Letters Sent to OST's Penthouse Suite
The Spurs lackluster play has countless sleeper cells of Spurs fans across the country in a state of shock. Here is one example of this, from a reader named Rocco.
Letter Number 1:
Title: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck Dat Noise
"I go out for some burgers. Have a few beers. Life is
Come home and check how the Spurs are doing.
I found out the answer They Are Too Busy Participating
In An Ass Sucking Festival To Actually Bother Playing
Competetively Against A WC Title Contender AT
So I'm like fuck it. One of two things need to
1. The Spurs need to withdraw from the ass-sucking
festival and participate in the basketball festival
known as the NBA regular season.
2. I need to stop placing any compartment of my
emotional well-being in how 12 merceneries
representing my childhood home do in a game of
Since I can only control the former the former, fuck
I'm a Rocco fan now. That's the only shit I
Well done, Rocco. Though unlikely by his tone, this letter is full of Carl Rogers humanism.
While Rocco was off having burgers I was eating a cold over-priced pulled pork bbq sandwich at the aforementioned Spurs game. I rarely go to the games because I don't always have time but also there is the possibility that I don't want to pay to get bombarded with advertising and loud noises. I can do that on I-10 at 5:00 pm. (And slowly the inner Roddy Stinson is born.) I still have memories from Hemisfair when there were only 5000 people in attendance so perhaps I took for granted the quiet, contemplative, Russian Winter like atmosphere. Clearly, that's it.
However, a promising architect took me along with the company tickets. Amazing tickets. You are so close you analyze the players' tattoos. Notice the rows in front of me. That's right, not that many.
The fact that the Spurs got humiliated was lost on me. I was mesmerized by Babylon. The annoying, pulsating music of the arena sound system seems softer on the first few rows as if it were soft house music from an ultra lounge. Waitrons buzz back and forth. It's a very country club atmosphere. The food court is high end and exclusive, which made the cold sandwich all the more confusing. My friend sent it back twice but to no use. We were exposed for being impostors.
A recreation of the Hindenberg disaster as symbol for the Spurs demoralizing loss and fall from grace. And underneath the dirigible in a black coat and pink shirt and completely out of focus, Joe Reinagel's doppleganger.
Letter Number 2:
A link to this dog dancing video that's captivating the country.
A Conversation With Congressman Al (About the Sorry State of the Spurs and the History of 'Twilight' Point Guards that Have Played in San Antonio)
What can I say? The day grows shaggy. The chair too stiff. And even
public hearing aficionados start to talk trash: So, apologies in
advance to any person of reasonable (or noble, even) character I
besmudge in this week’s review of the uranium mining hearing
down Goliad way.
So let me talk at you a scant blogo-minute to set a couple important items (in my sincerest impartial moderator tone) straight.
Uranium Energy Corp’s record is blemished, despite company officials’ reassessment of their regulatory history at last Thursday’s public hearing in Goliad. As it turned out, the confessions of UEC Director Harry Anthony were more telling than any possible denial he could offer.
See, the company had only just started making its mark on Goliad terra firm with a few hundred boreholes proudly littering the landscape when the Texas Railroad Commission showed up.
As we wrote in October:
possible turning point in the Spurs’ thus-far disjointed,
arrived this week against Los Angeles Lakers, courtesy of future
coach Gregg Popovich and Olympic gold medal winner Manu Ginobili.
“I don’t think all the guys could remember what Pop said at halftime tonight,” Spurs guard Brent Barry said after the contest. “He reminds us that things aren’t always going to go well but you have to fight through it and that you’re not going to beat every team in this league, but you got to grind out wins and stick to our guns.”
Perhaps more than any other championship defending campaign, this year has illustrated the targets painted on the Spurs' collective backs and how much larger they grow when injuries strike. The team’s leading scorer, NBA Finals MVP Tony Parker, has steadily labored through a nagging bone spur. Tim Duncan, the foundation for the Spurs' dynasty, overcame a nasty looking leg injury earlier in the season yet at times appears to be playing in Robert Horry-esque cruise control. Ginobili himself has been battling the usual assortment of bumps and bruises that accompany his relentless style of play but was still the most exciting player on the floor, despite the presence of Kobe Bryant.
Spurs stepped up the pressure during the third quarter and we were
next evening, the Spurs survived a squeaker against the lowly Miami
to Ginobili’s late-game heroics, and Tim Duncan was named to
his 10th all-star
game. Barring some major surprises,
You must watch the trailer for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's new movie, Baby Mama:
Then read Stephanie Zacharek's salon.com review of There Will Be Blood: http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2007/12/26/blood/
Stephanie's criticism is exquisitely written, and expresses so many things that I (and perhaps you, too) felt during the film but didn't know how to articulate -- or were too unsure of my/yourself to. Anyway, as a PTA believer and a lover of good writing, I was nearly in tears reading this. [Insert mocking here.]
MLK in Low Resolution
The crappy weather intitially kept me from going down to the MLK Day celebration. I wanted to ride my bike. After I realized that wasn't going to happen in the rain I finally drove on down. The march was over but I was able to make it to the celebration at least. I walked up to the west side of the park. I couldn't help but notice the street food parked on Palmetto.
