“And another one bites the dust.”
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
Before we get into last year, here are the last of the letters that somehow found their way home.
Local and international photographer Bryan Rindfuss wishes us well.
Happy New Year!
Hope you are having a great holiday season. Just a note that we are having an exhibition at the UTSA Satellite Space, opening this Thursday, Jan. 1, 6-9, and First Friday, Jan. 2, 6-9pm. Please join us for some great work by Anne Wallace, Joey Fauerso, Karen Mahaffy, Julia Barbosa-Landois, Guillermina Zabala, and myself.!!
#3 Circlebirds Need A Gig
Will, a recent transplant from College Station is trying to find a gig for his band on either January 11, 12, or the 14th. Perhaps one of the two or three readers here have some ideas?
Hey Mark! Thanks so much for all the help. Here's the myspace for the band, as well as a track from their demo. It's a 4 piece band.
Auld Lang Syne
Unlike last year where I observed the turning of the year from a peak atop Monte Vista, this time I was in the valley of Beacon Hill. This wasn’t better or worse. A dizzying view was replaced by an amazing assortment of food – hummus, naan bread pizza, celery marinated in vinegar and sriracha (quite amazing), chocolate dipped strawberries, some ancient form of whiskey known as Apple Jack and other foodie specialties. Too many in fact to try at once, as the majority of them were first overlooked.
A good crowd.
A cherry on the bottom.
Matt the Morning DJ was without his moustache but this cherry in his Apple Jack whiskey was a good touch.
Adam Smith's Mark Jones' "Invisible Hands."
Misadventures in pet photography.
The Tunnels of Gaza
The current humanitarian disaster in Palestine is pretty much an embarrassment to the Western world for doing nothing to stop it, at best, and at worst, aiding in the destruction.
There is a tendency to speak in Old Testament values of an eye for an eye, but that assumes the situation is somehow equal. I can’t say I know an incredible amount about the situation in Palestine but I did help my friend Nida edit a documentary about Palestine called Palestine Blues, and in my limited perspective of watching the footage that was shot in Palestine, it’s hard not to sympathize with their cause.
Basically, they have no rights and are treated as third class citizens on their own land. “Palestine” is completely divided up into non-contiguous zones and travel between these areas is controlled by Israel. The footage I saw pertained to the creation of the illegal border wall built by Israel. The path of the wall was completely opportunistic for Israel as it didn’t at all follow the more recent agreed upon boundary, but instead would work to advantageously put certain water rich areas of Palestine into Israel control. In any other scenario this is an act of war. But when Palestine resists, it’s seen as “not allowing the right of Israel to exist.”
It’s an amazing trick of blaming the victim in this situation but it’s not like there haven’t been precedents for this in our own history.
Gaza probably has it the worst of any of the regions on Palestine. I’ve read that it’s the most densely populated area in the World. This is another way of saying it’s a containment camp, if not a prison.
I can’t imagine Israel is going to benefit long-term from blockading all supplies from going into Gaza, not to mention of course bombing the city into oblivion (schools and hospitals included) if not invading it by land. On the most basic fundamental level, even as simple as chemistry, one knows that it is difficult to create something out of it’s opposite. To create peace you have to be peaceful. Destroying a population only guarantees more war. It’s an unequal equation. Israel is inviting chaos by creating chaos for Palestine.
Somehow this isn’t obvious by now.
Anyway, Gaza is so desperate since the blockade of last year (where they can hardly get any supplies at all) that they’ve resorted to digging tunnels into Eqypt to get access outside of Gaza.
This is what prisoners do.
The fact that the number one job in Gaza is digging tunnels should clearly indicate the prison they’ve been forced to live in. And like a prison, the main currency is weapons and cigarettes, but other more crucial supplies are brought across as well.
Here is a fascinating video (much better than the one embedded at the top) that explains the Tunnels of Gaza and gives a backdrop for what is going on now. it has it's perspective, as does everything including me, but it's at least more in depth then what one will find in the U.S. media. (Embedding was disabled by the producers.)
I'll get out here before getting into Obama's lame, short-changed response to the situation...
A Completely Incomplete Year in Review (Cliff Notes Version)
Wall-E - not as good as everyone thought it was. An indication of how bad the year in film actually was, with a foreshadow of the grim prospects ahead. I'm not saying it wasn't a "good" movie but it tickled the brain more than it fully delivered a substantial punch.
The Batman Movie - was a good movie, maybe even great. It suceeded in painting shades of grey, but the "two barge moral lesson" at the end seemed out of place with how Batman (our hero?) had drifted into his own abyss chasing monsters.
Man on Wire - My favorite movie of the year. Wonderfully French, yet filled with tense drama to keep it from getting too contemplative for a mass audience, which isn't to say it had great success as it only played a week at the Bijou.
Let the Right One In - I'm not even sure if this vampire movie is playing in San Antonio. Completely Scandanavian, at least as far I've convinced myself. Reminded me of the original version of the movie The Vanishing in the moral ambiguities it posed, which once was the foundation of drama. Moments of surreality burst through the moments of hyperreality. A film for lovers.
I'm completely blank on anything else I've seen this year that even stands out for good or bad. Passage of time as I got to make a smoothie and think it over...
...yeah, nothing. I'm sure I saw a bad sports movie at some point but it's escaping me, as is everything else.
Ankles - Ginobili's ankle issues may not have completely gone away, not to mention young messiah Ian Mahinmi has two bad ankles which have kept him out for the year, making Tim Duncan's job all the more difficult.
Last Second Shots - Roger Mason Jr. has already hit two clutch shots to help win a game. The Spurs have been in a ton of close games already this year, and as we've won many of them, it is uncertain if the team is showing great resolve, or if they're just getting lucky.
Can We Win One More? - That was the question last year. It's the same this time around. We have 3 "youngish" players contributing who weren't last year, yet, it's difficult to say if the team is slowly fading, or if we're just flying under the radar once again. I expect that narrative to continue for the next 2 seasons, with the 2010 free agent class bringing clarity to our 3rd act, or is it denoument?
Fuel prices have quickly dropped in half but yet things don't feel any better. With a shortage of credit and with the relatively cheaper fuel, there seems to be little impetus for any grand voyage into a new direction. Even Slim T. Boone Pickens can't get his wind farm. Basically, everything is at a standstill. Randomly, I went to the mall today to return some items. As luck would have it, Dillards was having a one day 50% off sale on a majority of items. There was some pandemonium but moments like that may actually become more common as stores feel the need to kickstart sales.
I've been slowly looking for an efficiency to rent. Should I wait a few months to see if things get worse/better? But will a further downturn in the national economy only mean that more people move to San Antonio (and Texas for that matter) thinking things will be better here?
The next 3 months are a mystery...
And that concludes the year in review.
Final thought - I'll be undergoing some sort of juice fast for the next five days. I'll try to keep nightly updates on the state of things but no guarantees.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Happy 2009, everyone. Tonight we're kicking off 2009 with the parentheses-happy Hawks (of Holy Rosary) (who'll be playing their first acoustic show ever [they're ordinarily very much plugged-in]) at GIG on the Strip. The show is free and open to all ages. Marcus Rubio and the Gospel Choir of Pillows and Nick Krill lead singer and guitarist for the Wilmington, Delaware- based Spinto Band will also perform. Doors open at 9 p.m.
By Gilbert Garcia
CBS reporter Roger Mudd noted during his infamous 1979 interview special with Ted Kennedy that, off the campaign stump, the Massachusetts senator "can become stilted, elliptical, and at times appear as if he really doesn't want America to get to know him."
Couldn't the exact same words be applied to Teddy's niece, Caroline, as she makes an awkward public show of her desire to win appointment to the United States Senate?
It's easy to mock Caroline for her grating, habitual use of the expression "you know," a tic which she apparently used more than 200 times during a recent 30-minute interview. That verbal placeholder reminds us that, for all her celebrity, she's basically a neophyte at public speaking. But if verbal elegance was a Capitol Hill prerequisite, how did Gerald Ford or Michele Bachmann ever make it there?
A little vocal coaching can help Kennedy with her presentation, but it can't solve the bigger problem. Much like Uncle Teddy in his 1980 presidential bid (which the Mudd interview was meant to kick-start), she just doesn't appear to have the stomach for this whole enterprise. She clearly likes the idea of being an Obama-era U.S. Senator, but hasn't thought much about the reality of it. Granted, Hillary Clinton's Senate seat opened up without a whole lot of warning, but Caroline's lack of preparedness on the issues is still pretty startling.
Her natural reticence has always made her appealing from a distance; an involuntary public figure who didn't need -- or want -- public adulation. After all, this is someone who co-authored a book about the right to privacy. It's interesting -- and kinda strange -- that although Kennedy has spent 48 years in the national spotlight, we've learned more about her in the last two weeks (admittedly, not all that much) than we ever knew before.
Reticence can be a fine quality in the real world, but in politics, it's crippling. If you can't work up some good emotional contrivance for the public on demand, you're unlikely to win a seat on anything bigger than a small-town school board. Bill Clinton could summon a television tear faster than you could say "Gennifer Flowers," and that intrinsic phoniness saved his political ass on numerous occasions. But that phoniness was just a manifestation of a steely drive, an all-consuming hunger for the brass ring, that also made him an effective leader.
Ted Kennedy ran for the presidency by rote, seemingly compelled by some kind of family obligation to fulfill the destiny of his brothers. He only seemed to locate his fire when the race was lost and the pressure was off. Caroline doesn't appear to have a comparable fire to locate. She's the opposite of a happy warrior -- more like a sheepish equivocator. She wants elective office without the election, because her idea of serving the voters doesn't include having to humble herself before those voters.
It's easy to understand those feelings, but harder to sympathize. The Senate doesn't really need her, and she obviously doesn't need the Senate, so what's the point?
The 2008 Alamo Bowl didn't sell quite as many tickets as in recent years, as a fair number of empty seats were plainly obvious. But the game was easily one of the most thrilling contests of the 2008 bowl season so far, as the heavily favored Missouri Tigers managed to pull out a 30-23 overtime win over the determined but not quite good enough Northwestern Wildcats. The win gave Mizzou back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history. The loss left Northwestern still in search of their first bowl win since the 1949 Rose Bowl.
