JOURNAL: Current | Archives

31 December 2002

2002 Wrap

Okay, I used this entry to motivate myself to finish off a boot of Scott's 11-16-02 show that was sitting half done. Gotta get a few copies made for friends who were there (and some who weren't) and it'll be a wrap. It really turned out well, aside from the poor bass response of the current mic....

And yeah, if you're wondering, this is how you spend New Year's Eve when you get old and boring (and no music in town appeals all that much).

This'll probably be the last entry for a while because I do think I hear some wine calling me, so Happy New Year everyone. See ya on the other side.

[Posted at 21:26 CST on 12/31/02] [Link]

New Year's Surprise

My friend Alex is out CDs, a nice laptop, and other goodies courtesy of some thieving bastard(s), but somehow he still has his good humor and wit.

I, on the other hand, would be out for blood.

[Posted at 17:33 CST on 12/31/02] [Link]

Out Of The Freezer

Is he alive?

It's always a good sign your foreign policy is on the right track when Warren Christopher is trotted out of the deep freeze to critique it in the NYTimes.

A similar appearance by Madeleine Not-At-Albright would seal the deal.

Just as an aside, isn't it a little hard to take seriously any op-ed with a sentence that begins, "As deputy secretary of state in the Carter administration, I...."

It is, however, kind of fun to think of creative ways to finish said sentence:

... helped weaken American prestige across the globe.

... watched helplessly as a bunch of nutty students illegally took our embassy and Americans hostage.

... served a President who thought the key to restoring America's place in the world involved wearing a sweater.

This could go on and on. I almost wish I had comments so all you peeps could contribute!

(Update) Sandy Berger disagrees with Christopher.

[Posted at 10:44 CST on 12/31/02] [Link]

Hand Transplant?

My first thought on seeing this headline (Texans Bradford, Brown await surgery) was that they are attempting a rare hand transplant so maybe Corey Bradford can hold on to the damn football when it's thrown to him.

Alas, that's not the case.

[Posted at 06:35 CST on 12/31/02] [Link]

30 December 2002

Gearing Up

One of my hobbies that took somewhat of a hit in 2002 because of the bastard dissertation -- at least the first half -- was recording bootlegs of live music shows. We didn't get to as many shows as usual, we didn't record all of those, and I never got around to finalizing some of them (including a recent Scott show -- laziness on that last one).

Well, one resolution for 2003 is getting geared up to do this stuff again -- and to do it better. We've been using an old Sony mic that Callie has had forever, but I think it's time to replace it with something that has much better frequency response and more flexibility.

I can't wait to grab a show with 'em.

[Posted at 20:46 CST on 12/30/02] [Link]

29 December 2002

Blog Power?

Orrin Judd notes the incestuous nature of political bloggery, and downplays the "power" of same.

I once referred to a well-known political blogger as the Gail Wynand of bloggery, and I think that's a fairly apt comparison more broadly. Only when Wynand finally took a genuine stand on an issue did he discover just how much power he (as opposed to his audience) truly wielded.

That's not to take away from popular political bloggers at all, but simply to suggest that their "power" may not be quite what they think.

[Posted at 10:37 CST on 12/29/02] [Link]


The Counting Crows recently lost their drummer, and apparently have been casting about for a new one. So the last line in Adam Duritz's latest journal entry made me laugh out loud.

Apparently some Crows fans thought he was serious, which makes it even more funny.

[Posted at 10:05 CST on 12/29/02] [Link]

Dead End Angels

It's hard to imagine anything much better than roadtripping to a 70-degree, end-December Saturday afternoon at Gruene Hall to see a hot new band cranking out the tunes.

And Scott Melott's Dead End Angels definitely qualify as a hot new band.

Those guys get better every time we see them, and yesterday was no different. Plus they keep on cranking out good new stuff while reworking the old (Austin Dawn has a totally different sound now). Which I guess you have to do if you're gonna fill up a four-hour set at Gruene.

We enjoyed the music. The jeep enjoyed the roadtrip. Scott and the band seem pumped and ready to go into the studio in a month or so to cut a CD. It's all good.

[Posted at 09:55 CST on 12/29/02] [Link]

28 December 2002


I can safely say that my first trip to the Sidecar Pub was probably my last. Too small, too crowded, too smoky, too loud, too much bass, too damn far away.

That said, though, the Silverleaf guys have a pretty nice sound, especially considering this was their first gig. Now if we can just get them to come play someplace that isn't halfway to Austin, we'll be set.

Roadtrip to Gruene tomorrow for our more usual Americana/Texas musical fare.

[Posted at 00:42 CST on 12/28/02] [Link]

27 December 2002

Musical Weekend

Funny how my musical gripes of August have all pretty much worked themselves out with the approach of a New Year.

The major musical force behind the Groobees, Scott Melott, is starting to play more with his new band The Dead End Angels and should cut a CD early next year (wonder if Lloyd Maines will produce?). And they're doing an afternoon show at Gruene on Saturday, which I'm probably gonna have to roadtrip for.

And tonight, some of the former members of 24 Count put on the first show with their new band, Silverleaf, at the Sidecar Pub. Can't wait to see what those guys have worked up.

[Posted at 08:42 CST on 12/27/02] [Link]

26 December 2002


Go Pokes (I guess)

The Orange Brigade of Oklahoma State Cowboys fans descended upon the Galleria today.

As I was having lunch at my favorite Chinese spot in the mall today, I must have seen at least a hundred people of various ages proudly sporting bright orange OSU gear, including some Eskimo Joe's Houston Bowl stuff.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Here's hoping the Pokes put on a good show at Reliant tomorrow. I don't mind rooting for those guys (I just wish they would stop thumping on Bob Stoops about like he thumps on Mack Brown).

[Posted at 17:59 CST on 12/26/02] [Link]


Alex has worked up a great parody blog.

[Posted at 10:13 CST on 12/26/02] [Link]

25 December 2002

On The Move

It got down to five degrees last night in Pawhuska, OK. That is some kind of cold.

