncalled for. One has to consider the reasons and
whole picture of why the tape machiners appear. The
music industry is full of blood suckers. And when one
begins thinking that members of their audience are
bloodsuckers as well, then their done. Even worse it
could be a case of simple transference. And the artist
has actually become the bloodsucker while equating
everyone else with this most dreaded of vampiric
menace. Feel free to
tape and trade over this list if'n ya wanna.
Cool. And that's a post from 1998, which is pretty forward looking.

I'm leaning towards seeing these guys Friday night at the Continental Club, although there's also a good show at the Firehouse that night (Django Walker/Speedtrucker).

[Posted at 21:32 CST on 01/15/03] [Link]

Liberia

One Honey Is NOT Enough For The Traditional Leader

Liberia's Charles Taylor is the man. Get this:

Liberia's President Charles Taylor has said that, as a traditional leader, he is entitled to up to four wives.

He was speaking at a news conference carried live on his Kiss-FM radio station, following rumours that either he has taken a new wife in recent days or is on the verge of doing so. (BBC News)
I suppose if he were a non-traditional leader, however, he would be entitled to three wives and a husband?!

And the dude's radio station is Kiss-FM. How great is that?

You just can't make up stuff like this!

[Posted at 15:13 CST on 01/15/03] [Link]

14 January 2003

Songwriters' Night

I'm off shortly to songwriters' night at the Mucky Duck.

Rusty has an excellent lineup tonight: Mike McClure (The Great Divide), Walt Wilkins (Nashville-by-way-of-Texas singer/songwriter) and Hayes Carll (local singer-songwriter).

It should be fun!

[Posted at 18:57 CST on 01/14/03] [Link]

Post-Objectivism

Courtesy of Andrew -- Premises of Post-Objectivism.

I don't normally like "post" and "neo" prefixes, but in this case I think the term describes exactly where I am intellectually.

Favorite sentence:

History of ideas should be considered mandatory reading by all Randian and Objectivist thinkers, and should be approached with a "gold-digger" attitude, not a horror file-attitude.
I'm an objectivist who's been saying that a LONG time (and committing the Randian heresy of reading people like Nietzsche).

But I'll call myself a post-objectivist now.

[Posted at 18:47 CST on 01/14/03] [Link]

The Revenge of Gallo del Cielo

The title comes courtesy of my friend Dave, who sends along this story about a cockfight that went dreadfully terribly wrong.

Now, for those Oklahomans who are still agitating to keep cockfighting legal (despite it being overwhelmingly rejected by voters), I have an idea -- I think I could go for it if the human trainers were actually tied up, and the birds got to cut the hell out of them as well as the other birds.

THAT would be some kind of blood sport.

[Posted at 18:42 CST on 01/14/03] [Link]

13 January 2003

Bigfoot Anyone?

I don't buy the "rampaging dog" explanation.

Nah, I think it sounds more like bigfoot.

Bigfoot's making a comeback, after all.

[Posted at 23:40 CST on 01/13/03] [Link]

Irony

Tonight I finished playing with the Randy Rogers bootleg from the Firehouse last Thursday and I was amused.

See, Randy has this great song called "Tommy Jackson."

And after a few Midori drinks, Callie decided she wanted to hear him do Tommy Jackson.

So about midway through the set, as the crowd is shouting out requests after every song, Callie starts to shout "Tommy Jackson" along with them.

Of course, they were quite far away from the mic.

And Callie was about 5 feet from the mic.

So it's preserved clearly. Forever.

The irony of it all is that Randy does play Tommy Jackson about 2/3 of the way through the show. And Callie's 80 minute minidisc runs out halfway through the song.

For some reason, that amuses me.

[Posted at 22:55 CST on 01/13/03] [Link]

12 January 2003

Burtschi Brothers

That Texas Troubadours collection on Red Dirt artists I just mentioned has me more than ready to catch Travis Linville and the Burtschi Brothers, whom I've heard good things about elsewhere.

I see that they play Roxies in Tahlequah on occasion, which is the bar near the campsite of the annual Memorial Day float trip expedition. Wonder if they'll be playing then? Hmm....

Also, the band No Justice looks like an up-and-comer. Too much music, not enough time.

[Posted at 17:57 CST on 01/12/03] [Link]

Texas Troubadours

The Texas Troubadours website has some great features up on a bunch of the established and emerging Oklahoma Red-Dirt bands.

Unfortunately, the interview they do with The Great Divide leads me to believe that band isn't going to be together much longer (page three of the interview here, but read the whole thing). That's too bad, because those guys are excellent.