Each team had a corner of rabid fans sitting by their respective bands, while the middle of the field seats seemed preoccupied by local fans who had less of a stake in the contest. Such are the dynamics of college bowl games. But everyone got their money's worth with this game. Northwestern controlled the first half, but blew a couple of scoring opportunities and therefore held only a 10-3 lead shortly before halftime. Mizzou's All-American dynamo Jeremy Maclin took a 75-yard punt return back for a TD right before the half though to tie the game 10-10 at halftime.
Veteran observers might have expected the 12-point underdog Wildcats to fold at that point, but these aren't the "Mildcats" of old. Northwestern came out and scored the first points of the second half on a 46-yard TD pass from C.J. Bacher to Rasheed Ward. But kicker Amado Villareal bounced the extra point off the goalpost, leaving the Wildcats with only a 16-10 lead. It's a shame that this miss will haunt Villareal and Northwestern for the next year, and possibly much longer, but that's big time college sports.
Mizzou scored to go up 17-16, and then added a 43-yard field goal from Jeff Wolfert for a 20-16 lead. Northwestern came back with a 23-yard TD pass from Bacher to Ross Lane to go back on top 23-20 and seize the momentum at the end of the third quarter. The purple-clad Northwestern fans may not have brought quite as many fans to San Antonio as some of their Big 10 brethren have in recent years, but the contingent that came was as loud and raucous as you'll find in a second-tier bowl game.
The Northwestern defense held Mizzou's ace QB Chase Daniel in check for much of the game, intercepting him three times. But Daniel led the Tigers down the field for a 37-yard FG by Wolfert that tied the game at 23 with 2:49 to go. Wolfert then had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but pushed a 44-yard attempt wide that could have won it. Northwestern had a new lease on life, and won the overtime coin toss, which meant they got to choose to go on defense first. The flip side was that Mizzou was able to choose for the action to take place at their end of the field, which became a factor.
Daniel hit Maclin for a 7-yard TD pass on the first possession of overtime that gave the Tigers a 30-23 lead. But with the way this game had gone, most were expecting double-overtime. The Mizzou fans showed they could be plenty loud and raucous themselves as their cheering reached a fever pitch on the following third-down play that saw a ferocious Tiger blitz sack Northwestern's Bacher, who also fumbled. The Wildcats recovered but were left with a desperate fourth-and-goal from the 32-yard line for the game.
Bacher's subsequent heave into the end zone was knocked down, and the Tigers stormed the field to celebrate. Mizzou's fans exploded with joy, as the Big 12 seized early superiority over the Big 10 this bowl season. The conferences will meet again when the No. 3 ranked Texas Longhorns take on the No. 10 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl on January 5. Vegas has established the Longhorns as 10-point favorites, but if the Alamo Bowl is any indication, expect another down-to-the-wire thriller in Arizona. A fair number of Longhorn fans were in the house at the Alamo Bowl, as were a handful of Buckeyes, both rooting for their conference siblings to uphold the honor of the conference.
The 2008 Alamo Bowl will surely rank as one of the most heartbreaking contests in school history for Northwestern. One could plainly see this disappointment on the faces of the purple-clad fans as they exited the Alamodome. But they can take heart in how it seems that 34-year-old head coach Pat Fitzgerald has clearly got the Wildcats headed in the right direction just to be in such a situation. Mizzou on the other hand loses Daniel and star tight end Chase Coffman (who made several amazing catches) to graduation, and likely Maclin as well to early NFL departure. Whether they can win big without these stars next season is a major question mark. It will be interesting to track how the two programs fare next season.
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
The creek hasn't completely dried up just yet. The trickles of the week...
#1 Bonnes fetes de fins d annee
From the local French community…
Bonjour a tous j espere que vous allez passer de bonne fetes de fins d annee entoure de gens que vous aimez ...Je pense bien a vous... au plaisir de se lire sur le net....amities
#2 Nativity with Birds
Nativity with Birds, Austin, TX, 12.19.2008
can now be viewed at http://www.barrystone.com/
Though these freshly silk-screened flyers were given away at the end of the fake moustache party at Fl!ght Gallery, it does serve as a nice introduction to the Stash Porn (which has nothing to do with the more common porn stash.)
And lost in all the mustachioed shenanigans, the event was also a benefit for the now fertile South Presa Community Garden, a garden I had too soon written off for its lack of "fecundity".
The Gallery of Mustaches
Somewhere between Hitler and Ghandi? In truth, much closer to the "Tramp", Charlie Chaplin (though I was always more of a Buster Keaton man myself.)
Rolly Fingers meets Pancho Villa.
A fake moustache with a lower carbon footprint.
Also possibly real, which made the night a hall of mirrors.
Though there were mustaches everywhere, it wasn't just about the mustache. And sadly, because of that many people showed up late thinking they could avoid the situation altogether.
Luckily, there were options.
Inside the gallery Buttercup played a modest but full set. The amps didn't go to 11 but the energy was high. The lineup permutations can often be as exciting as the full band, as no one is quite sure what direction they will pursue for the night.
And to conclude, mustaches were not the only thing to be grown.
Fireside Chat with Congressman Al (Roster Spots 1 -15 Discussed
Though the once "famous" fireside chats with former congressional aspirant Congressman Al have probably receded into memory, we bring them back one more time with an extended discussion on the San Antonio Spurs. We give a "state of the union" analysis of the entire team, going through every roster spot adding imprecise and self-congratulatory analysis. Oh yeah, it's long.
The mainstream media deserves a toxic lump of coal in their collective stocking this year for their atrocious lack of coverage regarding the suspicious death of Republican IT guru Mike Connell last weekend.
Connell died when his plane went down near the Canton/Akron airport in Ohio on Friday night. The indie media has been ablaze with stories about how circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Connell’s plane was sabotaged in order to stop him from whistle blowing about vote fraud efforts by the Republican Party, particularly in regards to Ohio’s pivotal vote in the 2004 presidential election.
CBS finally ran a story yesterday, but CNN, the Washington Post and New York Times continue their blackout. Their silence is yet another deafening indictment of how the mainstream media appears to have a gate-keeper that works to suppress information that would threaten the status quo powers-that-be. "All the news that's fit to print," New York Times?
Investigative reporter and NYU media studies professor Mark Crispin Miller has been one of the leading voices on this story. He appeared on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now radio program to discuss on Monday and has been updating his blog with further intriguing insights. An excerpt from Democracy Now:
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I cannot assert with perfect
confidence that this was no accident, but I will say that the
circumstances are so suspicious and so convenient for Rove and the
White House that I think we’re obliged to investigate this thing very,
very thoroughly. And that means, first of all, taking a close look at
some of the stories that were immediately circulated to account for
what happened, that it was bad weather. That was the line they used
when Wellstone’s plane went down. There had been bad weather, but it
had passed two hours before. And this comes from a woman at the airport
information desk in Akron. We’re told that his plane was running out of
gas, which is a little bit odd for a highly experienced pilot like
Connell, but apparently, when the plane went down, there was an
explosion, a fireball that actually charred and pocked some of the
house fronts in the neighborhood. People can go online and see the
footage that news crews took. But beyond the, you know, dubiousness of
the official story, we have to take a close look at—and a serious look
at all the charges that Connell was set to make.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, he had asked the Attorney General Mukasey for protective custody, because of threats to him and his wife?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: He reported threats to his lawyer,
Cliff Arnebeck, and Arnebeck—also, Velvet Revolution heard from
tipsters, as well, tipsters who also claimed that Connell’s life was at
risk. Stephen Spoonamore, the whistleblower who was the first—who was
the one to name Connell in the first place, also had an ear to the
inside. He’s also very connected. And all these people were saying Rove
is making threats, the White House is very worried about this case.
Also, here’s John Byrne, of RAW STORY, on Randy Cole’s dismissal of suggestions of foul play in Connell’s death. Cole is former president of Connell’s company, GovTech solutions:
The piece includes a paragraph on the weather in Akron on the night of Connell’s fatal crash:
“RAW STORY was able to secure the weather data from the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) in Ashville, North Caroline. (Available here, with legend for interpreting data here). For the crash event time window between 5:35PM and approximately 6PM EST, visibility was 9-10 miles in broken cloud cover and temperatures hovered just above freezing, contradicting the 1 mile claim in the Akron Beacon Journal.”Then there's some funny business from the NY Times regarding a press release from Velvet Revolution about the story:
The Express-News reported last week on how Caterpillar Inc. has decided to build their new $170 million engine-manufacturing plant in nearby Seguin, which will employ more than 1,400 people.
“It's wonderful news,” Seguin Mayor Betty Ann Matthies said in the story. “By a large margin, it is the biggest incentive package we have ever put together. It's a boost for the whole region, San Marcos, New Braunfels — their work force will come from the whole area. It's big and I'm so proud to be a part of it.”
The story also reported that Gov. Rick Perry's office announced it's putting up $10 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to sweeten the deal. “This investment in Caterpillar will not only create high-paying jobs for Texans, but will strengthen our state's overall economic situation,” Perry said in a statement.
Caterpillar calls itself "the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines." But how proud should South Texas be to host a company that is being sued by the parents of activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed in 2003 when she was run over by a Caterpillar bulldozer as she attempted to protest the Israeli bull-dozing of Palestinian homes? The Express-News coverage had nary a mention of this skeleton in Caterpillar's closet.
For more on the lawsuit, see:
Family of American Woman Killed by Military Bulldozer Files Suit Against Caterpillar, Inc.
Family of Rachel Corrie Charges Bulldozer Manufacturer Knowingly Sold Machines Used to Violate Human Rights
Even if humankind came down sick all of a sudden and fell down dead, so much of what we have built would live on after us. At least for a few years.
Your lovely wood frame home at the corked end of that traffic-limiting cul-de-sac would be overrun and overgrown in just a few decades. Time and the elements would completely wash it away within 500 years.
Here’s what it would look like as it is overtaken by roaches, rats, and other natural processes, courtesy of the website for the book The World Without Us:
From the Current's "National Affairs" desk comes the sickening type of news we can probably expect to see more of as the Bush/Cheney regime exits the White House and attempts to cover the tracks of their many criminal misdeeds.