I saw an entrance to the celebration just behind me. I was looking for the quickest way in but then realized this entrance was for the media, and then I realized that I was the media. I showed my press pass (which I accidentally had with me) and was actually granted "backstage" access. All this really meant was that I could get closer to the Mayor and the Mayor.
For horrible weather there was an incredible number of people out. The city boasts hosting the nation's largest MLK Day celebration. I can only imagine the turnout if the weather was better.
Someone later pointed out the irony that we host the largest MLK celebration yet have the smallest per capita African American population for a major city. This paradox might touch upon how MLK as an idea has transcended the original historical, political moment. National leaders all pay homage to MLK, but more as a concept rather than a specific political person. San Antonio seems to get most of it down and leading the march with a garbage truck (a direct allusion to the Sanitation Worker's strike that drew MLK to Memphis) is a great example.
Later watching the Spurs on Tivo, at halftime, a local news station teased footage of the march by showing a bunch of Trinity students marching. Could any image be less representative of the event I first thought? They somehow find the one image where there are no black people...at the MLK Parade? But then I wondered if MLK day was more about everyone and not just one group of people. That sounds nice but seems a disservice. The MLK of the 60s should be celebrated as well, not just the ambiguous legacy that politicians of all parties try to contort into nothingness.
When MLK was killed he had become a critic of the Vietnam War (in part because wars drain resource$ that could go to rebuilding our own country. Sound familiar?), and a critic of economic policies, hence his support of the Sanitation Worker's Strike.
I suppose that's why the local tv footage seemed so wrong. My point has nothing to do with Trinity students who were celebrating the march but that the historical legacy of MLK is so open to interpretation. To me it is the same but opposite phenomenon of when television media shows footage from a contemporary protest. Instead of showing images of the more typical average protestor, television instead presents the most outlandish crazy looking protestor they can find. At the MLK celebration, they instead found the safest.
There Will Be Head Scratching
With high expectations I finally went to see There Will Be Blood. After being introduced to the Palladium a few days ago for the screening of Cloverfield, I somehow ended up back there. The first review of the film I read came from Texas Monthly which pretty much trashed the film. I assumed the reviewer just didn't like P.T. Anderson's films. But why? Boogie Nights was gold. Magnolia was overwrought, yes, and filled with actor highlight moments every 5 minutes, but there were great moments nonetheless...
....which makes the film great, at least in moments, because what was that film other than a long collection of moments? The musical moment attempted to unite all the different characters together, and while the song was interesting, it didn't really amount to much. P.T. was trying desperately to pay homage to Robert Altman in Magnolia, even so much as recasting Henry Gibson from Nashville. A surprising lack of Youtube Henry Gibson/Nashville clips gives only this tangential moment, outstanding at it is.
So, I figured the negative press of There Will Be Blood was actually negative press towards P.T. Anderson. After watching There Will Be Blood, I came to agreeing with some of the rare criticism I had read. In interviews, P.T. mentions how he is working in classical storytelling with this latest film. No more ensemble for this film. This was supposed to be an old fashioned story. That's not true, and in a good way for the most part, however the suggestion as such by the director led me to the wrong expectation. (Expectations for films should always be low it seems. But no one wants low expectations for life. There is another Taoist lesson in here, I'm sure.)
The film starts amazingly well for the first half. Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano, it seems, will be our two main characters. The film suggests to be a character study of the greedy oilman versus the charlatan preacher. A battle of wills.
But then the Paul Dano character disappears for about an hour, a mysterious long lost brother returns, and the film derails. The direction is still wonderful but the script on a structural level falls apart. Introducing new characters for no important reason is basically lazy or self-indulgent. I wonder if P.T was running out of ideas. I realize I'm in the minority on this point but the film became boring. Daniel Day Lewis' character all of a sudden becomes evil. He was actually likeable before but for whatever reason a switch was thrown and now he's homicidal. The story became unrealistic. Later we are supposed to disregard early sincere moments by Daniel Day Lewis. The film ends with Daniel Day Lewis turning on his son, punctuated by earlier unseen footage of Daniel Day acting poorly. This has become an editing technique I can't stand. In the third act someone tells a story and we get a new visual perspective of how it actually happened. It's supposed to be a reversal. Its one thing for Daniel's character to grow bitter with age but to recast previous moments in the film in a darker light seem phony.
The strive towards being epic actually distracts the film from its own purpose. But what is the purpose of the film? The film is about oil and religion - two extremely heavy topics for today. However, P.T. pits these two forces oil (Daniel Day Lewis) and religion (Paul Dano) as adversaries. When I think of oil and religion in today's world they seem to be on the same team. To think of religion as being an adversary to oil and capitalism is a real head scratcher. I don't see it. I suppose I'm getting to specific some might say but these muddy themes make the film less important in my opinion.
It's a film of great direction and style but throwing in oil and religion suggests significance. I wonder if P.T. went into this trying to do a serious message film that reflected our times but realized that wasn't his forte. The film is about dysfunctional relationships even if people think its about something grander. It's not. It's still a very good movie but more for its direction and mood. Fair enough.
Honky Tonky Parking Lot (or Swamp Boogie?)
(Seen underneath 281 at 10:36pm on Saturday: hand-held laser light show.)
Saturday I went by Sam's Burger Joint to see Jesse Dayton. It was a great show. It felt very much like we were transported to South, South Lamar in Austin to the Saxon Pub, which is not a place I actually ever went to while in Austin but I was assured that crooners and honky tonkers sang there frequently.
