JOURNAL: Current | Archives

31 March 2003


I couldn't get very interested in Max Stalling at the Firehouse a few nights ago.

But I guess I just wasn't being philosophical enough.

Because as William Michael Smith puts it,

On the strength of Wide Afternoon, Stalling has already been described as Hank Williams meets Albert Camus. While that seems like a made-to-order blurb, in the 35-year-old Stalling's case it just may apply. Not bad for an Aggie food science major with minimal education in literature and none in French.
Hmm. Maybe that was the problem. I prefer to get my philosophy from the classics, and my music from Texas country artists. I don't expect Nietzsche to supply me with music, and I don't look to Aggie food science majors to enlighten me philosophically.

Surely Max Stalling doesn't take himself all THAT seriously, and it's just William Michael Smith getting awfully carried away. Because this reads like something from an overly eager grad student.

[Posted at 22:06 CST on 03/31/03] [Link]

The Pappas Syndicate

The Pappas family seems to be discovering that the methods that have made their overhyped and overpriced Pappadeaux and Pappasitos restaurants so successful aren't as appealing to the old folks who frequent Luby's.

Interesting that they plan to downsize to their "core Texas markets." Should we read that as code for, "locate in markets where we have proven we know how to exploit illegal labor?"

Ouch. I can't believe I just wrote that.

[Posted at 21:10 CST on 03/31/03] [Link]

30 March 2003

Cold Turkey

Mr. Whitlock has just posted a journal of his effort (thus far) to quit smoking the cancer sticks. Go give him some encouragement!

[Posted at 15:50 CST on 03/30/03] [Link]

Ruminations On DEA, Magnolia, and Low-Carb "Beer"

The Dead End Angels put on an excellent show (no surprise) at Big Daddy's Bar and Grill in Magnolia last night.

Despite their breaking down on the way and having to replace a hose in the van. The show must go on, after all!

The crowd was good, and seemed to get into this new band that few of them probably have heard yet. And the guys seemed to sell a fair bit of merchandise, even though their debut CD is still a few weeks ago. Very cool. I hope this venue becomes a fairly regular stop outside of their Austin/New Braunfels/Gruene home base.

And a big thanks to Scott for chatting with us and being the all-around good guy that he is!

The only mistake of the evening was my trying one of those low-carb Michelob Ultra beers. The first one wasn't half bad. The second one was more than half bad, and even worse, ruined the taste of my food. Awful awful awful beverage. I switched to a Shiner, but couldn't shake the awful Ultra aftertaste. By the end of the evening, it was Diet Coke. Even worse, the beer didn't set well all night long.

My advice: Do not drink Michelob Ultra. Anything that nasty and vile does not deserve the name beer.

[Posted at 15:06 CST on 03/30/03] [Link]

29 March 2003

I Am A Crook

It's good to see that HPD's finest are not beyond engaging in kidnapping.

So we have convicted felons in HISD claiming not to be crooks, and people charged with nabbing crooks engaged in kidnapping.


Lee Brown's America is, as they might say in a social science textbook, a complicated mosaic.

[Posted at 15:07 CST on 03/29/03] [Link]

I Am Not A Crook

There is much that is disturbing about this story in the Comical, but this is perhaps my favorite part:

The probe marks at least the second investigation involving Shelvin. In 2001, she pleaded guilty to a felony, illegally acting as a voter agent. She had filled out voters registration cards using parents' names and Social Security numbers as a part of a social legislation class she was taking at Texas Southern University. She paid a $500 fine and was fired from the district Oct. 5, 2001.

Shelvin appealed her termination and was reinstated Oct. 11, 2001, because the charge did not endanger children, according to a letter from Chief Business Officer Cathy Mincberg.

With that behind her, Shelvin said she is no crook.

It's good to know that convicted felons who are, inexplicably, responsible for educating our children can claim not to be criminals. That sets a fine example.

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

Whiny Bs

The next time I read anything negative about the Whiny Bs in the Comical will be the first one, so this glowing article about Craig Biggio's transition to center field is hardly surprising. It's going extremely well, as you might expect the Comical to conclude.

Well, there was this actual reporting among the glowing praise:

With Valentine rounding third on the play, Biggio charged the grounder, fielded it cleanly and sent to the plate a one-hop throw that wasn't particularly hard and was late.
Never mind that. He's trying really hard, and the Comical's there for him all the way.

[Posted at 14:53 CST on 03/29/03] [Link]

War Coverage Trumps Music

Tried to get out and hear some music tonight, but I just couldn't get into the Firehouse doubleheader of Eleven Hundred Springs opening for Max Stalling, and we bailed a few songs into Stalling.

I've heard good things about Stalling, but don't really know either band's music, and my mind is on the war.

Tomorrow, I'll pull away from it for the roadtrip to Magnolia and the Dead End Angels. That will be an excellent show, and a good diversion.

[Posted at 00:52 CST on 03/29/03] [Link]

27 March 2003

Reynolds Released

I wondered why in the hell the Astros made such a significant preseason financial commitment to a broken-down pitcher.

Now that they've released him (but still have a financial commitment), I'm still wondering.

I hope the center field experiment pans out better than the Reynolds as #3 pitcher experiment.

[Posted at 23:09 CST on 03/27/03] [Link]


Since I mentioned Bill Parcells a few days ago, it's probably worth linking to this press conference/Q&A with the new head coach of the Cowboys.

[Posted at 23:02 CST on 03/27/03] [Link]

Orrin's One-Liners

Maybe I should just make it a daily feature: The Orrin Judd One-Liner of the Day.

This one made me laugh out loud.

[Posted at 21:24 CST on 03/27/03] [Link]


I'll be busy catching up on the day's news, but you diehard music fans should really go take in the Derailers at the Firehouse tonight.