A GOP consultant who was apparently Karl Rove's right-hand IT guy was killed in a suspicious plane crash in Ohio this weekend. Circumstantial evidence seems to indicate that Mike Connell was the guy who could have revealed just how the GOP rigged the 2004 vote in Ohio to swing that election to Mr. Bush. Several stories about this are now making waves across the indie media news wires:
GOP consultant killed in plane crash was warned of sabotage: report
John Byrne, David Edwards and Stephen Webster
Published: Monday December 22, 2008
Raw Story had previously reported in September on how Connell was a "high-level Republican consultant" who had been subpoenaed in a case alleging tampering with the 2004 election, see:
Further reporting comes from the ever vigilant watchdogs at Infowars.com and Velvet Revolution:
Bush Insider Who Planned To Tell All Killed In Plane Crash, Non-Profit Demands Full Federal Investigation
A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell's life was in jeopardy and that United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell's not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR's attorney, , notified the
On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove. The judge ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election. Velvet Revolution received confidential information that the White House was extremely concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to represent him...
VR demands that the Justice Department conduct a complete investigation into the activities of Mr. Connell and determine whether there was any foul play in his death. VR demands that federal law enforcement officials place the following people under protective custody pending this investigation. Heather Connell who is the owner of GovTech Solutions, Randy Cole, the former President of GovTech Solutions, and Jeff Averbeck, the CEO of SmartTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Both GovTech and SmartTech have been implicated in the rigging of the 2000 and 2004 elections and the White House email scandal. Our prior request to have Mr. Connell protected went unheeded and now he is dead.Meanwhile, the silence of the mainstream media is deafening. Connell's crash is being reported by local outlets, but the the suspicious circumstances and implications are being skirted, as is to be expected. Connell's death doesn't even warrant mention on Google News's "Top Stories" front page. There's lots of reporting about the Denver plane crash in which no one was killed though - Google News returns 3,247 stories there.
She wrote cutely about her husband’s affinity for leftovers. ‘Oh, the big goof!” we can hear Suburban Mom guffawing with a shake of the head as fresh disposable plastic storage containers dance in the frostless fridge.
I responded that my leftovers are actually left on the stove to gently mold over before being warmed for consumption again the next day. She “unfollowed” me immediately.
See, we weren’t friends — just mutual followers in the microblogging world of Twitter. And, let’s be clear here, she followed me first.
It’s strange how relationships form and fracture in micro-blogging communities. As the stream of observations, from the inane to the completely obtuse, roll down the screen, participating in the Twitterverse like getting a snapshot of the noosphere, that philosophized metaphysical realm of group thought now technologically redefined simply as The Cloud.
Suburban Mom wasn’t to be. But, to the platform community's credit, I’ve maintained longer relationships with folks that are even further distance from my particular ideological stripe. What connects us is an appreciation for community. So far, that group appreciation has guarded our world from the flame-warring of too many Internet chat rooms and news sites.
Recently a fellow Twitteratti accused me of writing under the influence of too much caffeine. The poster may have been on track there, though it was unclear if he was critiquing a particular story or my writing in general. As we popped refining notes back and forth, understanding came slowly. All said, I came away if not a better man, per se, one that had been reminded to shape up my news writing by offering links to additional resources and actionable options.
My most recent feature on terminally ill Rafael Garcia, my new friend said, is a bitch. BUT WHAT CAN WE DO?
The media miasma that is around-the-clock news cycles merging with exploding Webshots of rehashed and recontexualized around-the-clock news cycle offerings has folks overloaded and shell-shocked, according to several recent studies. That condition requires news writers to dig dipper into context — and offer solutions for the steady stream of bad-news nuggets we dish.
The sense of personal power is vital to communal, democratic functioning. Without it, expect nothing but increased governmental oppression and withering rights.
While Rafael’s story was the first in which I was careful to include action links at the bottom, I must continue mea culpas for any past damages my unanchored mouthiness has created. And by way of update and encouragement, I write this morning:
Rafael’s hard case, thank you for asking, is nearing resolution. Methodist Children’s administrators are working to set the family up with the home nursing care by early January. But during this turbulent past month, the family has suffered a lot. Those who offered words of encouragement were deeply appreciated. I was particularly touched to hear that 22 UPS employees based at the Callahan-410 office had pooled their money to buy Rafael a Wii system to help him keep his upper body active and healthy until he is home again with regular physical therapy.
While this individual case appears headed toward something like resolution, fixing health care in Texas is obviously a much larger fight.
riding a season-high six game winning streak, the San Antonio Spurs came back
to Earth this week with a pair of grueling losses on the NBA road. Chris Paul
and the Hornets kicked off the skid by avenging their Western Conference semi-finals
Game 7 loss to the Spurs in
night, the Spurs bounced back in the
It's almost election day!
The Library of Congress will announce its 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films” for 2008 -- that is, this year's inductees to the National Film Registry -- at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, December 30.
That leaves 10 days to vote, if you haven't yet, for the Current's officially endorsed candidate (or mine, at the very least): Paul Verhoeven's 1987 masterpiece of dark comedy and pointed satire, Robocop.
Why? Well, here's my reasoning.
[And a very merry Christmas to you and yours.]
The future has a silver lining.
OK, that first sentence of my blog post is an abomination, for which I apologize, y'all. Unfortunately our blog doesn't let you edit, and I'm too Friday-night lazy to delete and re-post with all the links and whatnot.
MORE IMPORTANTLY: The LGBT Archives flickr slideshow is by Enrique Valdivia,
First, a little backstory.
I’ve had some really interesting conversations with readers of the Hap Veltman/HAPPY Foundation LGBT archives stor(ies), which you can find here.
I’ve gotten questions I’ve gotten is about Mr. Veltman’s early life, who his family were, etc. So I figured I’d post this timeline, which there wasn’t room for in that week’s paper issue.
Hap’s Historical Timeline
June 23, 1936 Arthur P. “Hap” Veltman born in San Antonio, Texas. His father, Arthur “Pat” Veltman, was a Major League outfielder from 1926 to 1934, and played with the Chicago White Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the (then-)Boston Braves and the New York Giants. (!)
1950s-1960 Hap Veltman attends St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, then Rice University, earns a business degree from the University of Texas, and studies at St. Mary’s Law School
1960s the Rabbit Habit on Mulberry launches Hap into local business/ entrepreneurial spotlight
1968 the Kangaroo Court opens, and is the first new significant nightlife/restaurant business on the Riverwalk in over twenty years
late 60 early ‘70s the Casino Club Building, Losoya building are developed, as are restaurants such as the Big Bend and the Greenhouse (with Yvonne Woods)
1973 The San Antonio Country opens with Gene Elder as general manager, Happy meets partner Kenneth Garrett
1981 The San Antonio Country is closed after being bought out, in a much-publicized series of legal wranglings, by Valero Energy
1981 The Bonham Exchange opens
1983 The San Antonio Conservation Society, in concert with Veltman’s Aztec Development Partnership, bids to save the historic Aztec theatre as a permanent home for the San Antonio Symphony (a 1986 municipal bond to buy it and the Majestic, however, fails to pass)
1985 Hap Veltman and Bernard Lifshutz buy the Blue Star Distribution Center, then a compound of run-down tire warehouses, as a home for contemporary arts
1986 The first Blue Star exhibition opens on July 1, featuring fifty-six works by twenty-seven local artists, both unknowns and established artists such as Richard Thompson, James Cobb, and John Tweddle. The exhibition draws over 3,500 visitors during the following month and has since become an annual event.
September 1988 the HAPPY Foundation established in Hap Veltman’s will
December 3, 1988 Arthur Hap Veltman passes away from complications due to HIV/AIDS at the age of 52, survived by family members Kenneth Garrett, Wade Strauch, Gene Elder, his mother Florence, and brother Robert.
Happy’s Photo Show
One of my favorite holiday events this year was the photography show/party at the Bonham Exchange, put on by Hap’s partner Kenneth Garrett, and his best friend/archivist Gene Elder on 12/3, the 20th anniversary of Hap's death.
There were drinks and food and music and great conversation and the photos themselves were amazing. Hap was talented in that arena as well. One of my favorites depicted Hap squatting in the Gulf Coast sand in front of a Mercedes in li’l bitty shorts. But f you wanna see it, you'll have to buy it from Kenny.
Anyway, here’s host Kenneth Garrett with art patron and bon vivant Rick Liberto (as always, forgive my bad iPhone photos)
Here’s some views of the excellent party.
It was moving and great to meet more of Hap’s friends. A really remarkable group of people.
LGBT Archives Biz
Incidentally, here’s a pretty bad iPhone photo of a GORGEOUS photo of the original staff at the San Antonio Country, Hap Veltman’s pre-Bonham gay disco. Recognize anyone? Gene’s in the pith helmet.
Furthermore, Gene e-mailed me recently to let me know of a Flickr slideshow of the Archives!
His e-mail reads, in part:
“With Annalisa Peace, Jane Henry and Bill Sibley.
See the Trojan with a Mount Rushmore stamp on it that I made to pass out years ago. See Annalisa holding up something to the camera that we can not remember what that was. See picture of Gene Elder and Ray Chavez as the Fall Fairies in the 1974 ballet Fairies Fiasco.
See the tsunami of information that I have collected.
It’s a terrific slideshow and really shows what the Archives are like. Go be amazed here.
Also, the HAPPY Foundation would like you to know that a series of three sculptures by sculptor Michael Bigger, that once resided in the “island” in front of the Josephine Theatre, have gone missing. The sculptures were dedicated in a public ceremony to Hap’s memory. Gene’s been on the case for some time, and reminds the Current that “the past President of Conservation Society had offered to pay for the repair last time this happened and to help with a plaque.”
Finally, he’s got a little traction with the City; James LeFlore, artist and San Antonio Public Art and Design Enhancement Program manager, has written Gene Elder back, thusly: “…I will check with Parks and Public Works to see if any city crews have been involved recently in picking up the artworks. As you may recall, Parks department was involved in picking up the fallen sculpture last time these were damaged and I didn’t find out from them until you, Virginia Nicholas, and I too started asking questions. Maybe that is the case again this time. Can you email or call me to go over what exactly has happened this time?”
Let’s hope the sculptures are found, repaired, and re-installed.