The San Antonio music scene has often piggy backed off of the Austin scene. There's no shame in that. In fact, I wish Austin bands would come down more often.
I've never actually heard "swamp boogie" as far as I know and I'm positive I didn't hear it Saturday night but I'm intrigued by the name. I'm guessing it has something to do with New Orleans. Wikipedia could only come up with this. Creedence Clearwater Revival is associated with "swamp rock" but they weren't even from New Orleans but somewhere in California. I'm ready for emo-swamp and ambient-swamp and everything in between. Waiting...
(Seen outside Sam's Burger Joint at 12:17am.)
Welcome to San Antonio
Not far from the city one can still find wide open spaces such as this. Even better, this is still inside the city. And inside 1604.
Between the loops, pockets of arrested de-civilization still exist. This is the mysterious rapture that can be San Antonio.
In the far distance, industry looms.
In front of our eyes, forgotten worlds.
They Don't Shoot Horses, Do They?
Dancing and bowling if you open the door.
Soon, all of this will make sense (and by soon I mean probably at least a month...)
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
It was the week I joined the Current that my freelanced
article on the Aggie endeavor to peer behind the Global
Warming curtain first saw ink.
The key findings of international scientists on climate change have been startling enough, but somehow having them tailor cut to our pasture made the matter more immediate.
When I consider what increased climate volatility means for the region’s many poor residents, I think, ‘Why in the hell aren’t we equipping these communities with decentralized power? With solar? With wind?’ I take to heart predictions of a potential oil crash. I listen when science says seven-degree increases in average temperatures. Same for flooding and drought, from our dear Aggies.
We are already living in a “climate vulnerable” part of the world (vocab courtesy of A&M’s finest).What will stability cost? Each day we fail to plan, that fee rises.
I refuse the arguments that clean coal or nukes will save us.
Community gardening initiatives, roof water catchments, local power generation, more closely knit communities: this is what my reading of some leaked chapters suggests.
So, show up tomorrow in Kingsville and get yourself a free clarion call, likely embedded with plenty of line graphs. After that, availability is vague. Barnes y Noble, I hear. Or from the university (I have yet to get a contact for sales, but I will update this post as that becomes available.)
[PRESS RELEASE FROM TEXAS A&M, KINGSVILLE, BELOW]
‘20-YEAR-OLDS NEED TO KNOW THEY’RE GOING TO GROW UP IN A WARMER WORLD’
New book projects effects of global warming to year 2100
Co-editors host book-signing Jan. 23 at A&M-Kingsville bookstore; free books for first 50 attendees
KINGSVILLE, Texas (January 15, 2008) – More frequent heat waves in summer. Fewer hard freezes in winter. More prolonged periods of drought. Worsening air quality. More extreme individual rainfall events.
That’s the forecast predicted for the year 2100 in South Texas – a region already known for its unforgiving climate – in The Changing Climate of South Texas 1900-2100: Problems and Prospects, Impacts and Implications. Co-edited by two research professors at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the book features chapters written by leading scholarly authorities on the effects of climate change on the region’s coastal areas, water resources, air quality, ecology and wildlife.
Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Regents professor of geography Dr. James Norwine and Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering associate dean Dr. Kuruvilla John co-edit the book and will host a book-signing at the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore, located in the Memorial Student Union Building on Santa Gertrudis Avenue at University Boulevard, from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23. The first 50 people to attend will each receive a free book.
A century from now, South Texas will experience the type of climate change that would occur if the entire region were moved 100 miles to the southwest, becoming both more tropical and more arid. “There’s not a lot of fudge factor in the numbers,” said Norwine. “Those who are 20 years old need to know they’re going to grow up in a warmer world. People can take that to the bank.”
He also stresses the book’s objective and scientific approach. “Readers get a fair, understandable depiction of the most current scientific climate data about our area,” he said. “We also are clear in categorizing our predictions as hypotheses, noting those in some areas that are untested.”
Norwine and John call climate change “…a regional challenge which we believe is the greatest test South Texas has faced since its first human inhabitants arrived ten or so millennia ago.” The co-editors and authors use the latest climate data to sketch an outline of what the South Texas region will look like as the 22nd century begins:
* The water supply will be reduced, even as the population of the region continues to grow, creating greater demand on municipalities and other water-providing agencies.
* The sea level will rise along the coastline, flooding the region’s salt marshes and leading to changes in the ecosystem of the region.
* Changes in wildlife – mammals, birds and amphibians – will be volatile; some animals will be able to cope with the changing conditions and some will not, and no current model exists to predict which will and won’t.
* Because climate change is expected to occur due to an anticipated growth in global emissions, the injurious effects on regional and urban air quality will intensify.
* Long-term climate change will exacerbate the effects of urbanization as population grows; for example, paving open land leads to an increase in the amount of rainfall runoff and flooding.
* The region’s agricultural industry will increase its demand on the water supply by more than 50 percent.
* There will be a rapid northward and eastward shift in the breeding ranges of several tropical, subtropical and warm desert bird species.
* Future weather and climate extremes – hurricanes, droughts, heat waves and others – will intersect with the region’s vulnerable ecologies to create future megadisasters, and leaders at all levels of governance are underestimating the growing fragility of the region and failing to enhance existing methods of regional sustainability.