I did like a couple of their answers answers to the question, "What is your reaction to fans who say that they’ve [major label artists Pat Green and Cross Canadian Ragweed] sold out?

Any fan that says Pat Green or Cross Canadian Ragweed has sold out by signing a record deal is just an idiot. You sign major deals so your music can hopefully get out there and reach as many people as possible. You sign the deal so you can have a machine behind what you are doing...so you are not making all the calls.....putting up all the flyers...etc.....now ...if you sign a deal and change who you are ...then by all means you are a "sell out"......but neither of those acts did that. They stayed true to who they were and got a deal. So to the people who want to rant that that is selling out....they need to get a life. Get a pet fish...talk to it.... do something....pleeease. [Mike McClure]

I don't think that's fair to the musicians. I can speak on this because I know all the guys in Ragweed, and I know Pat personally. They're not sellin' out. Truth of the matter is you're out there makin' your music, and you want to get it out to as many people as you can, the most effective way you can. Why are you makin' the music if not for people to hear?
I feel like the more people that are exposed to it, that's a possibility of affecting a change. If people like Pat, and Ragweed gain more exposure and viability in the marketplace, then maybe things will start to change, and not be so dominated by pop country. [Scott Lester]

How refreshing to see something besides catty (jealous?) comments about Pat Green.

Incidentally, The Great Divide's Mike McClure is going to be part of the Mucky Duck's Tuesday songwriters night, along with Hayes Carll and Walt Wilkins. That's probably worth seeing.

(01-13-03 Update) Alex is up way too early, and has some thoughts on the possible (imminent?) breakup of The Great Divide.

[Posted at 17:51 CST on 01/12/03] [Link]

More Music

I made it out last night to catch Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars at a packed Firehouse.

It was kind of an odd show. I used to be an RK fanatic, but I haven't seen a show of theirs since a
lackluster performance in December 2001
. And I've never seen MMC, which has a couple of younger Braun brothers in it and recently relocated to Austin. So I've gone from someone who used to have bootlegs of all the new stuff months before it eventually came out on a CD to not really knowing what they're doing new these days.

Overall, I thought Micky and the Motorcars had a pretty nice sounding band. I hear some 60s influence. They sound original, and that's good. I just wish there was a little more depth to the songs. The fans on the RK message board just rave about this band and its songwriting, but few (if any) of the original songs they played departed from one of two themes: loving/leaving/heartbreak and getting high/drunk. Then again, they're youngish, obviously talented musically, and will probably write better songs with some life experience.

RK, on the other hand, has been together long enough to have quite a catalog of quality songs to choose from, so depth isn't a problem. And neither is their sound, which is tight and hard. These guys sound like veterans.

They just don't sound like the band I used to obsess over -- an alt-country outfit with sweet harmonies boosted by an array of fiddle/mandolin/harmonica/guitar. Those old sweet harmonies are gone, along with the bass player who supplied the high parts of those sweet harmonies, Chris "Shifty" Schelske (his departure from the band still seems to be a taboo topic well over a year later, even though his picture is still featured on their recently redesigned website. Go figure). Live RK, circa January 2003, instead consists of Willie Braun screaming most songs with a definite alt-rock verve, and sharing some harmony vocals with brother Cody Braun (who still brandishes a fiddle and mandolin). That's not to say they don't sound good, but they definitely have a harder rock edge to them these days, much harder than their old, self-described "hick-rock" sound of Millican (which was, whatever might be said, more country than rock, and still their best effort IMO).

It will be interesting to see if this edgy, rocking sound is what comes through on their upcoming Sugar Hill CD release, or if this is just how RK sounds live these days. Personally, I'm hoping for a little more of a country sound -- but that's obviously the sort of stuff I'm enjoying these days as a listener.

[Posted at 17:23 CST on 01/12/03] [Link]

10 January 2003

Randy Rogers (Not Really) Reviewed

The Randy Rogers Band
The Randy Rogers Band

We had a great time last night at the Firehouse.

The Randy Rogers Band has really grown on us, and they played a nice set.

I think I appreciate it more tonight as I'm listening to a pretty good bootleg. The new mic has MUCH better frequency response than the old one, and I'm really pleased with the improvement. The recording itself could be a little better, as we picked up more crowd noise *ahem* than I would prefer, but that probably has something to do with the fact that we began the evening at Barry's Pizza (you know, the local pizza joint that does NOT close down live music institutions), which tends to loosen up our vocal chords by the time we actually make it to music. And it also has to do with the fact that the new mics actually pick up bass, and pick it up very very well. Combine that pickup with some high Sound Pressure Levels and the standard Sharp MD pre-amp, though, and the sound is a little muddy in spots. A battery pack on the mic should remedy that problem, but I thought I would experiment and see what it sounded like without it.