Get those shitty shaken martini jokes ready, cause tonight we're headed to Bond’s 007 Rock Bar (450 Soledad) to check out local thrash metallurgists Deadpool. As previously reported, the band was recently endorsed by Halo Guitars, so we'll see if guitarist Carlos Lopez earns his shiny new axe, emblazoned with the band's logo.
And that's not the only perk of working for the man. Mistress Juliya of Fuse TV and Maxim fame will host the concert as part of her Slave to the Metal tour. Use your best James Bond lines on her if you like, but don't be surprised if she uses metal's international hand gesture to gouge out your bedroom eyes. Tickets are $10 for this all-ages show. The doors open at 9 p.m., and the band is scheduled to take the stage around 11:30.
Just as highways, once built, never freakin’ disappear, multi-million dollar walls have this habit of staying in place — at least until the empire crumbles, and sometimes not even then.
While the money interests behind guns heading south from the U.S. and the drugs they help bring back to our nightclubs, suburbs, and street corners are able to bribe, blitz, and tunnel their way across the border, poor laborers and their families are caught in the crossfire.
So, too, are the struggling wetlands working to make this water safe to swim in again after its flowing through El Paso del Norte. Migratory birds, resident riverine creatures, and endangered species whose vital habitat running along the Rio Grande are finding their habitats sliced in two.
At this despoiled stretch of recovered wetland Wednesday we saw the first display of direct action to stop the Border Wall’s construction.
Writes Brenda Norrell for the Narcosphere:
Letter(s) (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
Again, this facebook thing is watering everything down. It’s like analog vs. digital all over again.
Compare how many of the IMDB top 250 you've seen
I came in at 75.6%. Working next to a video store certainly did hurt things. In fact that video store might be my only connection left to A-town. I think my last name is still my secret username. That’s either respect or someone hasn't cleaned out the hard drive yet.
#2 Freak Dog
now go get freaky.
It was a point well taken.
Consider this a full-on tease for the upcoming Travels with Frenchie column for the paper edition. We threw ourselves across the city until we eventually stopped on the ever-changing NE side. Though North by Northwest gets all the love, I would suggest not to sleep on the NE. Though Stone Oak is a distance from the city center it also, for the moment, suggests its own sense of home. The NE by contrast seems more like the beginning of an escape to Austin, if not New Braunfels. But there is hidden gold around there, to be sure.
In the last issue of the month there will be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
At 1906 S. Flores on Second Saturday, there was a huge outpouring of people. A fabled musician was to play later that evening, as well as locals Boxcar Satan who have also “spanned time”.
And even if the music was part of the draw to get people to attend, I can’t imagine photographer Thomas Cummins complaining about the traffic.
Lightboxes in the corner.
A discussion of the methods and materials.
Banjo, harmonica, and clippings.
Eugene Chadbourne played a fine set, seeming to improvise certain song lyrics from reading out of a book. Or maybe it was a newspaper. There was a lot of “Iraq” and “bailout” being thrown around but in a random way that skated over any sort of protest song.
At the end of the set he busted out an electric hand rake and made some intense feedback sounds going over some leaves, as well as a few bicycles tied up to a pole.
The ghost of Ben Judson. Bicycles unscathed.
Ghost Taco Truck (And the Windcrest of the SW Side)
Monday night with temperatures in the high 30s might have been the worst night of the year to seek out new taco trucks on the West side. What was there on Martin Street on November 1st was not to be found again, not would I have expected it to be. But it was worth a look.
The West side is interesting in that of all of San Antonio it has the least bland repetition found in other parts of the city. Northside San Antonio could be Northside Cleveland, or any other place with the right weather, but our West side uniquely defines San Antonio. And paradoxically, it’s probably because of the fact that it feels the most isolated, unchanged, and overlooked. If George Orwell was right that city politics is best understood as one big real estate development, then where does that leave us? Running around, scared of our own shadow?
This is all well known but was reinforced on a recent city-wide dragnet for taco trucks. No taco trucks were found but as we drifted further south around Nogalitos we ended up in some version of the Windcrest of the Southwest side. (There was also a chunk of city blocks named after writers. When I saw Lardner, I didn’t think it was a reference to Ring Lardner but evidently it was.)
A carousel of lights.
Enjoy the holidays.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Part 2: Never the Same River Twice
The SAMA River Landing
BY SARAH FISCH
Note: you can find my first river development story, “Water Under the Bridge(s)”, here.
O mighty San Antonio River, majestic headwaters of our city’s glorious birth. …Where the hell are you?
On the very cold morning of the 10th of December, during a media preview/tour of the under-construction SAMA River Landing, the riverwater itself was missing. It’s gone from a lot of the river-redeveloping area, I notice…being held in mechanical abeyance, I guess. (In storage?) The dug-out channel place-holding for it in SAMA’s back yard/construction site was little more than a damp ditch. Still and yet, the lack of water seemed to heighten the atmosphere of giddy expectation on the part of SAMA peeps, media, and developers, as though to say: wait ‘til the river sees what we’ve built for it.
The landing project is very cool, as it happens. This Spring, visitors will be able to glide up to the SAMA landing in barges like art-seeking Cleopatras, disembark along a pleasant stretch of xeriscaped, terraced public space twards a whole new compound of colonnaded walkways and a redone façade, and even navigate a footbridge whose finials echo the unique, Victorian parapet-like structures adorning the uppermost reaches of the old brewery.
Before the construction tour began, Marion Oettinger, Director of the San Antonio Museum of Art, described a historical print of the old Lone Star Brewery in his offices which portrayed the river as a coursing vein of rolling rapids.
No shit? I thought. …Rapids? Was it ever really like that? The only San Antonio River I’ve ever known is the sleepy, dawdling green canal that my mother’s Midwestern relatives, who dwelt on or near the banks of the Mississippi, would laugh at when they visited.
“That’s no river,” they’d say.
This always hurt my feelings, as a kid.
(A digression: I experienced a similar hangdog feeling during televised NASA space walks of my 70s/8s childhood, during which astronauts were always addressing Houston. “Houston, we have a problem. Houston, there’s a beautiful earth out tonight. Houston, we seem to be on fucking fire.” Of course, I eventually found out that NASA’s headquartered in Houston. But as a little kid, I thought: Jesus, couldn’t they shout-out to San Antonio just once? We were never mentioned on Dallas, either.)
Linda Hardberger, in her brief and charming address to the tour-ees, humorously echoed my childhood riverway inferiority issues when she suggested that the San Antonio isn’t a goddamn river at all! Actually, that’s not what she said. As a sort of aside, our city’s First Lady remarked: “According to some people, it’s not even a river.” She quickly added, “BUT WE CAN CALL IT A RIVER.” (Caps mine.)
Damn straight, Linda! What it lacks in liquid volume it more than makes up for in mythic history, as it winds its way through our embattled cultural identi(ies).
Nutshell historical timeline: as y’all probably already know: the river was first described by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1535, (the same year Henry VIII axed Thomas More, incidentally.) Actually, it must’ve been described for thousands of years before that, or alluded to at least, by the pre-Euro locals. On June 13, 1691 (same year the Spanish Inquisition “forcibly baptized” 219 Conversos in Palma Majorca, incidentally), it was named the San Antonio after St. Anthony de Padua on his feast day. Then…fast-forwarding a bit…the city of San Antonio was founded in 1718, Canary islanders, yadda yadda, missions ensued, Comanches-Alamo-WPA-Hap Veltman-current “Hooters Era”- and now the River Expansion/hopes and dreams, hopes and dreams. Y’all can look this all up.
The SAMA river landing’s a worthy addition to the Hopes And Dreams era of our very real river. It’s public space, it’s attractive, it honors history and is forward-thinking. Walking back to the museum’s main building from the muddy construction site with Mike Addkison, affable, dreadlocked Art & Architecture Project Manager for the River Foundation, confirmed that this whole shebang is both extraordinarily exciting, and nervewracking as hell. Spring ‘09 as the opening date for the Museum Reach seems pretty on-target, he said. The next phase, though, the Mission Reach, is EIGHT MILES LONG, in comparison to the current 1.2-mile Museum reach. In a later email, Mike promised: “it’s going to get even more hellishly fascinating!”
I forgot to remind you about the beer, though! As Marion Oettinger reminded us at the media preview, after the river attracted Native Americans, Spaniards, missions, and eventually tourists, it attracted breweries. The Lone Star and Pearl breweries, situated as they are on its banks, are testament to this. Apparently, brewers made beer from the San Antonio River water back in the day, the idea of which is both charming and vaguely nausea-inducing (it must be fresher H20 closer to the Blue Hole, I guess).
Thus we come full circle, involving all the elements so crucial to this city: water, history, creative renewal, overcoming out inferiority complex, and beer.
I will keep you posted.
Mamma Mia!'s out on DVD today. (Some might say "DVD and Blu-Ray," but I remain swaddled in Downy-soft, blissful denial concerning the existence of the latter. So, there you go. I am a happy island, frozen in time somewhere around 2005. [On a related note, I think this Obama fella may have a serious shot.])
So, I meant to post a review back during the summer, around the film's open date. It's an understandably popular timing strategy in "the biz," one you may recognize from just about every other review you've ever read by anyone in the history of ever. It makes sense: Review movies that are currently in theaters. And, like I said, I meant to conform, meant to post it back in July. Complications arose, though, when I didn't. Now, though, lest you think you'd dodged a bullet, I present, for the first time anywhere, my brief, abhorrently-late-for-the-opening-but-more-or-less-on-the-money-for-the-DVD-release opinion of Mamma Mia! [begun 7/22/2008]. (You're welcome.) Into the time machine:
Look, I’ll lay this out at “go”: I went to see Mamma Mia! chiefly because my wife wanted to. I say that not by way of excuse or disavowment, but in order to begin mapping out for you my temperamental landscape at the time, so that you may run any of my subsequent comments concerning the film through that particular pyschoemotional strainer — along with, once again, the ol’ catchall grain of salt.
Possibly Significant Factor #2: On our way into the theater, a critic friend informed us that I’d gotten certain dates mixed up and that, at that very moment, the Dark Knight IMAX press screening (which I’d thought was scheduled for the night after) was starting across town. Which meant that, as we sat down to a disco musical, I was missing my last (free) chance at catching what [had] arguably been the summer’s most impatiently awaited action epic on a decadently mammoth, grabs-and-your-eyes-and-screams-at-'em-sized screen. (We saw it, instead, the next evening, on the perfectly-reasonably-sized, only-regular-big screen. Everything was fine.)