The book concludes with a “Letter to a Young Reader,” in which the co-editors note that the volume’s lack of proposed solutions was by design: “There is a place for advocacy but this is not that place. … Our job was to describe and explain the challenge … It is up to the present and next generation of citizens and leaders to ‘come and take it,’ [the challenge issued by Texas colonists to Mexican authorities when ordered to relinquish their cannon at the 1835 Battle of Gonzales] We are confident that they, you, will do so.”
Norwine first considered the book after he and collaborator Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research made a climate model for South Texas, using past temperatures, pollutant levels and other pieces of information to determine what the area’s environment might be like in 100 years. The results echoed research findings of the 1990s from James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen developed a climate model for Houston that showed the city changing to an essentially tropical climate by about 2050 if carbon dioxide levels continued to rise as they had been since the late 18th century. The changes experience in such a scenario include night temperatures of 80 degrees or higher for three months each year; many years, even decades, with no significant freezes; higher energy use; and more heat-related health problems.
“Even if Hansen is only half right, it moves us in a direction that is worrisome,” said Norwine.
Contributors include Dr. Ralph Bingham, Dr. Jhumoor Biswas, Dr. Leonard Brennan, Dr. Kim Jones, Gomathishankar Parvathinathan, Dr. Venkatesh Uddameri, Irama Wesselman and Dr. Jaehyung Yu, all of Texas A&M-Kingsville; Dr. Gene Blacklock of the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program; Dr. James Gibeaut of The University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Robert Harriss of the Houston Advanced Research Center; Dr. Paul Montagna and Dr. John Tunnell Jr., both of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Dr. Gerald North of Texas A&M University; Dr. John Rappole of the Smithsonian Zoological Park Conservation and Research Center; and Dr. Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Publication of The Changing Climate of South Texas 1900-2100: Problems and Prospects, Impacts and Implications is sponsored by A&M-Kingsville’s CREST-RESSACA, the Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology-Research on Environmental Sustainability of Semi-Arid Coastal Areas which is funded by the National Science Foundation.
More than enough ink has already been
spilled on Tony Romo's Mexican vacation and his subsequent failure to
record his first playoff win with the Dallas Cowboys, but it's time for
a little sanity to be restored.
Much as we hate to (even indirectly) defend Jessica Simpson, it's mindless media piling-on to suggest that a two-day vacation in Cabo with a faded pop star and a few teammates, during Romo's off-time, and a full week-and-a-half before the Giants playoff game, had anything to do with Romo's inconsistent performance.
Sportswriters are remarkable hypocrites. They celebrate the swashbuckling memories of Joe Namath, Paul Hornung, and Kenny Stabler, guys who liked to tie one on the night before a game, preferably in the company of a star-struck young lady. Just a few months ago, when Super Bowl I hero Max McGee passed away, writers laughed about how McGee was hung over for the Super Bowl, and found himself having to play after the Packers' starting wide receiver suffered an injury. McGee played for the ultimate disciplinarian, Vince Lombardi, and even Lombardi couldn't keep him in line before the biggest game of the year.
Compared to such behavior, doesn't Romo's across-the-border romp seem pretty tame? Without a question, Romo's late-season letdowns have become a concern, with his September-November record as a starter a glittering 15-2, and his December-January record a less-than-glittering 4-7. But it's safe to say that the Giants' second-half pass rush (and Patrick Crayton's drops) had much more to do with Romo's frustrations on Sunday than his much-publicized vacation.
I am attempting the impossible. Thus, I plead with you not to
completely rip me to shreds in the comments section of this
blog. While perusing at the nearby Half-Price Books, I came across a
book that captured my attention Graphic
Novels: Stories to Change Your Life (Yes, if Natalie
Portman was into graphic novels [H-e-l-l-o she was in V for Vendetta, so
this daydream may in fact be true.] she would have totally put
down the old-school headphones after listening to The Shins and handed
over this book as an endnote.). Anyhow, for a really long time I have
wanted to get into graphic novels. I was in love with the bright, bold,
forever-etched-in-my-mind images that leaped from the page to the film
— so when the buzz about the film version of Persepolis came
my way, I had no other choice but to jump on the bandwagon and devote
my time to Marjane, the protagonist of the novel (the novel is actually
the memoir-in-comic-strip form of the real Marjane Satrapi).
For the past two days, I have been reading The Complete Persepolis, a 352-page chronicle of Marjane's life growing up during the Islamic Revolution. I was a bit intimidated by the novel since there was a heavy historical plot to it; however, I quickly became fascinated with wide-eyed Marjane, her rebellious tendencies, and her family, who accepted and loved her for who she was. (Her parent's commitment to their daughter provided interesting anecdotes such as when her parents visited Turkey and smuggled in posters of Iron Maiden and Kim Wilde, a denim jacket, and chocolate for Marjane.)
I'm about 75-percent done with the book, but I will provide you with no spoilers (sorry!). Either read the book (which I highly recommend) or catch the film, when it comes to SA on February 2. As for Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life, I've thumbed through a few pages and I already feel another graphic-novel-themed blog post coming real soon. (Fear not, loyal readers of John DeFore's Framed articles — I am nowhere near the master of graphic novels as he is … but DeFore, I recommend you watch your back.)