But not cold enough at the Quiktrip in Glenpool (hours later, 15 degrees warmer) to deter one man from heading out with two twelve-packs of cold Bud Light. I'm not sure if it was sad or amusing at noon on xmas.

The Cobra, we discovered, is (unsurprisingly) useless on the 8 inches of snow that was supposed to be "a light dusting on xmas eve." However when it all clears and we hit the road, it makes amazingly good time and is a good car for naps. Keep that in mind on the showroom floor.

And if you're passing through Dallas, as we are at the moment, and just can't get enough of the dance-style music they play at places like 24 Hour Fitness (and, I suppose, dance clubs, except I wouldn't really know), tune in to 106.7 FM. They play it, and it's locked in at the moment. And probably something I'm never going to hear at Gruene Hall. :)

Tired of typing. What kind of dork posts from a laptop in a cobra anyway? Err, um, rhetorical question. No emails please.

[Posted at 16:54 CST on 12/25/02] [Link]

23 December 2002


Just a few tidbits from Oklahoma (from a dialup connections *boo hoo*)

The Red Dirt Christmas at the Cain's rocked. Strangely, I think we all preferred the opening act (Stoney Larue) over the bigger names (Red Dirt Rangers, Jason Boland). And even though Oklahoma songwriter Bob Childers is a bit of a legend in these parts, it didn't really wow us. However, the people-watching was grand.

And of course, a big Thank You to our friends Dave and Melissa, who organized it all and let us crash at their place in Tulsa, in addition to providing some quality "Elephant Time" with their delightful Lauren. All good.

Seeing lots of family and friends this trip -- all day yesterday, in fact.

Planned trip to Bartlesville has been postponed due to the snow. The forecasts suggest we could get quite a lot of snow (the local weather people, who are very excited and also very prone to exaggerate such things) or a light dusting (the Weather Channel). Second xmas in the last three years that is seemingly going to be white.

Anyway, I hope all you peeps are enjoying your xmas, white or otherwise. Jo Jo Jo!

[Posted at 09:57 CST on 12/23/02] [Link]

21 December 2002


Okay, so I'm a geek....

Right before Thanksgiving, I picked up 3G pc interface kit for my laptop (since pulled by sprint, which can't decide exactly how it wants to market its network -- but I have my kit and am set) so I could take advantage of Sprint's new "higher speed" (a bit of a misnomer, since it's only higher relative to the old 14.4k) data network via my modem-capable LG 5350 phone. But since then, I've managed to get sick a couple of times and haven't actually roadtripped anywhere to make good use of it.

So this report is coming from I-45 as we're cruising along in the Cobra, and everything is working relatively well. Sprint's network is a little finicky, and vision really only wants to serve data when it's requested, going into sleep mode otherwise (easily fixed by running a ping -t command in a dos window -- I told you I was a geek!) -- but it works.

But, sadly, as has been the case for much of December, I really have little to say! More later perhaps. :)

[Posted at 10:44 CST on 12/21/02] [Link]

20 December 2002

Xmas Break

Off for Xmas in the morning....

We're roadtripping to Tulsa, where we are gonna catch up with my friend Dave and take in the Cain's Ballroom's Red Dirt Xmas show (featuring Bob Childers, Stoney Larue, the Red Dirt Rangers, and Jason Boland -- how's that for a lineup?!).

Sunday we'll finish the roadtrip to my parents.

There's probably won't be much posting here until after Xmas, unless I have some wild Oklahoma tales that just can't wait. :)

[Posted at 23:00 CST on 12/20/02] [Link]

19 December 2002

The Planned Community That Stole Christmas

I kind of like the fact that Houston doesn't have zoning, and that Montrose is one of the more eclectic neighborhoods that one can find.

It sure as hell beats some of the area's most celebrated master planned communities. *vomit*

[Posted at 22:07 CST on 12/19/02] [Link]

Light Posting

My friend Micah has rolled into town from out of the country, so posting will be limited here for a few days.... probably through xmas, actually.

A contributing factor to light posting is also the fact that I fried my wireless router's firmware doing a routine upgrade yesterday while rearranging a bunch of things (I've finally dumped evil Time Warner cable for DSL). The wireless router's under warranty and a replacement should be sent out today (go Linksys!), plus I had an old router that's working just fine in its place -- but still an annoyance.

[Posted at 06:41 CST on 12/19/02] [Link]

17 December 2002

The Party Of Calhoun?

With regard to the Impo-Trent mess, I had left a couple of comments over the left few days at RAWbservations and Off the Kuff hinting about John C. Calhoun and the nature of American conservatism and the GOP. And I had pretty much decided this morning that I should bang out a longer post on the topic (since I only hinted at the very strong connection between so many Southern paleos and the political theory of John C. Calhoun).

And what did I discover during my morning reading on NRO? A fine article by Mac Owens dealing with Trent Lott and the question of whether the GOP is the Party of Lincoln or Calhoun. He even gets in a dig at the Progressives (who were, at least in their rejection of natural right, the progeny of Calhoun), which makes me smile. It's a short article -- much too short for the topic, really -- but it definitely lays out the issues.

This is the sort of stuff that sent me to grad school.

[Posted at 21:28 CST on 12/17/02] [Link]

16 December 2002

All These Problems

Robert Novak tries to spin the Impo-Trent mess. The spin seems to be that: 1) Impo-Trent was just being festive at a feeble old man's birthday, and 2) Democrats are better about rallying around their morally corrupt.


I'm sorry, but it hardly makes it better that Impo-Trent didn't think anyone would pay attention to "offhand" comments at a feeble old fool's birthday party. In a way, isn't it worse to know that this is how Impo-Trent would behave in a relaxed, festive setting?

Because, as Paul Greenberg points out, his use of the term "all these problems" has a very definite meaning in the Old South.

Sorry, Novak, but it's more damning that Impo-Trent thinks in this manner in a relaxed setting.

Impo-Trent needs to go.

[Posted at 22:28 CST on 12/16/02] [Link]

No Left Turns

Good stuff on that clueless nitwit Dowdy Maureen from Robert Alt on the Ashbrook blog (which, no doubt, is already one of your regular stops).