I feel bad, sometimes, opening a review with a disclaimer. There’s a sense in which it might be said to do a disservice to the considered film. I don't mean it in that sense. I only mean it to fill word count. Which, in a blog, doesn't apply. Hmm. Away, then.
Speaking of the film: It's fun. Kinda. In parts. No, yeah, it is. Well, I mean, look. Here's the thing: I'm not going to get away with saying it's fantastic, because it isn't, and my conscience would intervene. But come on. To paraphrase probably every other review of this film that you'll read (you know, all the on-time ones): Dude it's an ABBA musical. You know? And as such, it will all-but-certainly leave the open-minded-but-non-ABBA-savvy among us with two prevailing thoughts: (1) "Huh -- I didn't know ABBA sang that. That's kinda catchy"; and, post-viewing, (2) "Well, that was kinda goofy and cornball, but I feel oddly chipper now, and I can't be mad about that."
Do we need to talk about the story? Really? I mean, I started to try to tell someone about it today, and ... can't I just say "ABBA musical" and be done with it? The film's Imdb.com page does a pretty bang-up summary job: "The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father ... using hit songs by the popular '70s group ABBA." That's about as appropriate a description as I could ever conjure, at least in terms of conveying the story's concern with realism. But see? Realism? In a flick carpeted with Swedish disco interludes?
So, yeah. Instead of plot description, here's a fact** about ABBA: If you've ever wondered if its name came from simply combining the initials of the band members' first names into a phonetically tenable acronym (or, at least, one more pleasing than BABA or BAAB), I'm pretty sure that's a sizeable 10-4.
Oh, wait. According to Dictionary.com:
As my workaday gears begin transitioning over to state public health and sustainability planning issues, I find myself constantly pulled back to snag a few must-read items from the national (and international) energy front.
Though the country sent McCain and his promises of 45 new nuke plants packing last month, the debate over uranium-fueled futures is sure to continue.
Here at home, the McCain defeat demanded CPS Energy delay a decision on doubling the South Texas Nuclear Plant until next fall, as Mr. Swartz pointed out last week. Word is, they're still going to try to finagle another infusion of capital from the city, say $200 million, for more nuke "study" in the interim. Time will tell.
So all eyes shift to Obama where murkier statements on nuclear's roll in the national energy mix began to clarify with Dr. Chu now in ascendancy.
Consider Karl Grossman's dissection of the incoming energy secretary in Counterpunch.
The reaction from safe-energy advocates is mixed to the proposed appointment of Steven Chu as U.S. energy secretary by President-Elect Barak Obama. Mixed is a charitable response to the prospects of Chu being in charge of the U.S. Department of Energy.Next, NASA's James Hansen (who some were fretting was about to boost nukes himself as a climate salve) is lobbying Obama to implement a carbon tax rather than the more politically salable cap-and-trade that has been bandied about these past couple years.
Although he has a keen interest in energy efficiency and solar power and other clean forms of renewable energy, Chu is a staunch advocate of nuclear power.
“Nuclear has to be a necessary part of the portfolio,” declared Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at an economic gathering last March in Palo Alto, California organized by Stanford University.” http://news.cnet.com/8301-10787_3-9888608-60.html
“The fear of radiation shouldn’t even enter into this,” he said in comparing nuclear and coal. “Coal is very, very bad.” Chu, a physicist, repeated a claim of nuclear proponents that coal plants produce more radioactivity than nuclear plants—a contention based on coal containing trace amounts of uranium and thorium.But the claim—and Chu—ignore the huge amount of radioactive products created by fission or atom-splitting in nuclear plants, the gaseous ones routinely released, and the many tons that are left, classified as nuclear waste and needing to be isolated, some virtually forever.
Eminent climatologist James Hansen will urge U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to support a carbon tax, in a letter to be sent this week, Hansen said.Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, is one of the leading voices for a carbon tax to address climate change, rather than backing the more widely used cap-and-trade approach.It was also interesting to read the climate debate distilled and refracted through a Christian perspective, that of the rich nation's obligation to the poor, in a portrait of a founding IPCC scientist in NRDC's OnEarth. [Check: We're Doing God's Science.]
In his plan, Hansen recommends levying a rising tax on fossil fuels and redistributing 100 percent of the proceeds to taxpayers - a "tax and dividend" approach [PDF].
Obama has preferred a cap-and-trade policy - an economy-wide limit on greenhouse gas emissions that will be lowered over time and that allows polluters to trade emission permits on a carbon market. His most recent climate change speech, delivered last month at a summit hosted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, further emphasized his support for cap-and-trade.
Areva’s 40 years of uranium mining in Niger has left miners and their families exposed to the often fatal health effects of radioactive dust and radon gas that have dispersed everywhere. Contaminated metals have been abandoned by the roadside and used in household goods. The water is poisoned with radioactivity and other toxins or simply depleted, starving the people, their livestock and their crops.Okay. With that radioactive reading list knocked down, we recommend some honest, old-fashioned ice fishing. The weather in South Texas is just perfect.
Despite the known health risks of uranium mining, doctors paid by Areva at the two company-owned hospitals insist that mining activities have had no impact on public health. In reality, patients are not told if they have cancers or diseases of the lung because it might reflect badly on Areva and involve long and costly treatments.
If this kind of discrimination sounds familiar, that’s because indigenous and underprivileged people around the world have all suffered similar fates. Uranium mines are invariably on native lands and the workers are often indigenous people starved of resources and opportunities and eager for any job. As a result, they have most often become the unwitting victims of pre-meditated atomic poisoning and have received little or no compensation or medical support.
“What Lila wants, Lila gets,” Bexar County judge and fellow mayoral alum Nelson Wolff once said of Ms. Cockrell, who these days holds court at the San Antonio Parks Foundation and the River Oversight Committee. Hell, he probably says it a lot, but we happened to witness it at the arts-community unveiling of the successful spring campaign to extend the Venue Tax — a levy on car and room rentals in the Alamo City that will pay for, among other things, new trails near and along the river between Pearl Brewery and Hildebrand – otherwise known as the Park Segment of the Museum Reach. [See, say it with me: “It’s for the birds,” April 30, 2008.]
As frequent Current readers, Audubon fans, and residents of the River Road neighborhood know, that stretch of future hike-and-bike heaven has been contentious because the City already gave away the Brackenridge Good-walk-spoiled to the Municipal Golf Association, which no-way-no-how will have citizens sans clubs trekking between its $4.5-million Tillinghast fairways (even if they can duck like George Motherfucking Bush).
That concession left one of two routes available to get from Pearl to Brackenridge:
1) through a narrow western canyon between Highway 281 and the back nine, along the southern edge of our favorite eccentric SA enclave, across a quaint WPA-era weir dam, and up the Avenue A bird sanctuary/fishery/lovers’ lane.
OR 2) easterly, again along 281 for a shorter stretch, winding between some trees, before playing hard-to-get with the Avenue B bike lane and the Catalpa-Pershing sluice.
The Avenue B supporters, which have enjoyed an unspoken the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend alliance with the MGA, were unexpectedly victorious at the subcommittee level, despite the opposition of yet another former mayor (Howard Peak), who likes the Avenue A route because it comes as close to a complete river trail as the MGA deal will allow. The Avenue B diehard defensive line showed up at Monday night’s River Oversight Committee meeting to protect their hard-won concessions from backsliding.
They needn’t have worried.
What Lila wanted at the ROC -- which she chaired in a fashion that would do both Churchill and Thatcher proud -- was to give the public process its due. She pressed the Committee to acknowledge that the City has done its part to collect citizen input, and then closed with finesse. “I would say probably not everyone got what they wanted,” she said, after noting that there was nonetheless “a large area of agreement” around the Avenue B route. Consensus? she suggested. And before you could say “democracy,” it was over.
The final plan – about which there are many questions, such as how much and what kind of fencing the MGA will get between the public paths and the golf course – still has to run the Committee of Six gauntlet, as well as the bodies they represent: the County, the City, and SARA. But you know what Nelson says …
One of many offended Helotes residents who objected to the handling of the public hearing portion of the council meeting, when 10 opponents had their rights trashed.
Cracking open the Helotes file again after Thursday's brow-beating of local residents by Mayor Tom Schoolcraft.
Hard nut: Mayor Schoolcraft
Significance: Helotes Gavel Thumper (and bad teleprompter reader)
Offense: Iron-fisted ignoramus
Schooly opened the Thursday meeting to a packed house, thanks to a prominent (read: Balous Miller) parcel up for commercial rezoning, a property once eyed by one of those incendiary neighbor-against-neighbor issues — that ever-present fear of a Wal-Mart Supercenter moving into town.
"The purpose of these hearings is to give you, if you so choose, a chance to present your thoughts and concerns and ideas on the items we will be discussing," Schooly piped.
Then he set about trashing half of the comment forms filed by opponents of the rezoning request — a request the town's planning committee itself had recommended be denied — to better even out the fors and againsts, while making sure "we won't be here all night listening to much of the same rhetoric."
Expectedly, the vulgar display of censorship didn't sit well with those who bothered to fight traffic from work, ditching family and tube for the rancor of development hostilities.
Even to those allowed to speak, Schoolcraft displayed little concern for the concerns of others.
Experienced groundwater hydrologist George Rice warned the Council that the property being discussed either sat atop of or near the recharge zone for the Trinity Aquifer, then draining on to the Edwards Aquifer.
"One thing we know is there is a strong relationship between the amount of impervious cover in an area and contaminants in surface water. Once the impervious cover of an area gets above 15 percent the amount of contaminants rises very rapidly," Rice said. "So any contaminated groundwater that's generated as it crosses this site, a portion of that would either enter the Trinity Aquifer or the Edwards Aquifer."
Are you saying the property owner should leave 25 acres undeveloped? Schoolcraft gasped. "In a perfect world that might be great… but I don't think there's any conceivable way we could demand someone to do that."
Citing City of San Antonio regulations regarding the Edwards, Rice corrected Schooly.