Thursday night shows are hell at work the next day, but if I hadn't just wasted the day on silliness, I'd almost certainly be going to see these guys. Too much going on in the world right now for another lost day of work, unfortunately.

[Posted at 17:48 CST on 03/27/03] [Link]

It's a Wrap

I spent most of the silly day not analyzing war news and doing my job, but making trips to the Dean's office to get final signature pages, and then taking the blessed dissertation to the bindery.

Literally, this process took damn near all day.

But it's all done now, for real. There's still the formality of delivering the final bound copies to the Dean's office when the binder is done, and I suppose the degree won't officially be conferred until commencement in May (I don't plan on participating). But my part is done. Finally.

[Posted at 17:43 CST on 03/27/03] [Link]

We The Living

Yesterday at lunch, I noticed a pretty blonde chick sitting by herself and reading Ayn Rand's We The Living.

Once upon a time, that would have been a very exciting prospect.

Not anymore. I just mentioned it to my boss and we continued to talk about the war to liberate Iraq.

But for any of you predatory young Objectivists (that describes all young Objectivists, doesn't it?) out there, the Souper Salad on Post Oak around noon could be prime hunting ground for you. Good luck!

[Posted at 17:37 CST on 03/27/03] [Link]

25 March 2003

Okay, Maybe A Little Pithy

I think General Tommy Franks and Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells have a similar demeanor.

Nothing to add to that really, just catching up on yesterday's briefing from General Franks, and the thought struck me.

[Posted at 21:35 CST on 03/25/03] [Link]

Not Feeling Pithy

Earlier, I was going to post something here to the effect that this, my personal site, was likely to stay a little quiet with the outbreak of the war, since I've been trying to stay on top of it every waking moment for work and for other reasons.

And despite a few pithy comments that followed that impulse, I'm still inclined to think this place will be a little less active than normal. Frivolity, Texas music, and Shiner bock are not foremost on my mind right now.

However, there's lots of fresh stuff at Reductio Ad Absurdum, and that will continue to be the case.

[Posted at 20:35 CST on 03/25/03] [Link]

Oh, The Irony

The Houston Comical informs us it has won a "Bright Idea" award.

With no sense of irony, the Comical further reports:

Bright Idea awards are given to newspapers with the best self-promotions.
Our Comical surely deserved it.

[Posted at 19:22 CST on 03/25/03] [Link]

Is Her Brain As Plastic As Her Face?

Greta van Susteren is, of course, an idiot, and never is that more clear than when she lectures a general on battlefield tactics.

I'm not sure why Fox News thought it was so crucial to import she of the plastic face from CNN. Sure, they lost Paula Zahn to a rival, but then they went and screwed up addition by subtraction by getting someone WORSE.

[Posted at 17:52 CST on 03/25/03] [Link]

Nasty Breakups

I just walked Kiwi, and on one street, we came upon a pile of laundry, with a note attached. The note indicated the person to whom the clothes belong was no longer welcome, and indeed the police would be called AGAIN if the person returned.

Normally, the neighborhood isn't nearly so entertaining or volatile.

[Posted at 17:45 CST on 03/25/03] [Link]


NRO has started a great Post-A-Note section on their website.

What a great idea!

Given today's media coverage -- even with imbedded reporters -- it's too easy to think of these guys a blips in a video game.

War is no video game. The fine men and women at war are fathers and mothers and friends and sons and daughters and community leaders and humans who touch a lot of lives here at home. NRO's little effort at showing that side of them is classy. Now, if only a little class would rub off on slobs like Michael Moore.

[Posted at 16:15 CST on 03/25/03] [Link]

24 March 2003

Funniest Damn Thing I've Read So Far Today

I'm not gonna even gonna try to set it up. Just go read.

[Posted at 09:39 CST on 03/24/03] [Link]

23 March 2003

Spring Cleaning

I suppose the massive spring cleaning Callie and I are engaged in today is going a little faster with news of the war on in the background.

I would happily take cleaning being a little more tedious if war were not necessary.


In any case, this place is a MESS. But getting better. Blar.

[Posted at 17:04 CST on 03/23/03] [Link]

The Return of JH3K

Jim Hart, formerly of JH3K, now has a new home:

Glad you're back, Jim! I've been missing your blog!

(Update) Also glad to see Ginger Stampley is blogging again. How have I missed this?! Whatever the case, it's good to see.

[Posted at 07:48 CST on 03/23/03] [Link]

22 March 2003

Sanchez For Mayor

I received a solicitation for contributions (financial and otherwise) from Orlando Sanchez yesterday, and the letter indicates he'll be officially announcing his mayoral campaign in the next few weeks.

Not that it was ever much in doubt, but it's nice that it's become quasi-official now.

[Posted at 13:23 CST on 03/22/03] [Link]

How Stands The City

I try not to crosspost here and to Reductio, but Orrin Judd's How Stands The City gets a link from both places.

Nicely done.

[Posted at 08:21 CST on 03/22/03] [Link]

21 March 2003

Priorities Indeed!

Mayor Pothole continues to claim that the City of Houston is well prepared for a terrorist attack, and always refers to his career as a public safety officer as evidence that the city is in good hands.

The reality is that Mayor Pothole's management of the city in this area is marked by the same weaknesses as his disastrous management of public works, the budget, etc.

The Chron reports on the latest example of city leadership's ineptitude, in the area of regional emergency communications. It turns out in the event of a regional emergency, Houston would be handicapped by a communications system that, under load, would be largely incompatible with that of the larger region.

Interestingly, Hans Marticiuc brings up a familiar theme:

The city is facing a $59 million shortfall this year and cannot scrape together enough to fund basic police services, said Hans Marticiuc, spokesman for the Houston Police Officers Union.