And more from Steve Hayward on Lord Of The Rings.

[Posted at 22:11 CST on 12/16/02] [Link]


Of course there are pictures!
The Man Who Would (Not) Scale Williams Tower

I just saw something a bit out of the ordinary on the drive to work today:

There was a man scaling the Williams Tower. He was a little over a third of the way up, and starting to draw some spectators.

And if you're in the uptown/Galleria area and hear a big splat....

(Update) The climber fell to his death shortly after I posted earlier. (More)

[Posted at 07:42 CST on 12/16/02] [Link]

15 December 2002

The Gasbag

I've commented frequently on that old gasbag David Broder, affectionately referred to by D.C. types as "the dean," although I've tried to limit myself of late. But I had a good feeling as I started today's column, as "the dean" has finally gotten around to reading the speech Clinton gave earlier this month (who's in a hurry to read such things when your job is political commentary, right?) -- and boy, is he just wee-weeing all over himself!

Here's my favorite part:

Clinton bluntly says Democrats should stop defending the status quo and instead consider changes that would "increase the rate of return" on Social Security. They could follow the model of the government employees' retirement system (as long-championed by some conservative think tanks) and give people the option, "with 1 or 2 percent of the payroll tax," to invest in one of three mutual funds "that almost always perform as well or better than the market," while at the same time permitting cautious investors the option of buying government bonds, so they could "get the guaranteed Social Security return and 100 percent safety."

That was one of the possible changes recommended last year by a presidential commission co-chaired by former Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. But few Democrats have embraced the idea or buckled down to the task of figuring out how to finance the transition to that new system without reducing benefits to those either on Social Security or soon to join its ranks. So they have left the door open for Republicans to champion a reform that is attractive to many younger workers.

Isn't that great?!

I mean, it wasn't as if Bill Clinton were President for 8 years or so, and could have established his legacy by enacting social security reform even half as sweeping as what is being proposed here (and most likely with bipartisan support), was it? Naahhh, surely not.

But how nice of The Gasbag to suggest that Democrats have "left the door open" for Republicans on this issue! It's not as if the GOP and non-liberal think-tanks like Heritage and Cato have been advocating some form of social security privatization for many years, is it? Naahhh.... surely not.

Dean... Gasbag... whatever.

[Posted at 23:01 CST on 12/15/02] [Link]

Campo The Clown

Campo the Clown
Cowboys CoachEntertainer Dave Campo

Ah, Dave, we're gonna miss your ability to provide laughs next year!

See, Dave Campo spent the entire week trying to explain his decision to attempt a field goal on 4th and 1 in last week's game, from a long distance with a shaky kicker with a defense that was fairly well gassed. Most pundits agreed he should have gone for it. He didn't, the 49ers got the ball back, and scored the winning TD with time running out.

So on the Cowboys second drive this week, they have 4th and 3 just outside field goal range, trailing the Giants on a really muddy field. Campo decides to GO FOR IT instead of punting. The Giants blitz, hit the Dallas QB, cause a fumble, and return the fumble all the way for a touchdown.

Campo has an uncanny ability to make the wrong decision. Why in the world would he go for it this week on a longer distance, when he wouldn't last week when circumstances fairly well dictated that he do it? Because Campo's brain is still on last week's game, and all the criticism he got from media (and the owner).

I have to agree with McClain after watching the game so far today: Campo's history after the season.

(Update) The first quarter hasn't even ended, and the Cowboys are trailing 21-0! Will Campo get fired at halftime? That's the only reason to keep watching if you're a Cowboys fan!

(Update 2) Tim Cowlishaw suggests Jerry Jones should fire the personnel guy. No argument here.

[Posted at 15:40 CST on 12/15/02] [Link]

Past Time To Take His Hair Spray Away

Is there any better example of why Impo-Trent must go as Majority Leader than the threats coming from his staff (which he, of course, distances himself from -- neat, huh?!) that if he is removed as leader, he will step down from the Senate and let a Democrat governor appoint a replacement?

It's all about taking care of the frat-boy to Impo-Trent, rather than the good of his party or the President's agenda or the country.

THAT is precisely why he must go -- on his own if that can be engineered, and with some help if not.

His comments and apologies were so remarkably stupid and ill-considered that there is simply no rehabilitating him as majority leader. He must go. If the GOP loses a Senate seat along the way, that's one of the costs of maintaining a principled Party of Lincoln that is not compromised by majority leaders who can no longer lead effectively because they've said extraordinarily stupid things.

Why the guy was ever retained after the GOP lost the majority in the first place should be the question we're asking ourselves, not whether he should go now.

[Posted at 10:58 CST on 12/15/02] [Link]

Comical Sports Coverage

There's really not enough time to spotlight (lowlight?) all the bad writing in the Comical, but Dale Robertson is a consistent performer:

"Sometimes the hardest challenges are easier than the more difficult ones," Pine said Yao said. "When you face more difficult challenges, there is the possibility to fail."

Gosh, sounds sort of like Confucius. Or maybe just confusion.

That's so bad, you would think it had been penned by Fran Blinebury in a drunken stupor. Ah well. That's our Comical sports page.

Meanwhile, Ray Buck has done an interesting piece on Gene Stallings (one of Bear Bryant's original "Junction Boys") for the Star-Telegram. I love Houston, but DFW just has much stronger sports coverage.

[Posted at 10:43 CST on 12/15/02] [Link]

14 December 2002


The Comical's John McClain says that after the season, Jerry Jones will fire the hapless Dave Campo (who increasingly resembles a circus clown running around on the Cowboys sideline).

I hope he's right, but I'm not sure that it will matter that much. Still, it's fun to speculate on the possible replacements:

Elevating OC Bruce Coslet to head coach would be rewarding a guy whose offense has been a big part of the problem this year, not to mention his less-than-stellar record as a head coach in the league.

Hiring Norv Turner (currently Miami's OC) as head coach would probably mean the end of Coslet and yet another change in offensive systems, when the Cowboys desperately need some continuity.