Bend is being battered right and left lately with bad, bad,
Patterson has pretty much ruined any chance of a reasonable solution to the Christmas Mountains fiasco. (Forcing a buy-back and redonation of the preserve doesn't count as reasonable in my book.)
Chertoff and Homeland Security are anxious to start digging the Berlin Border Wall across this remote landscape.
And (to top it off) Benders also have a non-sensical trade corridor known as La Entrada to contend with. But thanks to some great agitators and resisters and do-gooders we have the opportunity to do something here in SA to help.
While letter-writing may not sound like much, it is the very least you could do (meaning: do this much, minimum).
Should you opt for more active resistance, I'm sure any number of folk would be willing to help find a trucking firm for you to splay out in front of... The campaign will be at Ruta next week.
[BELOW IS THE FULL PRESS RELEASE]
On Saturday, January 26th, from 1-3 pm, Texans will gather at several locations across the state to write letters to TXDOT asking them to divert the La Entrada Al Pacifico (LEAP) truck corridor away from its planned route through the Big Bend. This event is being sponsored by the Reviva! Collective and Big Bend Letters, two Alpine groups fighting the LEAP corridor.
“Letter-Writing Parties” will take place at the following locations:
Ruta Maya on the Riverwalk - 107 E. Martin St.
Jo’s Coffee - 1300 S. Congress
Jo’s Coffee - 242 West 2nd St.
Jupiter House Coffee - 106 N. Locust Street
La Trattoria - 901 E. Holland Ave.
Twin Souls Coffee House – 209 N. State St.
Eve’s Garden Bed & Breakfast - Ave. C & N. 3rd
Marfa Coffee & Wine - 103 Highland Ave.
Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend - “Next to the Porch in the Ghost Town”
Big Bend communities have worked hard to develop their region’s tourism and retirement relocation economy, based on clean air, small town charm, breathtaking vistas, and a lack of traffic, congestion, and pollution. Many residents feel that a truck route through their small towns will destroy this economy, to say nothing of the region’s traditional ways of life and unique and fragile ecosystems.
Information about La Entrada Al Pacifico will be available at the parties, or folks can visit www.stopthetrucks.org , or www.revivacollective.org . Both sites examine the numerous issues surrounding the placement of a truck route through one of Texas’ most wild and unique regions, and contain sample letters and contact information for state and federal elected officials and TXDOT.
Folks who are interested in hosting a letter-writing party on January 26th can contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Texas portion of the La Entrada Al Pacifico trade corridor was officially designated by the legislature in 1997 as following US 67 from Presidio, through Marfa and Alpine to Ft. Stockton, and from there via US 385 and I-20 to Midland. This route was named a Federal High Priority Trade Corridor in 2005. (Texas H. B. 2115, the LEAP authorizing legislation, literally suspended the Texas constitution to avoid having the bill read on the Texas House and Senate floor; it passed on the local and consent calendar.)
While the originating traffic for this route was to have come from Topolobampo, Mexico on the Gulf of Baja, the difficulty of crossing the Sierra Madre Occidental (including Copper Canyon) indicates that Chihuahua City will likely be the starting point for most trucks following this route into the United States.
The Letter-Writing Parties seek to point out to TXDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz that the current LEAP plan is projected to traverse heavily mountainous terrain on two lane roads through Mexico and the Big Bend. However, trucks traveling from Chihuahua City through El Paso to Midland have four-lane highways the entire way, and existing railroads on this route can create even greater efficiencies (and reduce pollution) handling bulk shipments.
Additionally, the six-lane Tornillo-Guadalupe Bridge, scheduled for completion in 2010, will bypass El Paso to the east and provide swifter access to I-10 (and I-20) through a state of the art Immigration and Customs facility.
El Paso (and Juarez) officials have embraced cross-border trade as an integral part of their area’s economic model and are actively seeking and planning for increased traffic, in marked contrast to the Big Bend’s relatively limited trade infrastructure
TXDOT is currently conducting a feasability study of the LEAP truck route based on the corridor described in H. B. 2115. At the study’s first public meeting in March of 2007 in Alpine, nearly four hundred Big Bend residents attended, with a show of hands revealing that everyone except one person opposed the LEAP corridor.
A second public meeting will be held soon to discuss alternatives TXDOT has identified to the original LEAP plan. (These alternatives will be posted on that agency’s website before the second meeting.)
The Reviva! Collective and Big Bend Letters encourage Texans and folks everywhere to communicate with TXDOT soon regarding the La Entrada Al Pacifico trade corridor at email@example.com (note underscore after “tpp”) or 1-800/517-4652, or better yet join us on January 26th at any of the locations listed above.
Letters written at the January 26th events will be gathered by the Reviva! Collective and presented to TXDOT officials at the next public meeting of the La Entrada Al Pacifico feasability study.
On the Road Again
Down a dark alley behind Hogwild Records is the unlikely opening (in many ways) to the new club that hosted San Antonio's own Girl in a Coma.
Cops circled around on Dewey looking for...something. I can't imagine anyone calling in any complaints. They were probably just looking to commandeer some six packs from underage drinkers for themselves. Joking?
I tried to get a steady shot of the alley but was trying not to laugh at the two people loudly arguing a mere few feet to my right off camera.