"At some point, the city is going to have to set priorities like public safety and basic services, and the frill stuff will just have to go away," Marticiuc said.

Funny, Orlando Sanchez criticized the Pothole Administration's inability to prioritize in the last mayoral campaign. But that didn't seem so important to folks like Marticiuc at the time (perhaps because police officers, unlike firefighters, received some nice incentives to shut up and support the mayor then).

Whoever the next mayor turns out to be, he or she is going to have a difficult time cleaning up all of Pothole's messes.

[Posted at 10:04 CST on 03/21/03] [Link]

20 March 2003

Peter Must Have Been Out Drinking French Wine

Given the sneering tone of one Peter Jennings, perhaps it was actually a long-term ratings boon to ABC that he was out of pocket yesterday when all the action broke.

I've been fascinated this evening watching the advance of ground troops on Fox News. Although I have to say that I wish Shepard Smith would have stuck around into the late evening. I used to think of him as a lightweight, but his studio replacements Linda Vester and Tony Snow have been poor tonight. Not as dreadful as that whiny ass Aaron Brown, but definitely poor.

(Update) Actually, Linda Vester may be more dreadful than Aaron Brown. She should go home.

[Posted at 23:48 CST on 03/20/03] [Link]

Mayor Homeland Security

Mayor Pothole has the following advice for Houstonians concerned about terrorist attacks:

They mayor said you can also go on your other senses, such as what you can smell.

"Horseradish, bitter almond, and freshly mowed grass or hay, two or more dead animals grouped together," said Mayor Brown.

Those are signs of a possible chemical attack and city officials say any kind of attack on the Houston area can be handled much like a natural disaster.

Apparently, people in Houston do not mow their lawns, since it's a sign of terrorism.

Maybe he should be renamed Mayor Homeland Security.

[Posted at 21:46 CST on 03/20/03] [Link]

On Hating Bush

Jason Kottke, arguably an "800 pound gorilla" of personal bloggers, has apparently decided to depart from the usual personal tales and fun on the web to share his interpretation of recent news and politics. Of particular note:

I think very little of George W. Bush as the leader of my country. He's uninspiring, unimaginative, not that intelligent, has no perspective on the world, operates in an extremely cloistered world of his own, and while I have no doubt that he's acting in what he thinks are the best interests of the country, his ideas about what those best interests are don't match mine. Bush is leading the U.S. like a large, soulless corporation, which if you know how I feel about large, soulless corporations, is about the most damning thing I can say about him.
Hmm.... somewhat of a harsh assessment of a guy with two more Ivy League degrees than most people, I would think. All highly debatable points, with the exception being that Mr. Bush's ideas don't match Mr. Kottke's. That is not debatable.

I'm not quite sure what in Bush inspires such hatred on the Left. Nor did I entirely understand the similar hatred of Clinton on the extreme Right (yes, I still take my occasional shots at him, and yes, I think he didn't show proper respect for the office, and yes, I think his self indulgences ruined what could have been a great Presidency -- but I just don't despise him, to the extent many of my fellow conservatives do). But in so many cases, it tends to overwhelm good judgment about political matters. And if you can't see past the person in analyzing politics (domestic or international), then your judgment is overwhelmed.

[Posted at 15:01 CST on 03/20/03] [Link]

Match Day

Today is Match Day for all sorts of med students heading to residency programs, and my friend, regular reader, and sometime backpacking partner Camille tells me she got her first choice of a family medicine residency program in Idaho.

Nicely done!

I will, of course, be planning a trip up to hike visit.

[Posted at 12:52 CST on 03/20/03] [Link]

19 March 2003

It's done

The defense is done, and all went well (as these things go, at least).

I have a wee bit of minor editing to do.

But the albatross is done. And I have the all important signature pages.

I'll do the edits and final printing this weekend, and that will be that.

And I get home from the defense to a surgical military strike. How about that?

[Posted at 22:29 CST on 03/19/03] [Link]

18 March 2003

How Much Time Is Enough?

What a great website.

Sort of debunks that whole "rush to war" nonsense.

Speaking of time, go tell your friends what time it is.

[Posted at 23:55 CST on 03/18/03] [Link]

Rein v. Reign

Is it too much to ask of bloggers and journalists to learn the difference between reign and rein?

Just a reminder:

The verb "rein" means to hold back (as if one were using reins). Example: Antiwar loons hoped France might rein in the United States.

The verb "reign" does NOT mean to hold back, but does mean to exercise absolute power. Example: Fear reigned supreme after the U.S. dropped a daisy cutter.

Thanks, kind readers, for indulging me in this anal rant. :)

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

Rudy T


Get well, Rudy T.

[Posted at 13:02 CST on 03/18/03] [Link]

17 March 2003


After listening to President Bush's pre-war speech tonight, I couldn't help but think of the first Gulf War.

That war commenced roughly 12 years ago, in January 1991.

To an extent, that war took me in a new direction. I was an undergrad, and had already made the switch from a pre-med track to political science. But I wasn't quite sure where I was headed with it. I signed up for an undergrad seminar in Defense and Strategic Studies with Bill Van Cleave, a noted conservative "hawk" who was vilified by campus liberals (I had just made my own conversion from liberal tree hugger about that time). I figured I might as well go see for myself what all the fuss was about.

It was quite a semester. I was exposed for the first time really to the rigorous study of defense issues and American foreign policy. And in the middle of the Gulf War to boot. What timing! What a great experience.

That experience kept me around for graduate study in defense and strategic studies (and later, PhD work), and that training was the key to the political risk analysis I do now, even though it's not exactly defense-policy oriented.

And here we are again, on the brink of war, with another President Bush in charge.

I still recall Dr. Van Cleave's reaction after Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, and company made the fateful decision a dozen years ago to stop the hostilities. In the seminar immediately following that decision, he said, "The administration seems determined to snatch political defeat from a great military victory."