"All it requires is the will of elected officials to do it," Rice said.
Still, in Helotes one needn't waste one's breath. Helotes' finest has it under control.
Said Schooly, "We're not going to do anything knowingly that would hurt the property or the city."
Funny. He didn't mention impairing public drinking water.
Following the announcement that the public meeting portion of the meeting was over (and before the council approved the rezone - a move some suggested represented a "backroom deal" to settle a lawsuit with property-owning Miller), tempers flared:
Today is Rafael’s birthday. He is 13.
When first diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy the docs gave him 10 years to live. He’s blown past their prognostications. It has not been easy.
Over the weekend Rafael was inducted into a private Christian wrestling federation, Warriors 4 Christ Wrestling, and they are already planning his first match. When he gets out of Children’s Methodist he’ll be facing down inter-continental champion Joey Nitro.
The tween who has no use of his legs and the lung capacity of a bird believes he can take the broad-chested Nitro.
“You may have to use the eye gouge,” I suggest.
“Yeah, I may have to use some dirty moves,” his bright voice responds, enthusiasm welling over.
I’ve been honored to become a friend of this remarkable family. A family with faults, sure. A family brave enough to put their story out there to be picked apart by reams of anonymous posters. A family now experiencing incredible strain as they fight to get the home medical care that Rafael requires while keeping their family together.
Since filing my story about Rafael, the tables have definitely turned. Methodist Children's has brought in Child Protective Services and is working overtime to limit communication between myself and the Garcias. On my last visit to their hospital room, I was escorted out of the hospital by security. Next time they will call the San Antonio Police Department, they say.
So I am forced to send my birthday salutations via blog from my downtown office.
“Don’t Bother With Karate Unless You Can Punch Through Sheet Metal”
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
Agreeing to join Facebook has done nothing but add schizophrenia to the mailbox of OTS. Where to draw the line between the incessant comments on photos and statements and direct correspondence? Things used to be so simple…
Having said that, not all is lost. The mailbox now seems more like a community billboard these days. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
To the "letters"!
#1 Eugene Chadbourne Tonight at Fl!ght (Second Saturday)
"Thomas Cummins and Eugene Chadbourne in one night
Tommorow I've got Eugene Chadbourne (eclectic improvisor, guitarist and banjoist. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Chadbourne ) playing live and for FREE in front of 1906 S. Flores"
#2 Chingo All the Way
Tonight (12/13) at Casbeers is a benefit for Manny Castillo and San Anto Cultural Arts.
#3 Nigerian Spam Returns
It seems the Nigerians hacked into a fellow food writer on the scene. I too was shocked to read that, "Unfortunately for me all my money got stolen at the hotel where i lodged from the attack of some armed robbers."
Who can think of Nigerian spammers without also considering some of the hilarious hoops people have made the scammers jump through to try and get money.
If I recall, one person here in the States requested the Nigerians carve a wooden keyboard for his Commodore 64 to show their appreciation. (Has this been mentioned here a few years back, already? Possibly, but good luck searching the archives trying to prove it.)
#4 Art Sale (Beginning 1 Hour Ago)
The Funnest Holiday Art Sale
Saturday, December 13
Please stop by for a glass of holiday "cheer", view the current exhibition Smoke and Mirrors and meet the artists Alex Rubio and David Vega.
Shop for works of art by Unit B artists and friends--most under $250, and some as low as $1--on view in the gallery backroom suite.
Peruse artist made postcards, greeting cards, miniature and regular sized paintings, lots of drawings, photographs, limited edition prints/posters, limited edition DVDs, felt sculptures, tasty looking sculptures, even more sculptures, jewelry and much much more."
#5 Retreat to Italy
Imagine this - an actual letter.
"if you wanna take a break from school and hammer out some projects..."
Case Riva Writers Retreat, Italy
Located near Turin, in a small village in the northern
Italian hills bordering the Alps. Large 18th century country
house with land (garden, spring and orchard), close to the
woods (10 minute walk), lakes (30 minutes walk), biking,
running and walking trails across the surrounding hills.
Guests are invited to apply for residency during the period
January 20th to April 20th, 2009. The deadline for
application is December 20th, 2008.
You will be given an apartment with your own kitchen (for
self-catering), bathroom, bedroom and study room with phone.
You are required to take care of this apartment on your own.
The main train station is 30 minutes by bus; from there you
can reach Turin, Aosta and Milan (1 hour by train).
Please write to the following address:
<email@example.com> before December 20th, and
include a file explaining reasons for applying, and at least
a paragraph-long description of your writing or art project.
Please specify your preferred period of stay, your age,
current projects, and any special need.
Thank you for your time!
The Spurs continue to return to a previous level of excellence. The Spurs would be in much worse shape if not for the key contributions of two new players - George Hill and Roger Mason, Jr. - as well as the out of nowhere improvement of indie rocker Matt Bonner.
At this point the Spurs have won 5 in a row and are right in the middle of the playoff seedings. Other than the Lakers no one looks that much better than anyone else. Chris Paul's Hornets are solid but not as good as perhaps some would have thought.
The Jazz (could that ben anymore of an inapporopriate name?) are about where they were last year but without one of their key players. Portland is at about the same level but it's unclear how they'll do in the playoffs. Most likely, not as well as their regular season if they follow the path of many inexperienced teams.
So, be prepared for a continuing attack of the same "under the radar" articles to be written about the Spurs as they continue to improve and move up the standings.
This season should be much more interesting than last, with the first 20 games already being more exciting than the majority of last season. Instead of waiting around to see if we'll repeat as champions, fans now have to see if we have enough left in the tank to contend once again. The odd year is approaching. Will the momentum of time be broken?
Pretend to be Damaged
Now that Finals are over I've been leafing through this funny/goofy book I was given for my birthday "How To Survive A Robot Uprising". I'm not saying it's a great book, but it has it's moments, like the passage above. That description sounds a lot like the now debunked Super Greg phenomenon of several years back, which now looking back seems like a serious precursor to Ali G, for whatever it's worth.
Keep the collars and eyes up.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued..
If you don't know what's so NSFW about harmless seeming locals Bukkake Daydream (just look at them playing on the slide) you are STRONGLY discouraged from doing a Google search for that hard to pronounce, vaguely Japanese-sounding word at the front of their name, or you'll forever refer to December 12, 2008 as the day your innocence died.
I haven't personally seen BKKD (as they refer to themselves for the benefit of less sleazy publications) but by all reports, their noisy blend of experimental psychedelia is reassuringly free of bodily fluids. See for yourself tonight at the Mix (2423 N.St. Marys), where they're scheduled to take the stage around 11:15 p.m. Admission is free, Austinite noisemakers Muchos Backflips are also scheduled to perform. Just to be on the safe side, I'd recomend standing as far away from the stage as possible, and maybe sporting one of those trash-bag ponchos people wear to Gallagher shows.
On Wednesday in the
When the first voting returns were announced the following day for this year’s NBA All-Star Game in lackluster
Next up for the Spurs is a pair of trap games against the underachieving Minnesota Timberwolves and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Much like T.J. Ford before him, fellow
Perhaps the biggest surprise behind the Spurs recent upswing has been the emergence of
Chrysler needs to go bankrupt, pack up their shit, and let those who actually know what the fuck they are doing build cars.
Why such harsh words for the ignorant giant? Well actually this is not the first time or the second time or even the third time Chrysler has called on federal tax dollars to bail them out. In the 1930s Chrysler was the top dog in the auto industry, even toppling Ford. (Something to brag about during those Depression years!)
Moving to the end of WW II, GM and Ford decided to design cars that would lead the auto industry into the final decades of the 20th century. What did Chrysler do? Good ol’ CRY-sler-for-money decided they would continue with their pre-war strategy of producing an outdated car instead of reengineering a new car for the future.
Chrysler management then began to cry foul at the U.S. government for the automakers' failure to efficiently produced a car of the future citing too many government regulations. (That's before the seatbelt!)
Now you can’t be completely mad at Chrysler. In 1979 they began to admit troubles and sought bankruptcy under Chapter 11 pursuing reorganization. Yet many politicians said at the time their failure would cause the U.S. economy to spin further out of control. Sound familiar?
The lost of this “big” job supplier would add to the troubles caused by high gas prices. Whoa, twilight zone. But in many cases this is the twilight zone. How could Chrysler continue to make the same mistake and the government continue to recommend the same solution? Moving on to the third time Chry-sler-for-money decided to beg for change. (They should have begged for real “change.”)
In 1984, once again Chrysler was back up on Capital Hill asking for money to bail them out of their tough economic times. Chrysler argued their failure would lead to the elimination of thousands if not millions of jobs in the auto industry, manufacturing, and car dealerships. (I swear to God I’ve heard this before!)
Congress recommended that the auto company cut back on management salaries, engineer a car for the future — one that would sustain growth till the end of the century.
Well they did exactly what Congress told them and returned to Capital Hill with the brand new K-car. THE WHAT?! Yes sir, those little grandma cars are what saved the stupid giant from collapse, and Chrysler was granted $800 million in government loans.
Yesterday the Big Three were on Capital Hill proclaiming they needed $15 billion to hold them till the arrival of the next President-elect Obama in the Oval Office. The Big Three are hoping that Barrack will save them with a New Deal that will sustain their growth into the next century.
But Obama won’t put up with this, right? Wrong. He has suggested that Chrysler cut back on salaries, engineer a car that is energy efficient, and design a car that people will want to buy. CHATA-FUCK-UP!! Are you serious!
It appears that Chrysler and our government has a serious addiction to stupidity. Chrysler has a serious problem and it's one that neither Congress nor a bailout can fix.
A real solution is let these outdated companies retire and go bankrupt. The workers of those companies will just work for the next automaker that will design a car that does not run on oil. (Scary thought)
The ability to relieve our dependence on foreign oil begins with the auto industry and it appears that the Big Three are not concerned with our national security. Tell me again, why are we helping them, again?
I was a little worried 30 minutes into last night’s pre-screening of FUEL, the Sundance award-winning film opening in San Anto’s Bijou tomorrow. Bright-eyed biofuel evangelist and Veggie Van traveler wouldn’t quit preaching the Simple Solution.