This has to be one of the best entrances to any club in San Antonio. Dismal, dank, like an art directed favela. Perfect.
Manager Faith Radle got me backstage but I wasn't sure what success my sub-compact camera would have in photographing the band. Low light moments beguile. This guy was in the doorway for most of the show. To his right...
...a (cedar) fever pitched crowd. The energy at the show was high, for both the crowd and the band. In just a few days they would be playing in France, which is a surreal thought. Faith told me they played almost 150 shows last year.
The flash on my camera was so inconsequential I experimented with trying to catch moments when someone else was using theirs. The blue and red lights were deep. The flash would only betray that.
I suppose this is more factual but seems less interesting. What happens next for the band will be interesting to observe. Their song-writing is undeniably excellent. The accented vocals bring distinction. There have been other bands that develop unlikely singing styles (Green Day, Jawbreaker), but the more I thought about it, her accent is something else altogether. At first I thought it was British. But then I thought it reminded me of this band from the Netherlands...
...which made no sense because Bettie Serveert's articulation is much more precise.
After about 30 minutes of trying to time my photos with the flash of the camera across from me I went back into the crowd and talked to Faith a bit before leaving. Though almost all the merchandise had been sold people still kept forming lines.
I imagine this will be a show fans talk about for a while.
Drowning in Their Own Sauce
While observing Ben Judson's show at Fl¡ght Gallery, several unlikely conversations emerged: the pros/cons of wet versus dry application of gunite, the whereabouts of Col. D. Williams (Ret.), as well as a peculiar observation on the success and failure of various local restaurants based on square footage.
Consider these establishments: Green, Cool Cafe (behind the Havana Hotel), Ruta Maya, Merchants Grand Cafe (in Alamo Heights). Each have made a great effort in their debut. However, I have to wonder if they've over-extended themselves from the beginning. Rather than establish a small, busy environment, they have gone for as large a space as possible in the hopes to draw a large crowd. To echo a previous article on the Current about the flow of human traffic, people tend to go where other people go. Creating a smaller, more intimate space suggests exclusivity and creates anticipation. Taco Taco on Hildebrand understands this idea, and their banner outside the restaurant with the quote 'best tacos in the country', or something to that extent, builds upon that, nevermind that they aren't even the best tacos in San Antonio.
But on to the show.
Judson sold his work for a reasonable, Jeffersonian price of $150. The show was a success. Red stickers were everywhere.
Most of the pieces were dominated by a letter that initiated a phrase or a line of poetry. To counter cries that I was photographing them in full so that I could sell them, I tried to focus on smaller aspects of the larger whole.
From what I remember, the pieces were not silk-screened.
If I wasn't immersed in gunite talk I might have remembered the details.
However, I do remember hearing that the process lends itself to organic imprecision - in the best sense possible.
I had no idea what the show would be like. There was restraint and reflection which fit with the happy/sad mood of the recent wave of cedar fever.
Back, Give Hercules Room!
The text on the kick drum looks as if it could have been printed by Ben Judson, but more likely has been handed down from drummer to drummer. The Sons of Hercules must be well into legendary status at this point.
Rock messianica. Singer Frank Pugliese was transported down from above on a mission from God.
I hadn't seen/heard them in at least ten years. I want to believe I actually saw them perform in a garage once. Garage Rock isn't a term I hear much anymore. I get the sense that Sons of Hercules are placed more in the Iggy Pop school now, which is interesting, because that's how Frank's band was described to me in regards to their opening for the Sex Pistols 30 years ago.
The most interesting point of the show was when a fan/friend? of the band jumped on stage to sing-a-long and rock out. In the 80s this would have been more of a fleeting race across the stage punctuated by a jump back into the crowd. This moment lasted for the whole song. Opinions varied as to how it was received. One person thought Frank waved him off from singing the verse but was cool with him joining in for the chorus. And at one point it did seem as if Frank was "blocking him out" from taking the mic.
Despite this beer drenched moment, the show was less about antics and more about the music. The set was loud, fast, and tight. Musically, they don't seem to have lost a step.
I wonder if Frank will ever end up in a Texas Music Hall of Fame. I heard Tim Kerr made the list (thought that might have been something cooked up by the Austin Chronicle.)
The last moment to recall was this guy, doing his own homage to Bret Michaels. The hat and hair might have been connected together.
A Discussion with Congressman Al
This is already outdated, but perhaps interesting to about 2-3 people at most. Topics include: the Iowa Caucus fallout, predictions for the political season, and whether or not the Spurs will regret cutting Darius Washington.
So, I was sick a few weekends
ago, and, sprawled out on my daybed/couch, made ecstatic by Will
Arnett’s brief appearance in The Sopranos (my illness was a perfect excuse to
catch up on the last five years of pop culture), I began to ask myself:
In my wildest dreams, what awesome people would I like to run into when
I visit LA (for the first time!) in February?
Odds are, I won’t run into anyone, as the occasion for my visit is an NEA Theatre-writing fellowship, one where I’m told I’ll have little to no time for sightseeing (but I’m psyched just the same!), and because almost nothing will be in production, I imagine, due to the writer’s strike, and because didn’t the wildfire cause everyone to migrate to New York? Wow — did that sentence make any sense? Anyway, I made a tragically short, mental list of the talented folks I’d like to rapturously wave at (that’s code for “I admire your work; thanks for your artistic contribution to society), but then thought the better of publishing it. You know, that way, when I melt down in front of _____, s/he’ll never’ve seen it coming.