How true. And how vividly I can recall that prescient observation.

Thank goodness the current President Bush is not a jellyfish like his father.

[Posted at 20:54 CST on 03/17/03] [Link]


She's BACK!


I have missed my

[Posted at 16:33 CST on 03/17/03] [Link]

16 March 2003

Tourney Time

I don't really follow college hoops that closely, certainly not as closely as college football, but kudos to the Big 12 for getting two #1 seeds in the NCAA tourney.

Texas gets a #1 seed on the strength of its regular season (and most likely beating Oklahoma twice).

Oklahoma gets a #1 seed on the strength of being among the top teams all year and winning the Big 12 tourney for the third straight year. Even better, they open the tourney just down the road in OKC.

And Kansas loses the #1 seed (that most likely went to Oklahoma) based on their subpar performance in the Big 12 tourney, but still gets a #2.

Pretty nice year, in all.

[Posted at 17:55 CST on 03/16/03] [Link]

15 March 2003


We'll second Orrin Judd's thoughts on Dowdy Maureen:

It's no longer possible to even tell what this woman is trying to say....

[Posted at 22:30 CST on 03/15/03] [Link]

I Need My TexasGigs

I wish to hell Cindy would get back from SXSW.

We need someone to write something positive about good music about now.

Scott, why didn't you send her along with a nice laptop so we could get ongoing updates from Austin?

[Posted at 20:37 CST on 03/15/03] [Link]

Expanding The Boycott

Since everyone is so busy getting the music of the Dixie Chicks banned all over the place, we're gonna take a slightly different approach here at PubliusTX Headquarters.

Since we fully applaud any effort to protect the ears of fellow citizens from the noxious sounds that emanate from the Nashville pop-country factory, PubliusTX Headquarters is hereby boycotting Kenny Chesney.

Just say no to bad music

I don't know Kenny's politics, and I don't care. It's bad music.

It's about the music around here.

(Update) Callie has never heard "She Think's My Tractor's Sexy" so I just played it for her.

Response: "That's really bad."


(Update 2) While we're at it, Darryl Worley doesn't do a hell of a lot for me either. But it's shrewd marketing to write co-write a patriotic song when your career's flailing. Give him credit for that. And it may be one of the more genuine songs to come out of Nashville recently. That's a sad statement.

[Posted at 19:56 CST on 03/15/03] [Link]

Nicely Done

There are many many reasons to avoid the spectacle known as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Add this to the list.

[Posted at 19:20 CST on 03/15/03] [Link]

Boycott Nashville Country Radio

I just visited the website of St. Louis country station 93.7.

Lo and behold, they are having a chickless weekend.

But just below that announcement, there's a big spread about that loser Kenny Chesney.

Wouldn't it be nice if these crap Nashville-Country stations dropped BAD country music (Kenny, Shania, Faith, and the like) from their playlists, instead of dropping artists because of their political statements?

THAT would be too nice. In the meantime, there's always the wonderful Radio New Braunfels, 92.1 stream. Who cares about the politics? It's good, real country music.

(Update) Irony of ironies -- KNBT is running their weekly (Nashville) Americana show, which this week is featuring some of the Americana songwriters who provide the Dixie Chicks so much of their material (you didn't think they wrote anything themselves, didja?). I can't help but laugh.

[Posted at 16:39 CST on 03/15/03] [Link]

A Little Late, Thom

The Comical's Thom Marshall blasts Mayor Pothole today:

There is a sad tone in the mayor's plea for outside help in running the city. However else he tries to package it, it comes across as an admission that he just couldn't do it himself. He didn't know how to put together the sort of team he needed to get things done. He doesn't lead the team he did put together.

And now we've got a city with many streets that resemble a war zone. We've got a city with a big budget deficit despite the fact we are paying more taxes than ever. We've got a city cutting services and raising fees.

We've got a city with a Police Department in shambles because of a major crime lab scandal (for which Brown must bear some responsibility).

We don't need to hire more consultants. We need to elect a different mayor.

I don't disagree with any of it, of course, but Mr. Marshall's paper endorsed Pothole over and over and over. Perhaps Mr. Marshall should have offered this input then instead of waiting to the very end to complain about streets that resemble a war zone and a budget situation that resembles, say, Worldcom's.

It IS pretty brazen, though, that Mayor Pothole offered up this proposal. What a mess he's going to leave for the next mayor. The mess is of such proportions that I don't know if any of the candidates will be up to the task (i.e. is there a Giuliani in this bunch?).

[Posted at 09:39 CST on 03/15/03] [Link]

14 March 2003


Vidor is one of the scariest towns in this great state.

Indeed, it's so scary it should probably be ceded to Louisiana.

Behavior like this is not out of the ordinary.


[Posted at 22:46 CST on 03/14/03] [Link]

Great Idea

One of the best ideas I've seen yet:

The Wilson Phillips Wannabes

Now if they could just break out the tape for Kenny Chesney and 90% of the Nashville idiots, country music would be much better off.

And no, that's not even a political statement. Their music (generally) sucks!

(03-15-2003) Isn't this all starting to get a little overblown? I mean, I like some of their songs. And I'm not going to stop listening to those songs because Natalie Maines is a birdbrain! Nor am I going to stop listening to "Guitar Town" because of Steve Earle's politics, or "Dallas" because of Jimmie Dale Gilmore's politics. Does it really do much good to call in and get a bunch of good music (or in the case of the Chicks, a little good music) banned from playlists? Does it make you feel that much better? Isn't the real problem taking these people seriously on anything but their music in the first place?

[Posted at 22:42 CST on 03/14/03] [Link]


Can anyone explain to me why the best political program in primetime (Kudlow and Cramer) gets bumped early every Friday night for that senile old fool Louis Rukeyser?