I'm too lazy to post a full review of the show, but Randy was in good form and they really did a nice job with their original stuff. But the highlights for me were the covers of Jimmie Dale Gilmore's Dallas, and Bruce Robison's Wrapped (described by Randy as the greatest country-western song ever written, and who can really argue, David Allan Coe notwithstanding). I can't wait to catch 'em again, on a weekend (the Thursday crowd was a little smallish, and a little lethargic).

We were a little surprised after the show when we went up to get Randy's signature, because he actually remembered us from his Texans' set. Maybe because we were the only ones paying much attention to the music that day, and actually took the time to go say thanks to him -- but still, that's pretty cool.

(Update) Forgot to mention -- we actually had Randy sign our minidisc recording, which seemed to amuse him. But what was also cool is that he took the time to note on the MD label "Firehouse 1/09/03" before he signed it. Dude gets the whole bootleg thing.

[Posted at 23:24 CST on 01/10/03] [Link]

09 January 2003

Randy Rogers

Well, Cindy's still busy letting us know where all the local Houston talent is playing tonight.

But I'm planning on catching San Marcos singer/songwriter Randy Rogers and his fine band at the Firehouse. The last time we saw 'em there was after OU kicked Colorado's butts (again) to win the Big 12 title, and Randy put on a fine show (despite a few negative comments about OU) including an awesome cover of Dallas by Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

The evening gets started about 8 pm at Barry's Pizza (for all you stalkers).

IMO, Barry's serves the best pizza in town (well, Arcodoro may give 'em a run, but that's not really a pizza joint), and to my knowledge, has NEVER put a venerable music institution out of business.

[Posted at 17:49 CST on 01/09/03] [Link]

Oops

If you're expecting to see Reductio ad Absurdum or Siber-Den and you're wondering why you're here, it's because I screwed up a DNS setting that I was fiddling with last night. It should all be resolved now (famous last words), but some ISPs might cache the previous setting for a short period of time.

Sorry about the mix up (and if you have no idea what I'm talking about, all is well).

[Posted at 08:52 CST on 01/09/03] [Link]

That Franchione Magic

A&M fans must be pleased that they chased off the winningest coach in their history, who was putting together one of his best recruiting classes ever, only for his replacement to start losing those recruits.

And to UH no less (at least I hope -- Drew Tate would be a great fit in an Art Briles offense).

Whoop!

[Posted at 07:57 CST on 01/09/03] [Link]

08 January 2003

Washington

I mentioned this article earlier to Cindy over at TexasGigs (who is going crazy with Houston music coverage this week), and it's also related to recent discussion over at Greg's place about the closing of the FabSat.

Even though the Satellite is now gone, Pam Robinson (second half of article) is doing her part to make Washington a pretty damn cool place. Like John Nova Lomax, I'm a little sad to see Mary Jane's go (I could tell stories about knocking down shots over there with a former president of my place of employment, but that one's probably best left in the graveyard), but the new bar sounds all right, and honestly the place did need a facelift.

I need to get over to Silky's one of these nights. When you're not in the mood for the bustle of The Big Easy or the darkness of The Gallant Knight, but just want some good blues in a dive setting, Silky's has always done the trick. I'm sure it still does.

[Posted at 21:20 CST on 01/08/03] [Link]

07 January 2003

Oh Mack

I guess when you can't win the Cotton Bowl whenever Bob Stoops is standing on the sideline, you have to settle for what you can manage.

In the case of Mack Brown, that would be whooping it up every January/February about how well Texas has recruited.

At some point, isn't someone going to wonder why Mack finishes first in recruiting so often, and in twenty+ years of coaching has NEVER won a conference championship?

[Posted at 23:10 CST on 01/07/03] [Link]

Bootlegs

The NYTimes has posted an interesting story on trading bootlegs of live music shows.

I've never really understood why any band would object to bootleg recording of shows. The things generate a great buzz for the band, and they are obviously circulated by people who have a passion for a group's music. Yeah, they're "unauthorized," but then again, so is much of life.

That said, I've never really been interested in trading bootlegs, nor do I make the bootlegs available p2p. We record shows when possible to document OUR experience there, and we often make copies for friends. But trading for a show I didn't go to? No interest.