Anyway, on the off chance I do have a spot of time to wander a few blocks around USC Annenberg, I’d love your must-visit suggestions, Curblog readers (How far would I have to walk to picket with the people from _____?). In the meantime, take a gander at the shows I and the other NEA fellows will be attending (and surely blogging about):
The Color Purple, Orson’s Shadow (Austin Pendleton), The Wooster Group’s Hamlet, Victory (Athol Fugard), Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson (Alex Timbers), Carnage (Adam Simon and Tim Robbins), Dickie & Babe: The TRUTH About Leopold & Loeb (Daniel Henning), The Joan Rivers Theater Project (Joan Rivers) (stop that laughing), and Voices from Okinawa (Jon Shirota).
I spent much of the holidays obsessively poring over my favorite
Christmas gift, a hard-bound, coffee-table collection of the best of Creem magazine,
published last year by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins.
As someone who admired the magazine's enthusiastic but irreverent take on the punk explosion of the '70s, I would have preferred to see more punk and less Bob Seger, Grand Funk Railroad, and John Cougar Mellencamp. But there's plenty of priceless material here nonetheless:
An amazing/embarrassing Marc Bolan interview from 1973, in which Mr. T. Rex repeatedly goes out of his way to slag David Bowie as lacking in charisma, destined for obscurity, and not "even remotely near big enough to give me any competition" (Bolan wasn't exactly Nostradamus, now was he?); a Lester Bangs-penned profile of Iggy Pop, in which the World's Forgotten Boy takes his shots at Bowie for lousing up the mix of the Stooges' Raw Power, by branding him "that fuckin' carrottop"; a never-before-published 1982 photo of Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, in frilly white dress and long, auburn wig, draped across a car, a full five years before Tawny Kitaen put Whitesnake on the map in similar fashion; and plenty of rude Creem Profiles and Backstage photo captions.
My favorite remembrance comes from Bill Holdship, currently with Current sister paper, the Detroit Metro Times, who recalls taking a phone call from Billy Joel, who angrily complained about a Creem photo of Christie Brinkley, accompanied by the caption: "Dating a moron? Why I am!" Joel told Holdship that when the magazine made fun of his girlfriend "them's fighting words!" Holdship, to his credit, explained to Joel that the photo was making fun of HIM, not Brinkley.
New York's Senators have said that N-BAF is "too
dangerous" for their state.
Maryland site lost for proximity to "major population center" (D.C.).
Now a coalition of North Carolina doctors have organized against the Homeland Security germ lab. (See below for a letter to the editor in the Raleigh News & Observer.)
San Anto is looking better and better for U.S. Homeland Security's germ warfare crew...
We strongly oppose siting the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) in Butner. The work done at this facility will not and is not intended to improve the health of any people or animals in the United States. The only purpose of the NBAF is the study of diseases that may be used as biological weapons.
Not one of these deadly, exotic viruses currently exists in North Carolina or has ever infected any human or animal here. They pose no threat now, but that will change once they are imported from across the world to Butner, where a single accident could unleash a disease in our backyard for which there is no cure.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), this facility will study "the world's most dangerous microbes, several capable of rapid widespread human depopulation." Many of these diseases are hemorrhagic fever viruses, which typically cause death by massive internal bleeding. They infect animals and then spread to humans. None of these diseases can be cured.
Experts agree that Biological Safety Level 3 (BSL-3) and 4 (BSL-4) labs such as the NBAF are not foolproof. As evidence of this, a 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in England originated from virus stolen from a lab. It could be contained only after the slaughter of 10 million cattle and sheep, and it resulted in economic devastation for the agricultural industry.
In 2007, a lab accident resulted in another outbreak of the same virus in England. In 1978, an outbreak of foot and mouth disease occurred at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York (the lab that NBAF will replace) and was contained only because the lab is on an isolated island. In 2004, an accident at China's most secure disease lab caused an outbreak of the deadly SARS virus. In 1999, the first animal and human cases of West Nile Virus ever to occur outside of Africa cropped up near the Plum Island Disease lab in New York. Since then, hundreds of thousands of Americans have been infected, and hundreds have died.
Dozens of well-documented incidents of safety or security violations, theft or loss of viruses, worker exposures, infected animal waste leaks and disease outbreaks are known to have occurred at existing BSL-3 and BSL-4 facilities in the United States. These failures have been published in reputable news media and mainstream scientific journals.
A U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee report from October found that more than a hundred accidents and violations were reported over the past four years at BSL-4 labs involving biological weapons viruses, and they believed this to be an underestimate of the actual number of accidents. Congress has recently called into question the safety and oversight of these labs.
The Department of Homeland Security will run the NBAF and is interested in studying biological weapons viruses there, in part, because even a tiny amount can result in massive devastation. Infections are most likely to occur in people who are nearest to the source of the leak, but viruses can travel in the air for up to 40 miles.
If you or a family member become infected with any of the BSL-4 diseases that the government may bring to Butner, there will be nothing that any of us can do to cure you, and it is highly likely that you will be quarantined.