Anyone at all?

[Posted at 19:35 CST on 03/14/03] [Link]

The Great Disappearance

So what's a little white lie when you're among friends and fans:

That last compact disc was the band�s 2000 release, �The Day,� Reckless Kelly�s third album.

The CD had a roots rock sound, led by Braun�s vocals, which inevitably draw comparisons to a younger Steve Earle. Band members Cody Braun, David Abeyta, Jay Nazz and Chris Schelske added to the high-energy sound of �The Day.�

All except Schelske will play Saturday. The bass guitar player is taking time off. Jimmy McFeeley will fill in.

�Chris is on vacation and is probably coming back soon,� Willy Braun said. �But he�s definitely coming back ... as far as we know.� (February 21, 2002)

I'm holding out for a year+ vacation, but so far the company won't spring for it.

[Posted at 15:42 CST on 03/14/03] [Link]

The Current Crisis

Most bloggers (myself included) don't have the inclination or the attention span to post more than a paragraph or so about world affairs -- at least not very often. And those few who do tend to need the services of a good editor.

And then there's Orrin Judd's blog, which has its share of short items, but also plenty of longer comments that place contemporary affairs in a much broader context. I don't know how he finds the time (not to mention the voracious reading habit that supplies so much of his context!), but it's just top-notch. That's why it's almost always the first place I go when I'm hitting non-primary sources on the web.

Orrin's lengthy post on the current crisis is one of his best ever. Go read.

(Crossposting this to Reductio Ad Absurdum. So sue me.)

[Posted at 10:22 CST on 03/14/03] [Link]

DEA at Mucky Duck

The Dead End Angels did not disappoint at the Mucky Duck last night. The guys sounded good, the room sounded good. What a fine show.

I can't wait for that CD to come out.

And since the Duck is within walking distance of home, it's not even a particularly rough Friday morning at this point.

[Posted at 07:30 CST on 03/14/03] [Link]

13 March 2003

Dead End Angels

Dead End Angels

The Dead End Angels make their Houston and Mucky Duck debut tonight.

If you're an old Groobees fan or an alt-country fan in general, come out and see these guys. They're well worth the price of admission!

[Posted at 06:45 CST on 03/13/03] [Link]

12 March 2003

Spring Is Here

Houston is just FREAKY.

A week or so ago, I'm complaining because the winter will NEVER end.

Today, it's warm, humid, and almost warm enough INSIDE to run the air conditioner.

Goofy city.

[Posted at 20:27 CST on 03/12/03] [Link]

More Letters

One has to admire the letter writer who has the courage to stand up and defend the peace protestors from naysayers. And has the courage to put his name on it!

Or not:

Antiwar wisdom: What is the problem with the letter writer who is against the peacemakers [Letters, "Peacemakers," February 20]? If his mission as a protester back in the '60s was just to get into girls' pants, then he really didn't have any business protesting. Not everyone who protests the wars is that kind of person.

I support the efforts for peace, and someone like this person gives the rest of us a bad name. Funny how he would refer to Stalin and Marx when they believed in communism and cared nothing for peace or the equal rights of humankind.

So tell me: Who is he to talk so badly about the ones who want peace? Maybe he's the fool because he hasn't educated himself in the ways of the world. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who are not what he referred to as "fools and buffoons," nor are they out there protesting in order to get involved in orgies.

Name withheld by request

[Posted at 20:20 CST on 03/12/03] [Link]

Council Of Buffoons

I didn't write this letter to the Houston Press. And neither did Owen. And thanks to Dan Davila, we didn't have to:

Council priorities: Will someone explain why our City Council would spend one nanosecond debating U.S. military action against Iraq [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, February 20]? Like they don't have more pressing problems to deal with on our behalf?

Gordon Quan and his band of liberal henchmen need to focus on traffic congestion, torn-up streets and construction companies that seem to live by the adage "Take a short job, make it long -- take a long job, make it longer!" They also need to focus on the staggering budget shortfall created and nurtured by Lee "Is there anything I haven't screwed up yet?" Brown.

Yo, Gordo! You, Carroll, Ada, Annise, Carol, Gabe and Hiznumbness need to get off your lazy butts and fix our city instead of drafting a resolution that Bush, Rumsfeld, Condy and Colin could give a rat's ass about. As if!

The argument that a U.S. attack will take money away from cities is especially galling coming from a city that pissed away its golden egg from the '90s economic boom. We worry about our negative image so much, now you know how we got it: inept civil servants. If this were Vaudeville, they'd bring out the hook! I need some milk of magnesia.

Dan Davila

[Posted at 20:17 CST on 03/12/03] [Link]

Velveeta Fudge?

Does anyone remember that Friends episode in which one of the morons is cooking for the others, screws up the recipes, and winds up combining the recipes for a meat dish and a dessert dish, creating some horrible concoction that only Joey (of course) found tasty?

Well, I think the Comical just pulled the same stunt with their recipe for Velveeta Fudge.


Thanks to Callie for calling this disgusting combination to my attention early this morning.

[Posted at 08:06 CST on 03/12/03] [Link]

11 March 2003


Blar has been a part of my life for a while now.

But this dude -- he is serious about spreading all that is Blar!

To Fox News especially.

I love it.

[Posted at 20:05 CST on 03/11/03] [Link]

The New Segregationists

Buried in the coverage of Michael Berry's formal announcement that he's running for mayor was this one line:

Soon after Berry's announcement, New Black Panther Party spokesman Quanell X issued a statement saying the candidate was not welcome to campaign in the black community.
It's very interesting who the advocates of segregation are today, isn't it?

[Posted at 17:45 CST on 03/11/03] [Link]

Lee Brown's America

In Mayor Pothole's America, innocent African-Americans get to serve four-and-a-half years for crimes they didn't commit!