Elevating Joe Avezzano would be rewarding a guy whose special teams have been anything but special this year, and who seems better suited to remaining the head coach of the Dallas Arena Football team.

Elevating DC Mike Zimmer might make some sense five years from now, but Zimmer doesn't seem to have the seasoning or temperament at the moment.

Bob Stoops? Yeah, right. He has a much better job already.

Mike Holmgren? If Seattle fires him after his fairly disappointing run there, Jerry will go after the guy hard. And it would be a great hire if he could pull it off. Notice all the IFs there.

Houston Nutt? Actually, that's another real possibility given Jerry's ties to the alma mater...

Denni$ Franchione? Not gonna happen because Jerry doesn't believe in paying his head coach significant cash, but wouldn't it be a hoot if Jerry waved enough money to make the man bolt before even moving into his new office in College Station?

Marvin Lewis? There will be some pressure from the league to go this way, but if the guy frets over whether or not to take the Michigan State job forever before deciding not to, is he really the sort of decisive coach Jerry wants? Besides, he's a Redskin.

[Posted at 23:36 CST on 12/14/02] [Link]


Twice yesterday, and again this morning, I've received a collect call request via Southwestern Bell. The party requesting the collect call is only identified by a computer voice as "a Harris County jail inmate."

Of course I've declined the call, but that's just damn weird. Wasn't there some scam like this going around some years ago, where people were trying to make long-distance calls somehow?

(Update) Ahh, Nydia Han and Channel 13 have me covered on this one. I guess the local news IS good for something. :)

[Posted at 10:15 CST on 12/14/02] [Link]

13 December 2002


The Catholic Geritocracy

Maybe Strom should join them?

[Posted at 22:36 CST on 12/13/02] [Link]


The old American Spectator guys may have wrecked a fine magazine with their Clinton obsession, but the guys still crank out some saucy prose on occasion:

The tragedy is that Lott's deviant utterings have turned attention from the campaign to feminize August National. For naught, it would seem, did Treasury secretary designate John Snow resign from the exclusive golf club in order to improve his confirmation chances. There was suspicion that faced with the prospect of earning a government salary Mr. Snow would no longer be able to afford August's steep green fees. But now it appears there was more to this profile in cowardice than first suspected. Mr. Snow is guilty of activity even more reprehensible than sex discrimination -- age discrimination. In abandoning his Augusta colleagues, he was traducing on the reputation of a membership most of which is in its seventies, eighties and nineties. One would think Strom Thurmond would feel right at home here if asked to join, but think again. Who'd be there for him to squeeze? As one of his lackeys might say, if Augusta had accepted women, it wouldn't be in the mess it's in today.
There's more good stuff in this week's Enemy Central.

[Posted at 21:47 CST on 12/13/02] [Link]

Jimmy v. Impo-Trent In The Hair-Off

Impo-Trent's Hair Looks Like A Helmet Jimmy Appears To Use PolyUrethane On His Dome

So, I wonder which one has the more stout hair, Jimmy Johnson or Impo-Trent?

And how would one test such a thing?

I guess you could do a flammability test (I'm sure their hair is tougher than asbestos)?

Or maybe use a mallot and some sort of device to measure force applied?

Or maybe a spray test of some sort -- say with a fire hose?

[Posted at 20:04 CST on 12/13/02] [Link]

Impo-Trent's Press Conference

As I'm watching Impo-Trent's press conference, I'm trying to recall if I've ever seen a genuine moment from the man.

Certainly today his act and demeanor have been as carefully sprayed as his hair -- and still about as empty.

What a disgrace to the Party of Lincoln.

(Update) NRO's Corner is not impressed either. Start here and scroll up.

[Posted at 16:58 CST on 12/13/02] [Link]

Lott and Pickering

Every day that Impo-Trent remains Majority Leader further jeopardizes the Bush political agenda.

When will he step down?

[Posted at 08:44 CST on 12/13/02] [Link]

12 December 2002


Some people hate these sorts of posts.

Not me. I like to see the human behind the blogs I read all the time.

Especially 9 year anniversaries of important decisions.

[Posted at 22:33 CST on 12/12/02] [Link]

Herbert Hysterics

I know it's in the interest of liberals and Democrats for the Party of Lincoln to be regarded as the Party of Racists and Other Bad People, but this bit by Bob Herbert is almost as far out of line as Impo-Trent's comments:

But Mr. Lott is not the only culprit here. The Republican Party has become a haven for white racist attitudes and anti-black policies. The party of Lincoln is now a safe house for bigotry. It's the party of the Southern strategies and the Willie Horton campaigns and Bob Jones University and the relentless and unconscionable efforts to disenfranchise black voters. For those who now think the Democratic Party is not racist enough, the answer is the G.O.P. And there are precious few voices anywhere in the G.O.P. willing to step up and say that this is wrong.
That's just not true, and it's racist political hyperbole of the worst sort.

The most strident denunciations of Trent Lott have actually come from conservatives, some of which I've gathered and linked to here.

Impo-Trent does need to resign as majority leader, to be sure, and these sorts of charges are going to attach to every issue leading through 2004 at the very least if Impo-Trent remains (probably even if he steps down, although it's harder to make these charges stick to President Bush).

It's still rather unbelievable to me that Impo-Trent has managed to put his party in full retreat in early December after such an impressive electoral showing in early November.

[Posted at 22:16 CST on 12/12/02] [Link]

More Impo-Trent

You take your chances, I guess, when you elect a frat-boy cheerleader type as your majority leader.

It's even worse when the frat-boy comes under fire for inexcusable racist remarks, and it turns out he worked to keep blacks out of his fraternity back in his college days.

Why in the world is this guy still majority leader?

I would not mind seeing him resign his Senate seat altogether, but he simply MUST GO as a national leader of the GOP.

President Bush had a chance after the last elections to push through parts of his agenda, despite holding only very slim majorities in both Houses, and Bush has even revamped his economic team in preparation (despite his famous sense of loyalty). And now Impo-Trent has gone and done something so unbelievably stupid that Bush's agenda is now in jeopardy.