But I guess we're in the definite minority of those who record shows.

[Posted at 23:02 CST on 01/07/03] [Link]

Bad Nolan (III)

It's too bad something like this didn't happen during the football regular season.

I imagine that former Cowboys coach Dave Campo might have liked to take his pistol to Bruce Coslet, who engineered that sorry mess the Cowboys called an offense this year and effectively got Campo (and himself, courtesy of Bill Parcells) fired.

[Posted at 21:45 CST on 01/07/03] [Link]

Saved

Jonah Goldberg says to save this prediction.

You got it, big guy.

Meanwhile, we'll let our kind readers find their own way to the bloggers who are wee-weeing all over themselves about the revolution of blogging from a political convention.

But here's a memo to them -- even if the convention isn't wi-fi'ed, a 3G-equipped PDA ought to work just fine. You'd think these revolutionaries would already know that, but they're too busy hyping the revolution, I guess.

[Posted at 21:22 CST on 01/07/03] [Link]

Ledeen

Michael Ledeen has noticed France's little adventure in Cote d'Ivoire.

He even calls it Ivory Coast.

Didn't someone suggest that a few days ago?

Hmmm....

Advantage: Me!

[Posted at 21:12 CST on 01/07/03] [Link]

06 January 2003

FabSat, RIP

Greg has a post mortem of the penultimate show ever at the Satellite this weekend.

Despite the place's problems (it often got much too crowded and smoky), Dickie Malone ran a joint that treated musicians well for a long long time and took music seriously (unlike, say, Fitzgerald's these days), and the FabSat was a destination of a lot of Texas music acts that I really like (including Reckless Kelly, who always attracted a huge, raucous crowd).

Here's hoping he relocates. The Houston music scene needs more Dickie Malones a lot more than it needs (overrated) slow pizza joints.

[Posted at 20:40 CST on 01/06/03] [Link]

Way To Go HPD!

The Houston Police Department had another fine showing over the weekend.

Turns out a man was arrested for interfering with police duties, for doing no more than returning a child who had been reported missing to his parents.

Maybe our fine city can add him to the JCI/Kmart folks who now need to have their arrest records expunged.

Lest anyone forget, one of the major reasons the Comical endorsed Mayor Pothole over and over and over was because of his fine public safety record and leadership.

Yeah, right.

[Posted at 10:46 CST on 01/06/03] [Link]

Movie Madness

Callie and I caught the latest Lord of the Rings movie over the weekend.

However, our trip to the Edwards Cinema in the neighborhood wasn't nearly as interesting as Alex's trip to the Marq-E.

Thankfully.

[Posted at 08:14 CST on 01/06/03] [Link]

05 January 2003

How Quickly They Forget

One just gets no idea from this hostile editorial that the Houston Comical endorsed Mayor Pothole over and over and over....

You'd think they'd be full of pride at just how effectively he's managed public works, the Kmart/JCI scandal, his foreign travel, hell, even that bandit-sign-fighting weapon known as his Town Car.

[Posted at 22:32 CST on 01/05/03] [Link]

Houston Sports

Houston is a bad sports town.

But at least it's not the worst.

Barely.

[Posted at 12:06 CST on 01/05/03] [Link]

04 January 2003

Too Cool

Cindy Chaffin has an awesome link to YellowChevyLuv's bootleg video of last night's Slobberbone/Billy Pritchard show in Fort Worth.

As one who enjoys making audio bootlegs and who enjoys Slobberbone, I think it's pretty damn cool. Technology rocks. :)

[Posted at 13:58 CST on 01/04/03] [Link]

Ivory Coast Mess

France has quite a mess on its hands in Cote d'Ivoire.

On the one hand, it still has plenty of nationals in the place and feels some obligation to protect them with the troops it still has there. On the other hand, the current government is, for the most part, racist and corrupt, and the uprising in the west and the north is in response to the government's policies of racial exclusion -- so France's defense of its nationals seems hardly distinguishable from defense of a corrupt government, and reminds lots of folks of the good old days of colonial rule.

I've (over) simplified the mess, but that's the gist of it. I've done it so that I might suggest that the next time the French weenies feel the need to lecture the U.S. on its foreign policy, it might be nice for American diplomats to point out their own conflicted mess of a foreign policy in a place as inconsequential to world affairs as Cote d'Ivoire.

Of course, we should call it Ivory Coast just to piss them off further.

[Posted at 13:42 CST on 01/04/03] [Link]

Howell Wets Himself

The NY Times is just giddy with the headline "Brazil's President Picks Butter Over Guns". Oh what a fine lesson for the bellicose West, right?! Howell Raines must have wet himself.