Mayor Pothole's legacy just keeps growing.

[Posted at 06:32 CST on 03/11/03] [Link]

10 March 2003

Mr. Whitlock

He's just killing me with the "to be continued."

[Posted at 22:52 CST on 03/10/03] [Link]


Doogie Howser's had a serious lifestyle change
Doogie Howser's looking a little different

He's not little Doogie Howser any more.

[Posted at 20:51 CST on 03/10/03] [Link]

Live Music Is Alive (Barely)

Cindy's got a neat post up from Slobberbone's Brent Best.

I don't agree with everything he has to say, but overall it's a pretty thoughtful response from a pretty talented musician.

I like his attitude about live music. Thank goodness in Houston that the Firehouse has gotten so serious about being THE venue for country music in town. The place seems to treat artists and fans well, and that's most of the battle.

But Houston's not perfect. Getting a young talented songwriter like Randy Rogers into a songwriter's night at, say, the Mucky Duck just doesn't happen. And it's still astounding to me that Cross Canadian Ragweed was BEGGING to get a first gig in Houston two years ago, and FINALLY got to play Fitzgerald's on a Thursday night on 3-8-01 (a damn insult, really, to a band that talented). Ragweed STILL hasn't played the Mucky Duck, by the way, nor has Cody Canada played a songwriter's night there. Amazing (and not in a good way).

House Concerts may just be the answer. If the venues won't deliver what you want, then book it yourself. Brent Best seems to be suggesting that. I know I'm hoping to work with Cindy to get a band or two into the campground (but then, Cindy knows what she's doing -- I wonder how easy this is for the average music fan to do). We'll see how it goes.

[Posted at 20:36 CST on 03/10/03] [Link]

Houston March, Man

Two, maybe three, months from now, the heat and humidity will have set in, and smart Houstonians will be staying inside from the sauna.

But right now, it's perfect. PERFECT.

So we just took a nice, long walk around the neighborhood with Kiwi, with a stop for forgotten groceries at Randall's and then Diedrich's for coffee.

Hard to beat March in Houston.

[Posted at 20:22 CST on 03/10/03] [Link]

09 March 2003

Blast From The Past

Does anybody remember this strange Saturday afternoon television show?

I can vaguely recall being impressed with the jet packs, and the fact that someone could make a VW van into a flying craft. An ugly one, mind you, but still.

They were simpler times then. And Carter was President, for gawd's sake.

[Posted at 21:04 CST on 03/09/03] [Link]


Callie and I nixed yet another music roadtrip (Great Divide/Rodger Wilko in New Braunfels in about an hour).

Instead, we took the dog for a long hike around Buffalo Bayou on a day absolutely made for it.

Spring has finally come to Houston!

[Posted at 16:12 CST on 03/09/03] [Link]

Dead End Angels

I haven't seen the Dead End Angels in a while, as they've been lying low for a few weeks after finishing some studio work. So I've been anxious to hear them.

I was also wondering how they'd sound since losing the lovely Libbi Bosworth (at least for the time being). So we caught up at the HEB Central Market cafe in Austin last night (one of those promotional sorts of gigs, but a place with surprisingly decent sound).

Well, I miss Libbi (of course!), but I should have known these guys would pull it together. They're playing as a four-piece at the moment, and it sounds great. All four members sing vocals now, even Rick Poss. You have to wonder how that cat can manage it while he's tearing up the guitar like he does. No problem. And he's really stepped to the front. I love a band with a great guitarist. And throw in the rest of this crew (strong vocals, strong songwriting, strong arrangement, strong rhythm), and... well, that's why I carry on about 'em so much.

And you Houstonians can catch 'em along with me, John, Cathy, Callie, Alex, and assorted other music fans at the Mucky Duck on Thursday. Sorry for the brief review this time -- but why not come see for yourself? I mean, do I have to do EVERYTHING for ya?!

Seriously, peeps, come on out Thursday. I might even buy ya a beer.

[Posted at 14:18 CST on 03/09/03] [Link]


The first really warm weekend in Houston has me thinking about getting back to backpacking....

I've not gotten out much the last couple of years, because I spent way too many weekends working on the dissertation (instead of seeing the great outdoors or live music). But that's coming to an end, with the defense date a little over a week away.

So it's time to start thinking about the woods. I have a fairly new backpack that still needs some major adjustment. And there's an REI dividend to be spent -- on that note, I'm leaning towards picking up one of the newer generation GPS units that can take topo data (which means I just stuck my old GPS on ebay). And plenty more preparation (as in, lots of work at the gym).

Of course, there's that silly defense left, and whatever needs to be done following that. And it's a few weeks anyway before the weather really starts to turn nice in Oklahoma/Arkansas/Missouri, where I plan on spending much time in the late spring. But it doesn't hurt to start preparing. :)

[Posted at 14:04 CST on 03/09/03] [Link]

He's Actually Serious

My goodness, it gives me a good chuckle every time I read about Michael 'Boy Blunder' Berry's aspirations to be mayor.

[Posted at 11:08 CST on 03/09/03] [Link]

Mayor Pothole's America

One of many reasons to avoid Mayor Pothole's Downtown
Why are valet companies being GIVEN free parking?

The city of Houston is millions of dollars in the hole.

But it can afford to give away free parking spaces to valet companies, instead of charging them for the license.

Nicely done.

[Posted at 11:00 CST on 03/09/03] [Link]

08 March 2003

Day 3 Of The Music Marathon

Roadtripping to Austin for yet more music in a few hours.

In the meantime, you can visit Texas Gigs to figure out the music YOU should be seeing tonight if you're in North Texas.

There's new stuff over at Reductio Ad Absurdum if you want to read some good articles on politics.