President Bush blasted him today, but stopped short of calling for his resignation. That doesn't need to be seen as orchestrated by the White House. That needs to be seen as Impo-Trent facing up to the damage he has done to the Party of Lincoln with his stupidity, and steeping down all on his own.

And it needs to happen. Soon. This story is derailing the President's agenda, and hurting the Party of Lincoln. Badly.

[Posted at 17:39 CST on 12/12/02] [Link]

How Things Work (In Houston Democrat Politics)

City Council failed to kill the controversial SimDesk program yesterday, as Carroll Robinson backtracked on an earlier pledge:

Opponents of the contract were expecting Councilman Carroll Robinson, who said two weeks ago he would vote to kill it, to side with them. He cast the eighth -- and decisive -- vote Wednesday that saved the deal.

Robinson would not say why he changed his mind.

Brown, who met with Robinson two days before the vote, said Wednesday each council member had to vote his own conscience.

"Council members should always be cautious when they stake out a position, especially when you make a strong statement on anything," said Councilwoman Annise Parker. "The public should know why he reversed."

Please, Councilwoman Parker. We know exactly why Robinson reversed, and it's the same reason Chris Bell (now Congressman Chris Bell) endorsed Mayor Pothole in the last runoff after blasting him for the entire year prior: future political viability. Robinson is an ambitious young politician with a future, and I'm sure Mayor Pothole explained to him that crossing a fellow Democrat and brother on such a "minor" matter would have significant political ramifications down the line.

That's how it works in Houston. No further explanation necessary, Councilwoman Parker.

[Posted at 06:26 CST on 12/12/02] [Link]

11 December 2002

Give Me A Break

Coaching Michigan State is an excellent D-1 college football gig. Sure, they're the #2 team in their own state, but they've got facilities, a great conference, and can compete with anyone.

They shouldn't be begging Marvin Lewis to take their job. If the man doesn't want it, there are PLENTY of coaches who do, and who will do a good job. And they won't cost Michigan State $1.5M per and still end up bolting for the NFL in two years.

[Posted at 22:19 CST on 12/11/02] [Link]

Things That Make Me Feel Sicker

Oh great.

Now Jesse Helms is defending Impo-Trent.

That will certainly be useful.

[Posted at 20:06 CST on 12/11/02] [Link]

10 December 2002

Germ Magnet

So until Thanksgiving I hadn't been sick in something like a year and a half.

Now I've caught my second cold in the last couple of weeks. Blar.

Go away, all you damn germy people! Or spray yourself with Lysol. Or something. :)

It's been a good excuse to ride the couch this evening, and watch the Rockets. And I officially take back every doubt I have ever expressed about Yao Ming. This guy has just been tremendous tonight, and really since he's become a starter. He has such a grasp of every fundamental aspect of the game (positioning, passing, rebounds, angles). And oh yeah, he's damn near 8 foot tall, and surprisingly quick for a big man. The Rockets have something going.

[Posted at 21:41 CST on 12/10/02] [Link]

09 December 2002

Texas Gigs

For ages, I've been meaning to plug Cindy Chaffrin's (you know -- the better half. *smile*) Texas Gigs site, but... well... I'm senile at the age of 32.

Anyway, I visit the site plenty, and if you're at all interested in the Texas music scene (like Alex, I've gotta have 2-3 readers who are), make it a regular stop.

Speaking of Alex, he's keeping track of that Houston East End Vigilantes story. Living in Houston can really be strange at times (or as a certain political philosophy prof of mine once announced, "if you can imagine it, it's probably happening in Houston right now. Perhaps even in the library").

[Posted at 22:49 CST on 12/09/02] [Link]

John W. Who?

One would think that markets would react well to the dismissal of the bumbling Paul O'Neill as Treasury Secretary.

But then, one might also have thought President Bush (and Vice-President Cheney, who led the search for the replacement -- and, according to Robert Novak, was instrumental, along with Alan Greenspan, in O'Neill's appointment in the first place) might have learned from the way markets regarded their first Treasury Secretary, who had no real ties to Wall Street. Instead, we get John W. Snow?

And markets quickly went into the crapper today.

Yeah, yeah -- they may not have been reacting entirely (or at all) to Snow. But he certainly didn't generate any excitement (as a Bill Archer or Phil Gramm or Wayne Angell certainly would have). One can only hope the Administration's new economic team can, at some point, begin to function with some success, even if it's too much to hope that they will emulate the foreign policy team. Otherwise, it's liable to start looking like Bush the elder....

(Update) James Glassman pushes Alan Greenspan for Treasury Secretary. Glassman's right about lots of stuff, but if we are to believe Novak in the piece cited above, Greenspan has already exerted way too much influence over Treasury. I don't know that Snow is the guy, but it would be nice to have have a solid-money, supply-side advocate at Treasury who would, at the very least, not contradict the President or engage in lectures on environmentalism. On the supply-side front, Greenspan just isn't the right fit.

(12-10-02 Update) Kudlow says Snow gets some decent reviews from supply-side types.

[Posted at 20:48 CST on 12/09/02] [Link]


As a sensible (?) conservative, am I obliged to denounce Trent Lott's latest stupidity?

I mean, I'm obviously no fan of the guy. There are multiple instances on this site of my referring to him as Impo-Trent, in reference to his rather uninspiring leadership of GOP Senators.

But the sad thing is, I don't really think Impo-Trent is a racist. I think he just has an unfortunate tendency to say and do really stupid things. (Jonah Goldberg notes the same tendency here and here. The Caddyshack reference is especially funny, because it's so easy to imagine. That, or Impo-Trent announcing to the frat the he's tapped the keg *shrug*).

But yes, he makes all Republicans look bad, and I've long thought he should be booted from the Senate leadership. When you put a frat-boy cheerleader type in an important position, you should not be surprised when really stupid things come flying out of his pie hole. Or worse, the comments he made when they were honoring that dead guy (it's all a hoax you see -- Strom's been dead for a while, but damnit, we need that vote). Inexcusable morally and politically.