If you want to have your timed three minutes of
front-of-the-room glory stuttering in front of an ironed-on board of
nuclear examiners, don your paper robe, brew a stout pot'a, fill up the
Honda, and cruise on down to sunny Bay City, U.S.A.
(It's either that or, like, fax your comments to the monster shredder on the other end of the NRC's Division of Administrative Services... details below.)
While there has been no official word as yet, I suspect some sort of rideshare will set up for those with good-to-marginal hygeinic skills. Those with oversized glowing puppets ride free. But there are no guarantees, implied or explicit, that you will be absorbed by the ionizing rainbow of radioparticulatory bliss, as pictured.
Oh, and remember the flap on that robe goes in the BACK. It's more fun for the rest of the audience and less threatening to the federal regulators.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will hold public meetings Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Bay City, Texas, to discuss the agency’s review of a Combined License (COL) application for two new reactors at the South Texas Project site near Bay City, and the environmental issues the agency should consider in reviewing the applications.
The meetings will be held from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. and
7:00 - 10:00 p.m. at the Bay City Civic Center, 201 7th St. in Bay
City. The NRC will transcribe the meeting, including any follow-up
answers the staff provides later, and post the transcript on the
agency’s Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors
NRG Energy and South Texas Project Nuclear
Operating Company submitted the COL application and associated
information in a Sept. 20, 2007, letter. The companies seek approval to
build and operate two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) at the
site, approximately 12 miles southwest of Bay City. The ABWR is a 1,300
megawatt electric design the NRC certified in 1997, and is currently in
use overseas. The application is posted on the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors
Those wishing to register in advance to present their comments at the meeting should contact Cristina Guerrero by telephone at 800-368-5642 x2981, or via e-mail at STP_COL@nrc.gov (the address is STP_COL) by Jan. 29. Members of the public should request special equipment or accommodations for attending or presenting information by that date so the staff can consider the request. Those wishing to speak may also register at each meeting no later than by 1:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., respectively. Individual comments could be limited by the time available, depending on how many people wish to speak.
Anyone who read our recent
story about the rash of personality disorder discharges in
the U.S. military will wonder at this Bush veto.
The $686-billion National Defense Authorization Bill, HR 1585, would have addressed many needs in the veterans community, including pay raises for servicemembers and increased benefits for those who have returned.
It also would have eliminated the practice of "personality disorder" discharges until an investigation into the practice had been completed by the GAO.
It is estimated that more than 22,000 veterans have been discharged from the military for preexisting mental conditions in the last six years. Many of these have also seen combat or incurred battle wounds along the way. Still, most are stranded without access to the VA. One of the worst cases of obvious injustice was chronicled by Johua Kors early this year.
Jaded vets and cynics alike wonder how so many allegedly crazy folks got through the military's screenings in the first place.
While the bill blasted through the House, 370-49, and eased through the Senate, 90-3, Bush killed it with a veto December 28, while you were sleeping off your eggnog.
According to Congressional Quarterly, Bush
A strange thing happened over the holidays. It appears the anti-nuke
crowd got cordoned off at Hippy Hollow.
An abbreviated Houston Chronicle story that ran in the X-News listed two Austin groups as opposing our City-owned CPS's plans for two new nuclear plants. While I would have thought an astute copy desk editor would have made an effort here, the story stood.
Stranger yet, when the local daily's energy writer "localized" the story in a recent blog, she failed to include local groups. Who was it storming the CPS meetings downtown and following the utility's PR flacks on the speaking circuit with bullhorns? Well, those would be San Antonians, many unaffiliated, but including members of the Southwest Workers Union and the Alamo Area Sierra Club. There have been folks up from Kingsville and Goliad, where uranium mining is happening and may be on the way, respectively. And there have been the Austin groups, too, without a doubt.
The problem with the X-News representation is that it makes the whole matter appear to be an outsider issue. In truth it is an issue the whole region is contending with. The day that CPS took their vote approving $216 million for nuke-related projects, there were some comments made about the Austin "crazies" causing a ruckus. But as folks from South Texas started taking the mic and explaining what uranium exploration and mining is already doing to regional water supplies some utility folks were given pause. The realization that this is anything but an Austin-vs-SA issue was very clear that day, if it hasn't been clear in the local paper of late.
Meanwhile, a national campaign by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service opposing the reanimation of the country's nuclear power industry has enlisted 416 U.S. organizations, 146 international, as well as more than 6,000 individuals. Pretty good considering they're not the most prominent non-prof out there…
"We do not support construction of new nuclear reactors as a means of addressing the climate crisis. Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power."
Texas signers to date:
Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, Austin, TX
South Texas Opposes Pollution, Martindale, TX
Collective Vision, La Marque, TX
Oil Patch Democrats, Houston, TX
Environment Texas, Austin, TX
Southwest Workers Union, San Antonio, TX
El Paso Regional Sierra Club Group, Sierra Blanca, TX
Texas Fund for Nuclear Responsibility, Austin, TX
Texas Center for Policy Studies, Austin, TX
Garcia Hill Residents Opposed to Uranium Mining, Kingsville, TX
While the local Sierra Club hasn't signed yet (they weren't familiar with NIRS when we contacted them this week about it), their energy policy recommendations to the city are clearly contra-nuclear.
It'd be nice if readers of the X-News were allowed full access to the actual dynamics of resistence at work here.