Orrin Judd has added a contributor to the Brothers Judd blog.

And our friend Cathy has cool photos up at her place.

However you decide to spend it, may your Saturday be a good one! Mine's going to be. :)

[Posted at 11:45 CST on 03/08/03] [Link]

Mayor Pothole's America

Mayor Pothole's administration really can't do anything right.

Here's the latest gem:

No Silver Lining In Budget Clouds.

Impressive. The City is $59 million short, but the city's finance and administration director says this:

"If you take me back a year, I would have put the budget together the same way," he said. "Every single revenue projection, I'm happy about."
The SOB should be fired if he's happy about the current mess.

Thank goodness for term limits, or the buffoon ultimately responsible for idiocy like this would no doubt be elected again.

[Posted at 11:32 CST on 03/08/03] [Link]

2 Days, 4 Bands, and Counting

We gave it our best effort, but couldn't make it to the end of Houston Marchman tonight. Just too tired. But we'll surely see him again, because it's good stuff. And Alex stayed on, so a good review ought to be forthcoming.

We only caught the tail end of the opening act (Local Folk), but I enjoyed it also. So there's another one we'll be seeing again.

Wonder if Cindy enjoyed the Dead End Angels earlier?

(Update) Forgot to mention that Houston Marchman got a nice dig in on that idiot Kenny Chesney. That's always a plus. :)

[Posted at 01:31 CST on 03/08/03] [Link]

07 March 2003

Oh Hell

I'm tired.

And I had pretty much resigned myself to skipping the Houston Marchman show at the Firehouse tonight.

We just had dinner with my ultimate boss, who's in from London, and we were already running on empty from the roadtrip yesterday.

But then I started playing some Houston Marchman music. And it's a CD release show tonight -- the new CD available for $10!

No rest for the weary, right?

I think it's about time to go....

[Posted at 22:11 CST on 03/07/03] [Link]


Mr. Whitlock has been singing the praises of Roger Creager for ages, but I've not managed to see one of his shows. So last night, we finally got to see him.

Unfortunately, it involved a roadtrip to El Campo. Don't get me wrong -- Greek Bros is a fine restaurant and a decent enough place to see a band (the acoustics are not great). But El Campo roadtrips on a Thursday night generally spell Hell the next day.

And so it was today. But it was worth it. Because Roger Creager is all that, as Callie says. Dude has good songs ("Everclear" is not the norm, thank gawd), a great band backing him, and lots of charisma. And the place was fairly packed. On a Thursday. Good choice.

I was a little disappointed with the opening act, though. I've heard some great things about the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash. But compared to so many of the bands we've been seeing lately, I thought they were a little lackluster. They were technically competent, but there just didn't seem to be much spark. And the vocal arrangements were not the strongest we have seen. It really makes me appreciate the quality Texas bands that the Firehouse brings in any given weekend, actually. And it makes me appreciate someone like Mr. Randy Rogers, whose version of Mama Tried by Merle gives the song new life compared to the cover we heard from these guys.

But hey, we've seen far worse opening acts, and Roger Creager was well worth the price of admission, the roadtrip, and the price paid the next day. Seeing a celebrated California country band open just drove home for me what a great music scene we have going right now in the Lone Star State. Nashville and Caleefornya don't have anything on the musicians playing any given night in Texas. Don't let anyone tell ya otherwise, kiddos!

[Posted at 21:32 CST on 03/07/03] [Link]

Euphemism Of The Day

A way to motivate Hidalgo?
Think this might motivate Hidalgo?

The Comical writes the following about Astros outfielder Richard Hidalgo today:

With that swift stroke, Hidalgo hit .314 with 44 home runs and 122 RBIs in 2000 to earn a four-year, $32 million contract before the 2001 season. He tried to add muscle in his upper body that offseason, but the bulk only hindered his swing.
Ah, yes, the bulk.

The significant bulk he added around the midsection seemed the (pardon me) bigger problem, both in terms of his hitting and his running.

What exactly does he weigh this spring, anyway? Has he lost any of the "bulk?" It would be nice if the Comical would let us know.

(Update) I don't think Hidalgo or the other Astro whiners would appreciate Bill Parcells and his motivational techniques. As a Cowboys fan, though, I certainly do! This is hilarious to me:

He has posted signs throughout the locker room. Some messages are blunt: "Dumb players do dumb things. Smart players very seldom do dumb things." Another reads, "Losers assemble in little groups and [expletive] about the coaches and the system and other players and other little groups. Winners assemble as a team."

[Posted at 13:50 CST on 03/07/03] [Link]

06 March 2003

And So It Begins

A busy musical weekend is getting a jump start tonight with a roadtrip for dinner at Greek Bros, and music by the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash and Roger Creager.

Tomorrow, most likely Houston Marchman at the Firehouse.

Dead End Angels in Austin on Saturday.

And the Great Divide in New Braunfels Sunday.

I'll be seeing enough music this weekend that someone might mistake me for a real Texas music fan, or something.

[Posted at 18:23 CST on 03/06/03] [Link]

Dan Morales

Life sucks for former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales, who was indicted today on 12 counts of federal crimes connected to the 1996 lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

Has anything good come of those lawsuits?

[Posted at 18:22 CST on 03/06/03] [Link]

05 March 2003

Don't Look Now...

But the Dead End Angels have a CD Release Party scheduled (scroll down).

That's a definite roadtrip.

[Posted at 21:45 CST on 03/05/03] [Link]

Things That Amuse Me

The Counting Crows have a song called Rain King, in which Adam proclaims "I am the rain king."

Our friend Evelynne, on the other hand, proclaims "I am the potty queen" (scroll down).

[Posted at 20:19 CST on 03/05/03] [Link]

04 March 2003

The Collapse Continues

Early in the season, the Rockets looked to be a lock to make the playoffs.