Yeah, petroleum = death. I think most audiences get that. But it’s been a long time since anyone could look at corn-based ethanol with anything resembling love.
The heart-stabbing imagery of 9/11 mayhem wasn’t sitting well, either. Turbaned heads flashing over the screen were intended to gut-link our gluttonous domestic oil appetites with nefarious “foreign” oil and an instable OPEC. Instead of tackling the xenophobia and continuing anti-Arab sentiment now folding into political rhetoric about energy “independence” and “security,” the film appeared like it was calling on viewers to simply accept that buying oil from the Middle East is inherently bad — not the economic disequilibrium undergirding it.
Thankfully, filmmaker Josh Tickell, did twist the narrative to tackle Cheney’s manipulation via secret energy task forces and challenged Americans gluttonous appetites which, in turn, made it easier to look the other way when it came to the dramatic expansion of our oil-protecting military overseas these past decades. Blood for Oil, is the charge. It would have only taken a few extra frames to explain how U.S.-Saudi oil politics, engaged at the expense of human rights, created the environment for terror-minded extremists to board those planes.
Still, the linkages between Diesel’s development of the diesel engine — his original intent behind the peanut-oil-powered machine being the liberation of the farmer by providing the means to till their fields and grow their own fuel — and Standard Oil’s use of Prohibition to quash that other fuel, ethanol, while ensuring total consumer dependency on Baby Big Oil from those most defining of days.
The story leads into an inspiring study of the range of choices we must make to eradicate oil from our market. The dramatic potential of algal-based fuels shares equal time with nods to solar, wind, and energy efficiency measures that will certainly one day break the back of Big Oil.
The path will be by no way as simple as Tickell suggests, but will come, as our global economy is now making clear, with chilling pangs. However, to watch FUEL is to be grounded more deeply in the energy debate. And, after the terrifying visions offered by Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio, those interested in saving ourselves, our country, and the world, will enjoy walking from the theatre believing, thanks to the director’s optimistic delivery, that these things are actually possible.
The switch is coming. How fast it occurs depends on you. Over the next two weeks, your insistence on a sustainable future can, in part, be measured by how many seats you warm at the Bijou in the coming two weeks.
Sometimes changing the world really does mean just showing up. Popcorn is optional.
For more info:
FUEL, film information and blog
Journey to Forever: making your own biofuels
Yes, Ban Ki-moon, the world does need a climate revolution
Recommended Read: The Tyranny of Big Oil
Books by Josh Tickell
Not just anyone can purchase any ol' piece of publicly owned green space that catches his or her eye. No, sir. It takes research (there be laws and whatnot), connections, and money. But if you, too, want to get in on the great near-downtown land grab of the late aughts (preferably with a limited-service hotel, or something else that won't visually upstage the, ah, distinctive design of the nearby 'Dillodome), District 2's ongoing attempt to offer Healy-Murphy Park to the La Villita Development corp highest bidder provides a few handy starter tips.
1. Get to know the appropriate Council Member.
You'll need the full support, advocacy even, of the council person who oversees the district in which your future development is located. Money increases name recognition (or stickiness, as the kids say). Example: Between July 2005 and March 2008, lobbyist Baltazar "Walter" Serna and Sherry Chaudhry of La Villita Development** gave District 2 Councilwoman Sheila McNeil $3,250 -- not a huge sum global-wise, but signficant enough under our strict campaign-donation limits.
2. Do your homework
Don't assume that just because the public owns it, it's off limits. Turns out the City can part with parkland less than two acres in size if it's not being used by the general public as a park. (Note: It helps if your new Council friend is adept at defining people out of the term "general public.")
3. Write a very nice letter*
4. Hope to god neighborhood activists don't get involved
5. Wait for the City to open the bidding process and aim to be the highest bidder without going too much over the telegraphed sales price (in this case $800,000)
* This was the earliest document returned in response to an open-record request we filed with the City asking for documents related to the proposed sale of Healy-Murphy park as far back as May 2005. Although it looks damning -- i.e. as if Councilwoman McNeil initiated the process to sell the park at Serna's request, McNeil says that's not so (although, she said, La Villita Devpmnt is still interested in the property). There was talk of selling the park as early as Spring 2007 through the TIRZ #11 and SAGE (San Antonio for Growth on the East Side), she says. We're currently seeking documentation of those discussions. Serna did not return phone calls seeking comment.
** Sherry Chaudhry is the registered agent for La Villita Development and Chaudhry Real Estate Management is a general partner.
Stay tuned for more handy tips in next week's edition of the Current. The City had originally planned to unveil the draft request for bids at a public meeting ahead of Christmas, but it's looking more like early January every day.
These YouTube protests by media-savvy BuzzNolan get a little more personal than we care to, but what they lack in manners, they make up for in shoestring ingenuity. Our revolutionary pamphleteering forebears would no doubt admire the use of materials at hand (downside: production is pretty clearly confined to the school day). The satire runs a little thin after the first few seconds*, but damn, it almost sounds like it was voiced by the Mayor himself.
*We offer this as constructive criticism. Keep 'em coming Buzz. We're curious to see how this platypus metaphor plays out.
Give Sculley the Money
Some of you may remember Nat Stone's commentary on the Border Wall we ran in the Current several months back. He is one of those intrepid few I stumpled upon often as I was traveling the border for our Muro del Odio package.
Here he is again, saving me the time of doing anything resembling research, with a video offering of the recent "letter from El Paso" from our amigo(a)s in West Texas to President-elect Obama.
As Texas State Senator Eliot Shapleigh says so well:
"We want a message of friendship. We want a message of hope. And we want a message of renewed and strengthened ties to our friends and families in the Americas."
This Thursday at 8:30am at the San Antonio River Authority offices (100
E. Guenther), Witte President Marise McDermott will present Ford Powell
& Carson's "Park Segment Feasibility Study and Subcommittee
Priorities" for the trails that will run from and through Brackenridge
Park to Pearl Brewery (including the hotly contested Ave A/B routes) to
a special called meeting of the Museum Reach and Park Segment
subcommittees. Their speedy decision will pave the way for a December
15 River Oversight Committee, which will make a final recommendation to
the Council of Six. No moss will be growing on those river stones,
thank you very much, and this is one of your last best opportunities to
weigh in on the final routes.
Following several rounds of public input, most of which was heatedly opposed to connecting Avenue A to the trail system by running a path along 281 on the Western edge of Brackenridge Golf Course, the Park Segment Subcommittee recommended a package of trails that didn't include legs that would link the Avenue A birding haven to the rest of the trails. But the River Oversight Committee instructed FPC to work up specs for those portions as well. Proponents of leaving Avenue A a quiet cul-de-sac suspect a runaround and will likely turn out in force at Thursday's meeting.
In case you haven't been following the Current's coverage here and in the QueQue, a letter from River Road resident Bill Sibley, reprinted in its entirety below, neatly sums up community concerns about the Avenue A route.
December 5, 2008
Dear Mayor Hardberger, City Manager Sculley, City Council and Bexar County Commissioner's Court,
First of all, I'd like to state wholeheartedly how worthwhile and desirable the eventual "Bike and Hike Path" from Brackenridge Park to Mission Espada will be for our city, state and for all citizens and visitors alike. It's going to be an unparalleled green and blue ribbon winding through the heart of S.A., showcasing the diligent planning, civic determination and environmental sensitivity that can be achieved in one of the nations largest, most diverse metropolises. Bravo!
As the time fast approaches for the Park Segment Committee to present their recommendation (Dec. 11) for the actual placement of the much "discussed and cussed" Ave. B vs. Ave. A Trails, which will circumvent the newly restored Brackenridge Golf Course -- we still, even after all this time of public input, endless meetings, much hand-wringing and the overwhelming recommendation of the Park Segment Subcommittee to place the bikers AND hikers both alongside CATALPA-PERSHING and up AVE. B -- we're still staring down the maw of that ugly perro that refuses to go away, namely River Oversight Committee routes 3 and 6 of the much disputed Hwy. 281/Craig Place and Ave. A Hiking alignment. Does anyone, after such an exhaustive winnowing-down process, even know why this bad boy is still hanging around?
So many unanswered questions remain.
SAFETY - Have there been actual studies done on the safety of hikers jogging alongside a freeway (281)? Are there city, TXDOT records/reports pertaining to the number of yearly automobile/truck accidents from the San Antonio River bridge to Mulberry Ave? How often, how many? Tire blowouts, flying hubcaps, hurled trash, careening cars - does anyone know? What are the prolonged effects of breathing those rush hour exhaust fumes for near a third of a mile? The noise level? How safe is it really for children? For elderly/handicapped pleasure-strollers? Do we have other hiking trails in the city that parallel (by mere feet) actual freeways where we might be able to glean some health and safety information? Ultimately, will this "freeway-jog" truly be the cherished "River outing experience" the city is pinning its PR dreams on?
DESIGN - As the Brackenridge Golf Course has stated most emphatically, they very much do not wish to see any "pedestrian pedestrians" set foot on their new million dollar emerald greens. Thusly, one envisions a fence between the Trail and the Golf Course bordering the length of Hwy. 281 to prevent that very mishap from occurring. One also envisions that a fence will be required to prevent the projected annual 150,000 hikers (mom, dad, kids, walk-to-schoolers, strollers, dogs, bikes, trikes, frisbees, skateboards, etc., etc.) from simply bounding out into 70 MPH Hwy. traffic on 281. So, a fence on one side to keep people from leaving the Trail and a fence on the other side to keep people off the freeway -voila, a cage! Imagine it’s 7PM and you're a female jogger halfway down the "cage" and you see 4 or 5 big guys walking in a menacing line toward you. Thought of an exit plan yet? Or you're an 8-year-old walking home from school and you see a pack of howling Brackenridge Park stray dogs racing toward you? Or maybe that 18-wheeler on a hot August afternoon blows a tire coming round the River Bridge curve at 60 miles an hour and has to pull off the freeway - how long does it actually take a skilled trucker to come to a complete stop and avoid the possibility of vanquishing a few fenced-in hikers along the way?