Impo-Trent needs to go away now.

(10-12-02 Update) It seems Impo-Trent has quite a romantic view indeed of the Old South (which, as part of the package, includes some abhorrent thoughts on race). The GOP needs to ditch him.

[Posted at 20:43 CST on 12/09/02] [Link]

08 December 2002


I nearly forgot to link to the 2002 All Big 12 football selections.

And where is Chris Simms? First-team QB? Umm, not quite. Second team? Err, no. Third-team? Yeah -- but tied with K-State's Ell Roberson.

Kind of makes me think that Texas Monthly should probably stick to whatever it does well, and leave football alone. And Mack Brown and Phil Simms can quit telling us that their boy is/was one of the best QBs in the country.

[Posted at 18:04 CST on 12/08/02] [Link]

Randy Rogers

Callie has some comments on the busy night last night, including the Randy Rogers show.

We didn't expect to get out of Reliant in time to catch Randy at the Firehouse, but both teams ran the ball so much that the game fairly well flew. We got to the Firehouse in time to see the tail end of the opening band (and an annoying Elvis impersonator).

I've seen Randy Rogers 3 times now -- the other two times being unusual venues (a Texans pre-game, and Greek Bros restaurant). He definitely had a more serious musical crowd last night, and he really seemed to play off it. I dont' think I've ever seen the guy look happy before while playing. But why wouldn't he look happy? He had a busy venue (busier than for The Great Divide a few weeks ago), fans who knew his music, and a tight sounding band backing his great vocals.

I'm listening to his Live At Cheatham Street Warehouse cd at the moment, which I picked up at the show last night, and it's just amazing how much better he's gotten since cutting that early (almost demo) cd. Texas music fans really ought to own a copy of his followup CD, (produced by one of our favorites, Scott Melott). It's just a shame we didn't manage to record a bootleg of the show. Not sure if this is a regular thing because we haven't managed to see Randy regularly, but he did a mean, mean version of the song "Dallas" written by Jimmie Dale Gilmore and popularized by Joe Ely, really showcasing the band.

It's so rare to find a good songwriter who also features a hot, tight band. If the crowd at the Firehouse was any indication, he's starting to become a little better known. I hope he continue to build his audience, because it's some good stuff -- and a whole lot better than some of the "Bock-Drinking" Texas music (I love that term, but it's not mine) being produced by so many bands. Not that Randy's stuff isn't good for pounding down a few Bocks, as I can verify from last night. :)

[Posted at 17:27 CST on 12/08/02] [Link]

Big 12 Wrap: Championship

Oklahoma 29, Colorado 7
Colorado normally beats teams with a physical running game that wears out its opponents by the fourth quarter. But it was Oklahoma that employed the Colorado game plan, running the ball 56 times for 287 yards and using a short passing game (114 yards total, 14/25) to convert key third downs and keep up the pounding. By the fourth quarter, Colorado was gased, and Oklahoma and Quentin Griffin (188 yards) ran away with it. Colorado tried to employ parts of the A&M and Oklahoma State game plans that worked so well against Oklahoma, but seemed out of sync all night, and the effort may have hurt more than it helped.

It was interesting being at Reliant for a non-Texans game, and it made me realize just how good our Texans fans are. For one thing, there were lots of no-shows. We were able to go to the game courtesy of a UT fan who gave our friend tickets purchased much earlier in the year. It looked like a lot of UT fans just ate those tickets. Paid attendance was 65,000 (roughly), but it was probably more like 55,000 in the seats. That's not to say OU fans didn't do their part -- I would guess 45,000 or so of the fans were clad in Crimson. The Colorado fans didn't travel well at all, and that's a big reason the stadium wasn't full.

The OU fans were not as rowdy as I expected. When the Texans are playing defense in Reliant, that place is LOUD. The Sooner fans had their moments last night, I suppose, but I was shocked to see so many people just hanging out and chatting in the concourses during the second half. It seemed to be more of a social event than a championship game for a lot of Sooner fans, despite the fact that Colorado made it a game at one point in the second half. And there should have been a lot more cheering for that dominant defense, especially at some critical points. Not that I didn't do my part. :)

In any case, I enjoyed the experience. But it's a little disappointing that the Big 12 can't figure out some way to make sure its championship game is a packed house. I think the Big 12 is the best college football conference in the country, and its championship game should be a big deal.

(Update) Cathy has comments, AND photos!

[Posted at 16:11 CST on 12/08/02] [Link]

07 December 2002

Boomer Sooner

Off to Reliant to catch the Sooners!

Buffalo burgers sound excellent tonight....

[Posted at 17:33 CST on 12/07/02] [Link]

06 December 2002


Robb Walsh has pointed me to some really good food in Houston, though it's not usually the higher end restaurants that I hit (i.e. Walsh turned me onto Rudz burgers, Iranian kabobs, and good italian subs from a chain).

But I get a sort of perverse joy out of reading his reviews of overly pretentious and really horrible restaurants in town.

This is just devastating:

When it was over, we sat back and had a look around at the restaurant's new decor, which isn't all that different from the old decor. The Asian minimalism of Ling & Javier has simply been accented with Western-looking artifacts.

I asked my date how she would describe the look. "Cowboy minimalism," she snickered. With its naked steaks, underseasoned entr�es and overpriced side dishes, that's not a bad description of the food, either.


[Posted at 23:47 CST on 12/06/02] [Link]

Connelly On The Comical

Richard Connelly's onto that infamous anti-rail memo that was inadvertently posted to the Houston Comical's website on 20 November (and noted by various local bloggers).

Interestingly, it seems that Connelly actually got Comical editor (oh, that title is appropriate on so many levels!) Jeff Cohen to comment:

Chronicle editor Jeff Cohen says the memo was a "story pitch" outlining one person's view of topics that should be explored as the rail debate heats up.