And then, in typical Houston sports franchise fashion, the Rockets went into freefall (which began, interestingly, not long after a midseason trade engineered by Rudy T and Carroll Dawson). It's unlikely they're going to arrest this slide, outplay the main contenders for the last playoff spot, and get in.

Which brings me back to the Rudy T deathwatch.

I know it's inconceivable that the Rockets could move into a new building next season without the icon that IS Rudy T coaching them.

But let's face it, they've been bad the last few years, and even worse than that, underachievers the last two years. It's not the fault of the front office. Rudy T's buddy Carroll Dawson has pretty much made all the roster moves Rudy's wanted, and owner Les Alexander has shelled out cash to lock up players Rudy wanted.

And it hasn't worked. This "young" team isn't getting any better, and Cuttino Mobley and Steve Francis are veterans. The "young" excuse just doesn't fly.

But how do you get rid of a legend like Rudy T? Or will he step aside if they don't make the playoffs?

It could be ugly. Kind of like the basketball they've played of late.

[Posted at 22:26 CST on 03/04/03] [Link]

Fan Mail!

Someone using the name James Forrsell sent this charming email over the weekend, but I haven't had time to post it. Here goes:

From: "James Forssell" ([email protected])
To: ([email protected])
Subject: You and your boring comments on the music "scene" amount to nothing more than a wannabe name dropper hoping someone will take you seriously as a "critic"
Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2003 14:19:19 -0600

'nuff said. You suck.

I suck. Poor me. I have to admit, I busted out laughing on this one (which demonstrates how much I strive to be taken seriously here!).

And then I tried to email Mr. Forrsell and thank him for visiting, but the email bounced back.

That's impressive.

I did go poking around through the logs, and found that a visitor from the IP address where this email originated loaded a few of my pages with comments on Susan Gibson, specifically a post entitled Bitter Susan.

The bitterness seems to have rubbed off on at least one of her fans.

But at least he didn't tell me to go bowling.

'NUFF SAID! (what a moronic phrase, that)


[Posted at 22:22 CST on 03/04/03] [Link]

Spam Assassin

Since I'm already labeled a geek, I might as well admit that I recently turned on Spam Assassin for email filtering, and it works GREAT. Highly recommended. It tends to flag a few emails I get from various band lists, but those can be whitelisted so that they are allowed through. Very cool.

I should also admit that everything got ported over to a new server in the last few days, with very little disruption (a feat made possible with ZoneEdit, which is another one of those amazing web services that has somehow remained free). No more server moves planned for a while.

[Posted at 22:18 CST on 03/04/03] [Link]

03 March 2003


Several months ago, I dropped my HORRIBLE AWFUL TERRIBLE Time-Warner cable internet and signed on for DSL service through Cyberonic (1500 down, 768 up, static IP, and about the same price as crappy SBC/Yahoo).

Lately, I've been cringing, because several people have asked how the service has been, how much downtime I've had, etc.

See, I didn't want to jinx things, because there's actually been zero downtime or latency issues or anything out of the ordinary since the DSL went live sometime in December. But I made the mistake of telling someone that the other night.

Oops. Late last night I had my first problem. And it was an odd problem. Download speeds slower than dialup (like 16k or so), upload speeds still normal (about 620k), ping info via pingplotter still totally normal. So I called Cyberonic, walked the highly knowledgeable tech (what a relief after the Time Warner goofs!) through the problem, and he immediately identified it as a network issue and escalated to Worldcom (Cyberonic is a Worldcom reseller).

I puttered around a bit more, and ran some line tests via dslreports, which indicated a problem with a worldcom router a couple of hops up from me. Seems it was passing my stuff headed out just fine, but was really misbehaving on stuff coming back to me. I forwarded the tests to Worldcom and Cyberonic support this morning, got a quick response from Worldcom, and within a couple of hours was back to full speed (routed around the problem).

Now THAT, my friends, is outstanding in its own right. But compared to Time Warner? Man oh man -- TWC never DID fix a similar problem with a piece of equipment that I identified for their techs several times, which finally led me to Cyberonic. So kudos to Worldcom. Whatever problems they may be having more broadly as a company, they took care of my network issue. And FAST.

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

02 March 2003

Houston Rally

Like most people, I've had a good laugh on occasion at the blundering of councilman Michael Berry. But I'll give him props for his comments yesterday:

Berry -- his speech frequently interrupted by cheers -- recounted how City Council last week rejected resolutions opposing war with Iraq. As many as 100 city governments had passed such measures, Berry said, adding that war opponents believed such municipal debates were good to let people "express their feelings."

"The good people of Houston did not send me to City Hall to conduct group therapy," Berry said. "Houston was the first major city to vote down and reject these antiwar resolutions and the professional protesters who travel around to organize them. Let's hope other cities will follow Houston's lead."

Group therapy seems to be more fun for the liberals on council than actually fixing the city's problems, such as the budget hole. Of course, we know from the Comical it's not really their fault -- it's the fault of term limits.

[Posted at 11:51 CST on 03/02/03] [Link]

01 March 2003


I just have a bad case of the lazies tonight.

Django Walker is at the Firehouse with a new setlist tonight, but we're not sure yet if we're heading over. We haven't even managed to figure out dinner yet. It is not a very decisive household this evening.

But that's the beauty of occasionally lazy weekends. :)

[Posted at 20:57 CST on 03/01/03] [Link]

The Houston Blame Game

The city's budget trouble has everyone pointing fingers and whining. This is especially rich:

"I am frustrated. We should have been allowed to take some decisive action already," [Councilman Annise] Parker said.
Weren't you too busy with Councilmen Quan and Robinson agitating over a ridiculous antiwar resolution?

[Posted at 13:02 CST on 03/01/03] [Link]

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