But here's a quick little reality check -- it's a lot cheaper long-term to maintain a nuclear arsenal that allows one to project power (especially in a militarily decrepit Latin America) than it is to maintain an array of fully modern conventional weapons, especially if an established nuclear power (China) is willing to help.

Since we know that Brazil's nutcase President has expressed much interest in the past in the acquisition of nuclear weapons, that might be worth considering.

Unless you're busy wetting yourself over silly "guns versus butter" nonsense.

[Posted at 13:32 CST on 01/04/03] [Link]

Funny

The American Prowler's Enemy of the Week column is a little spicier than usual, after what seemed like a fairly mellow week. Should be good for a laugh or two, unless you're a Pacifica donator (and then you should probably call in to one of the stations and "make your voice heard").

[Posted at 13:20 CST on 01/04/03] [Link]

03 January 2003

Tift Merritt

Believe it or not, she sounds better than she looks

I find myself obsessing tonight over the song "Trouble Over Me" by Tift Merritt, who sounds like a cross between Emmylous Harris and Lucinda Williams.

So, as is the case with most of the (non-Clear-Channel-approved) stuff I listen to, it's damn near impossible to track down via p2p (and no, please don't lecture me on the evils of p2p -- I've done more in the last month to support musicians than most people do over several years, so :P).

I could venture out to Cactus to track down the damn cd, but whenever I try to find something a little offbeat (though why ANYTHING on the Lost Highway label would be offbeat to a store like Cactus is inexplicable) Cactus NEVER has it (so, again, please don't lecture me on p2p).

I guess I'll persevere tonight with the p2p and eventually order the thing.

(01-04-03 Update) I tracked down the song via p2p, and will give local record stores a try today probably. I should mention that I first heard the song on a stream from little KNBT in New Braunfels, TX -- about the best station I listen to these days. None of the Clear Channel behemoths in Houston are playing it, I'm sure, and I never listen to KPFT since the FarLeftNuts took over and scrapped the "Sound of Texas" format. The RIAA wants to know why record sales are down? Because I have to listen to little-known stations over a stream, and then go to p2p to FIND any artists that are not Kenny Chesney-like Nashville creations (Tift apparently WROTE every song on her album -- imagine that!).

(01-04-03 Update 2) Cactus actually had plenty of copies of the CD - quite a few signed ones at that. Go figure.

[Posted at 22:15 CST on 01/03/03] [Link]

02 January 2003

Parcells

There's a new sheriff in Dallas
New Dallas Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells

Bill Parcells was introduced as the new coach of the Dallas Cowboys today.

I listened to the thing on a stream from Dallas's Ticket and saw a bit of it on ESPN before they cut away. Parcells was, of course, on his best behavior, although the trademark sneer really wanted to come out a few times when all of the journalists were shouting questions at the same time (which clearly annoys the Tuna). It's all happy happy, we're gonna win, we're gonna be great partners.

And maybe three straight 11-loss seasons have convinced Jerry Jones that it better be that way.

I hope so.

It's the best development surrounding the Cowboys since Jerry forced out Jimmy Johnson. It also means that doofus Bruce Coslet is going to be sent back into retirement with a good swift Parcells boot in the ass, along with his terrible offensive line coach and probably most of the rest of the current staff.

And I imagine people like Troy Hambrick and Antonio Bryant will stop running their mouths and concentrate on being better football players. At least they better, because when Parcells is on the field, his mouth is the only one that gets to run. Journeymen players who have a problem with that tend to wind up on waivers.

Yep, I do think good changes are coming to Valley Ranch. It's about time.

(01-03-2003) The best sportswriter in Texas agrees that the happy-happy act Bill Parcells put on will eventually be replaced by the real Parcells. It will have to be, of course, if the mess in Dallas is going to be straightened out.

[Posted at 21:18 CST on 01/02/03] [Link]

01 January 2003

A Fine Start

The 2003 sports year is off to a damn fine start.

It's really hard to top the Sooners winning the Rose Bowl (and destroying the overrated, overhyped Pac-10 in the process), AND Bill Parcells confirming he'll be the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

And UH is ranked #10 in the preseason college baseball poll.

Go 2003!

(Update) Oh yeah, and Texas even managed to win a game in the Cotton Bowl in 2003. But it's the one in October that Mack Brown will lose to Bob Stoops that counts. Sorry Longhorns.

[Posted at 22:22 CST on 01/01/03] [Link]

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