"It's no different than what the Houston Press would do as it was contemplating a series," he says. "I make no apologies for having a thorough discussion of the issue. We have nothing to apologize for�There was an inadvertent posting of it to the Web site, and I'm sorry about that, but I make no apologies for the contents of it."

Wow. He deigns to talk to a Press writer. I know it's cold in Houston this week, but THAT may be evidence that it's colder than I thought.

[Posted at 23:42 CST on 12/06/02] [Link]

Wayne Angell

The news that Wayne Angell is being consulted on the openings at Treasury and NEC is excellent.

It would be even better news if Angell were tapped to head Treasury, but that's probably wishful thinking on my part.

[Posted at 22:49 CST on 12/06/02] [Link]

Coach Fran

New Texas A$M coach Fran

Some Sooner fans are having a lot of fun with the Dennis Franchione stuff.


Ivan Maisel has a pretty good article on the Fran/A$M spectacle also.

(Update) I love this:

"People are trying to make something out of this, but, believe me, we're not clairvoyant. We were just trying to think ahead."
Ah yes, big projects to occupy the big minds at A$M.

[Posted at 22:28 CST on 12/06/02] [Link]

Big 12 Championship

Readers here know that I'm a nut about Big 12 Football, and a nut about Oklahoma Sooner football.

But I wasn't planning on going to the Big 12 championship game featuring Oklahoma and Colorado just down Kirby at Reliant. I figured I'd save the cash and the parking hassle and just catch the game on television.

Well, until Cathy came up with four free tickets to the game. It turns out her boss is a big UT fan, and wasn't able to sell them on e-bay after UT fell out of the Big 12 South race. So she has 'em. And she, John, Callie, and I are headed to Reliant to cheer for the Sooners tomorrow. For free.


[Posted at 22:06 CST on 12/06/02] [Link]


You non-Houstonians getting hit by really nasty winter weather probably won't have much sympathy, but this morning was notable in Houston: for the first time this year, I actually had frost on my windshield.


[Posted at 07:32 CST on 12/06/02] [Link]

05 December 2002


Texas A&M seems to have Dennis Franchione all locked up to be head coach.

And I'm more than a little amused, for many reasons. First, did we ever really believe Fran a few weeks ago when he refused all comment on A&M's "current coach," whom he really respected? And are we really supposed to take the Ags seriously when they whoop it up (or is it gigging 'em? I sometimes forget) about their "tradition" when they've just replaced a multi-decade Aggie and the most successful coach they've ever had with a guy who skips along to a new program and a bigger paycheck every 2-3 years? And really, as good a coach as Franchione may be (and I think he's pretty good), are we really supposed to believe that a details-oriented, defensive-minded coach is going to get A&M over the hump to a national championship (you know, the same hump that the last details-oriented, defensive-minded coach couldn't)? These are things that have me smiling as I think about the goings on in College Station.

As an OU fan, I'm actually a little relieved it's Fran. I don't think of him as a huge upgrade over Slocum, frankly, and the thought of Mike Stoops being in charge of that program scared the hell out of me.

But we shall see. That's why this is a fun time of year.

[Posted at 18:20 CST on 12/05/02] [Link]

UH Coach

So, UH seems to have a new head coach ready to go, and it's Art Briles (and once again, Berman of Fox 26 scooped everyone).

I love this quote in the Houston Comical:

Financial terms were not available Thursday. A source familiar with the situation said, "They will be somewhat less than Dennis Franchione will be getting at Texas A&M."
Gee, ya think? Jerry Wizig is a doofus.

Briles may turn out to be a great hire, but it's a huge gamble hiring someone with no more experience at the college level. I hope it works out. It's a pretty strong statement of just how far things have fallen at UH that position coaches with good Texas high school ties wind up getting a shot as head coach (although I have to say, setting a high school record with 8,560 yards of total offense in a season is pretty damn impressive stuff!).

And yes, Jerry, making considerably less money than a proven D 1-A head coach hired by A&M from one of the most successful programs in the history of college football (where does the Comical find these clowns?!).

(12-06-02 Update) The quote above has been changed from "said" to "jokingly said" in a later story. I guess that's proof that there are editors at the Comical (a question we ask frequently). But Jerry Wizig is still a doofus.

(12-06-02 Update 2) Hmm... as I reread this post, it sounds a lot more pessimistic than I meant. I really do like the Briles hire for UH, and I think he has great potential and is unlikely to bolt at the first opportunity. This wouldn't be a good hire by UT or OU standards, but for where UH is at this point in time, I think it's as good as one could hope -- an energetic, positive guy who's innovative and who will recruit the hell out of Texas, but who isn't so experienced that really big-time schools crowded out UH in obtaining his services. I'll be out to watch some UH games next year for sure (unlike this year).

[Posted at 17:43 CST on 12/05/02] [Link]

04 December 2002

New Blogs

The web just keeps getting smarter, and I'm surely not the only one who has trouble keeping up. Lately, I've been spending less and less time with blogs and more time sifting through all the great journals and webzines and newspapers available online. But here are a couple of smart blogs I've just run across:

Giants and Dwarfs (very smart blog! love the name as well)


Blog of a Bookslut (the blog is only a small part of a nicely conceived site)

[Posted at 22:36 CST on 12/04/02] [Link]

03 December 2002

Jaffa v. Mansfield

I don't usually cross-post here and to Reductio, but this essay by Tom West is well worth reading by anyone with a passion for American political thought and American constitutionalism.

It originally appeared in Perspectives On Political Science, which really ought to have an online presence.

[Posted at 22:43 CST on 12/03/02] [Link]

Coaching Train Wreck?

Won't it suck if A&M fired the most successful coach in their history with dreams of luring Dennis Franchione to College Station, only to have Fran use their opening as leverage for a better deal at 'Bama?

Oh you Aggies, are you starting to wonder what you have done?

I am.

Meanwhile, my friend Dave informs me that Rex Ryan is on a list of coaches with possible interest in the Tulsa job. I'd like to see Ryan on that same list for UH, but alas, I've not heard his name mentioned once.

[Posted at 22:10 CST on 12/03/02] [Link]


Okay, I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Callie... wouldn't it have been great if an x-ray or MRI machine or some other piece of VERY HEAVY equipment had fallen on Kim Bauer in the hospital so we could be DONE WITH THAT RETARDED STORY LINE ONCE AND FOR ALL?

[Posted at 21:00 CST on 12/03/02] [Link]

02 December 2002

Aggie Thoughts

Please tell me the Houston Comical didn't really just print this:

A source who has spoken with someone familiar with the situation told the Chronicle late Monday night that he has been told it's a done deal and it has been a done deal for a couple of weeks.

I guess I should be happy that Jerome Solomon gave credit (I guess?) instead of just ripping off another newspaper.

But really, that's BAD journalism. Someone told someone who might know that this was the case?!

On the other hand, the Comical's John Lopez has a pretty good observation on the difficulties of recruiting athletes to Texas A&M:

Slocum also could do nothing about a hidden hurdle in building a power. At Texas, Oklahoma and virtually every other Big 12 school, a general studies degree program that allows players with grade-point averages lower than what might get them into, say, business or political science school, is in place.

At A&M, incoming freshmen who might qualify for entrance into the university but not for specific degree programs must enter the agricultural college. In recent years, several recruits have slipped through Slocum's fingers at the last moment because of the academic hurdle.

As one competing coach once told a recruit, "Why do you want to go to A&M? You're just going to go gut chickens."

For some reason, Aggies have blinders when it comes to their institution. Because of R.C. Slocum's hard work into turning a cheating program without a great winning tradition into an honorable, winning program, they seem to think that College Station is akin to Notre Dame, a place where all great athletes should simply want to go.

It isn't, and they shouldn't take it for granted.


Because it wasn't that long ago when Oklahoma Sooner fans were just as fed up with Gary Gibbs. He couldn't beat the big rivals (Texas, Nebraska, and Colorado). He had four-loss seasons (never mind the reduced scholarships thanks to Switzer's outlaw years). His recruiting wasn't as good as Barry Switzer's had been (never mind the relative decline of Oklahoma's facilities and the aforementioned probation). So they axed him. And Sooner fans cheered. Until midway through the next season, when Schnelly's alleged sideline drinking and nearly killing a player and, yes, the 5-5-1 record (with the same losses to Nebraska and Colorado), weren't exactly highlights. And then came John Blake. Oh dear.

I hope for their sake the Aggies have a better plan than the equivalent of Drunkenberger or Big John. Because they just fired the biggest winner they've ever had.

[Posted at 23:23 CST on 12/02/02] [Link]

Send Me The 400 Books!

I'll bet Orrin would have finished all 400 books.

But then, he's not a weenie like Michael Kinsley.

[Posted at 21:13 CST on 12/02/02] [Link]

Big 12 Wrap: Week 15

Last Week's Wrap

It's been an amazing Big 12 season, which makes it sort of a shame that none of the games this weekend mattered at all in terms of the conference championship game, which participants were decided a week ago. That's not to say these games were irrelevant -- just ask Bob Stoops about his 0-2 record against Les Miles and watch his jaw tighten. Without further delay, here's my take on the last week of Big 12 football this year.

Oklahoma State 38, Oklahoma 28
Les Miles holds the only 2-0 record in college football against Bob Stoops, and if some people thought last year's close Oklahoma State victory in Norman was a fluke, the Cowboys served notice in this game that the Stoops brothers need to stop making their plans for the Big 12 title game and take their in-state rivals seriously. OSU dominated from the first play, and the game wasn't nearly as close as the score suggests. Just two questions: 1) Why is Les Miles one of the lowest paid coaches in the Big 12? 2) Why isn't Rashaun Woods getting more props (from sources more prominent than here, of course, since we've been noting his play all season) as the best receiver in the nation?

Colorado 28, Nebraska 13
Colorado controlled this game throughout, as Nebraska hardly looked like the college football powerhouse built by Tom Osborne. Indeed, they were plagued by the same problems in this game that they've had all year: inability to control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball, inability to run the football like Nebraska teams of the past (leading to reliance on a passing game that is non-existent), and below-average defense. If Frank Solich returns next year, look for turnover on the coaching staff (at least a new defensive coordinator, and possibly an offensive coordinator to take over duties also held by Solich). Colorado is off for its desired grudge rematch with OU in the Big 12 title game, but Kansas State was the best team in the North by the end of the season.

Texas 50, Texas A&M 20
Chris Simms may have had his finest game as a Longhorn in this, his final home game. His numbers weren't gaudy, but his passing won the game for the horns, who again averaged only 2.6 yards per carry on the ground. But that's no surprise -- Simms always performs well when there isn't much pressure. Ditto Roy Williams, who also had himself a nice game (but was nowhere to be found in the OU loss). The Aggies killed themselves with turnovers, and have to hope their 6-6 record is good enough for a bowl bid. It may not be enough to save R.C. Slocum's job, and Mack Brown may be forced to shake up his offensive staff after what can only be considered a disappointing season from that group.

(Update) Just heard on AM 610: R.C. Slocum is out at Texas A&M, which will be announced at 5 PM, and Nebraska Coach Frank Solich announced that Craig Bohl will not be retained as Defensive Coordinator and Solich will be relinquishing duties as Offensive Coordinator. ESPN still doesn't have either on its website as of 4:45. Advantage: me. :)

[Posted at 15:25 CST on 12/02/02] [Link]


We're back in Houston.

Rolled in late last night, actually.

The Crows show in St. Louis was aborted, as we both wound up sick over Thanksgiving. So lots of football and food and rest at my parents this time.

Which was good. Aside from the sick part.

A Big 12 Wrap and some other stuff to follow later, but must go hunt cold meds at the moment (one last vacation day for me, spent sick. Woo hoo!).

[Posted at 10:39 CST on 12/02/02] [Link]

Movable Type

If you can read this, your browser does not fully comply with standards. You can still view the site via the navigation bar below.

Reductio (old) | Journal | Glossary | Search | Bio | Photos | Disclaimer