THE WOODLAWN/ RIVER ROAD LOW-WATER CROSSING - As it was presented for the first time at the Nov. 10th Witte public input River Oversight Committee forum (to a rather mouth-open, stunned audience it must be added. Where had they been hiding this particular gem of knowledge for the past year? How the Hiking Trail would link up with Ave. A was as carefully kept a secret as Bill Gates home phone number). The 281/Craig Pl./Ave A Hike alignment is now proposed to make a dog-leg turn off Craig Pl. onto River Road itself and continue down to the 71 (+/-) year old San Antonio River weir dam, low-water crossing at Woodlawn Ave. Visited the low-water crossing lately? The structure itself is a WPA River flood restraint that cannot be abolished. Fully a third of the year it is not passable - flooded, littered with debris/tree limbs, dangerously moss-ridden/slippery - where are the 150,000 annual city projected hikers to go when abruptly halted by Mother Nature? Has the city anticipated the number of lawsuits from hikers slipping and falling into the River? Is the city talking of constructing a new bridge over the San Antonio River? How much will that add to the already escalating expense? I won't rehash the well publicized detrimental effects of hikers AND bikers both utilizing the Ave. A bird sanctuary as a through-trail (as Howard Peak himself has stated, "there's virtually no way to keep either bikers or hikers from accessing each other's designated Trails") I'll just add - has anyone actually thought this thing through further than how swell it all looks in an architect’s rendering?
For some reason the 281/Craig Pl./ Ave. A Trail alignment has been spun as some sort of "not in my backyard" complaint by so-called "elitists" in River Road. Drive around River Road on any day - the neighborhood is already a haven for joggers, bikers, walkers, runners, strollers, nature lovers and fishermen. No one wants to (or even could) prevent anyone from enjoying the beauty of the River Road neighborhood. Large family reunions, picnics, campers, tents, and Porta-Potties have always been common sights in River Road during Easter Weekend and at other times throughout the year. (Hard to imagine this occurring in Alamo Heights or Olmos Park.) The Bike and Hike Trail is an eagerly anticipated addition for ALL San Antonians - but WHERE the Golf Course trails will be aligned is the key question. For a myriad of safety, practicality, economic, environmental and literal "curb appeal" reasons the CATALPA-PERSHING/AVE. B Trail placement, vigorously supported by the Park Segment Subcommittee and the majority of citizens, is the hands-down winner.
Saturday, we'll be tailing local musicians and advocates for the color blind Blue Means Go, at G.I.G. on the Strip, openly gawking at them and taking notes while they try to pretend we aren't there. This show, also featuring locals the Offbeats, is free. They don't serve alcohol at GIG, but you can bring in a 750ml bottle of wine (no beer or liquor) for $5. Hopefully you'll be there too, so you can add your own comments to the write-up next week. Speaking of comments, put your own suggestions for bands to feature in upcoming issues (there's absolutely no shame in recommending your own band, BTW).
So, unless aggressive efforts to get Homeland Security to reconsider its choice of a Kansas community to host the massive federal germlab that would study diseases with no known cure that can pass back and forth between us and our underrespected livestock, San Antonio is free at last of the National Agro- & Bio-Defense Facility.
Cheer? Not quite so fast.
According to the Homeland Security Council, we have a gapping hole in our national security right here at one of the nation's only privately-operated "high-security" biological research labs: the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research.
According to a report released by that Congressionally empaneled group, the next major terrorist attack will most likely use biological weapons.
In San Antonio, apparently, there are incurable viruses there for the taking.
From a report by CNSNews.com:
Letters (to the On the Street Penthouse Suite)
I joined Facebook this week after some prodding and only later realized I might be drying up the well of letters that “flow” so “effortlessly” to the surface. Perhaps that explains this week’s offerings: invitations to various “art openings” (parenthesis added to include this moustache event, you’ll see…)
#1 Seasonal Fever
Dec. 5-26, 2008
opening reception Dec. 5, 6-9pm
gallery open by appointment, call 210-219-1562
Three Walls is located in Studio 106 D Blue Star, Building B, San Antonio, TX"
#2 Live Cinema “Out of Context”
I’m not sure if it was Potter or Belmar who sent this…
“Potter-Belmar Labs will be performing Live Cinema on stage,
in the round, between two large video projections in the Say Sí
black box performance space on First Friday from 6-9 pm.
Say Sí is located at 1518 S Alamo Street in San Antonio. Admission is free.”
#3 Respect the ‘Stash
Radio personality Matt Fleeger sends in notice of his now annual event...
#4 Holiday Art Sale
Please stop by for a glass of holiday cheer, view Smoke and Mirrors by Alex Rubio and David Vega, and shop for works of art--most under $250, and some as low as $1--on view in the gallery backroom.
Holiday Art Sale
Saturday, December 6 & 13
3-5pm and by appointment
Michael Genovese (Miami, FL)
Juan Angel Chavez (Chicago, IL)
Joseph Phillips (Austin, TX)
Ethel Shipton (San Antonio, TX)
Damon Bishop (Chicago, IL)
John Photos (Albequerque, NM)
Hills Snyder (San Antonio, TX)
Jaime Lund (New York, NY)
Min-Tse Chen (Beijing, China)
Matthew Noel-Tod (London, England)
Nate Cassie (San Antonio, TX)
Justin Parr (San Antonio, TX)
David Vega (San Antonio, TX)
Kimberly Aubuchon (San Antonio, TX)
Alex Rubio (San Antonio, TX)
Hope to see you there
Unit B (Gallery)
500 Stieren at Cedar
San Antonio, TX 78210
Report from the Swap
At one point the parking lot across from La Tuna was filled with cars, and if that isn’t a benchmark for success for a bike swap, then I don’t know what is.
But forget the community aspect for a moment and focus on this: I sold $300 in bike parts. Sure, it was hard work organizing this event, and getting all the bands lined up, and going around town trying to get vendors to show up, and trying to get the word out to TPR, but clearly I did it just for the cash. Yes, organizing the citywide bike swap was a selfish act on my part, cloaked under the wolf’s clothing of good intentions.
And was it an unlikely nexus of unregulated free market capitalism with libertarianism and anarcho-syndicalism?
The event is already shrouded in conjecture, mainly by me with those last two ridiculous paragraphs, so let’s consider the documented evidence…
An example of one of the many tables set up at La Tuna. The two bikes on the left? Let it go, I sold them already. The red folding bike was purchased by Bob/Brad the Gardener. Next time you see a tall guy trying to get this bike onto a Greyhound bus heading towards Port Aransas and the whooping cranes, that may well be him.
And speaking of Brad/Bob, check out this "game saving" plan for a Brackenridge Park bike path that he slapped together on the back of an envelope (possibly an eviction notice, or a warning from city utilities that they're going to shut down the power, but they'll be ever to take that folding bike I sold him!)
Here, the Weetles rock out on stage at La Tuna. They mix together Beatles covers with their own rock inventions. And look behind them at the packed parking lot. That is the truth.
It was a family affair. After the Weetles finished their set their dad's band played also, the wonderfully intense Worm who have been playing on and off over the years. Now, thankfully, they seem to be on again.
I later saw them play at The Mix later that night for a performance that was turned up to "eleven". Initially, they were too much rock for La Tuna so they put on the kid gloves and brought the volume down slightly.
And in reality (an area rarely explored in On the Street) Worm was gracious to play, and was able to use the Bike Swap as some practice for their show later that night.
(And at the Worm show later that night, I turned to Bike Gangster Scott and remarked, "It's like a "wormhole" opened and out of it came this awesome Dischord band from 1993." A bad pun, what else, but they carry with them the lost energy of a near forgotten moment in time. Complete badasses.)
Blue Means Go later played an acoustic set that was full of magic, yet somehow I forgot to take a foto.
Backlit and shrouded in shadow, but a glimpse of the beer garden transformed.
Ditto. (For clarification, people wearing spandex that day were actually not in the band.)
Like a white buffalo.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
No disrespect to Pop, Timmy, and the other Spurs, but
Rookie George Hill is a certified baller. The likes of which haven’t been seen in
San Anto followed up their win against the Bulls with another, courtesy of the Memphis Grizzlies, before faltering in
Prior to the Spurs’ contest against Allen Iverson and the Detroit Pistons I took some time to soak in the NBA atmosphere and catch up with a fellow bloke. “I look at Manu and wish he was French, and I look at Tony and sometimes I wish he wasn’t,” he said as we watched Ginobili shoot free throws. New Spurs P.A announcer Kevin “Big Kev” Brock is an awesome upgrade, and we can now realistically cross our fingers for a competent arena DJ, cough, Donnie-D. A.I.’s only
Release Date: December 3, 2008
Office of Mayor Phil Hardberger: 207-7083
City removes Red Oak on Main Plaza
Work crews Wednesday removed a Red Oak on the east side of Main Plaza due to recent and severe cracking along its trunk and at least one major limb.
The cracking was discovered during a routine inspection of the trees in Main Plaza by the City forester. Although the tree was inspected several months ago by several tree experts, the visible cracks occurred only recently.
“I am saddened that we’ve had to pull down another tree on Main Plaza, but the safety of our citizens comes first,” said Mayor Phil Hardberger. “We will be planting new trees this month to replace the ones that have been removed.”
Staff will continue monitoring the health of the remaining trees on Main Plaza.
Bill Scanlan, chairman of the Main Plaza Conservancy, said that the loss of another tree compounds the tragedy of the prior losses earlier this year. However, “in addition to planting new trees, we are exploring ways to bring artistic shade structures into the plaza,” he said. “Meanwhile, music and other programs will continue to make Main Plaza a gathering place for the whole community.
Dr. Mr. Red McCombs,
Can we imagine Texas losing a fight to Kansas or Mississippi? Why, yes we can.
After all the obscene salesmanship by our elected leaders for a project best performed deep in bunker somewhere (or, perhaps, offshore where such research has historically been done), Homeland Security selected Manhattan, Kansas over San Antonio and four other sites for the massive National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility.
The charge is to study diseases that have no known cure and pass freely between human and non-human kin. Homeland's own risk analysis undertaken only after they had been burned by the U.S. General Accounting Office for failing to take into account potential outbreaks suggested the current study site of Plum Island as the safest bet.
Your hometown daily has been a more than faithful booster of the project. If you missed biz columnist Hendricks on the topic this morning, well, you didn't miss anything new — except maybe the reason we're addressing this post to our favorite wheeler-dealer. (Any of those million-dollar keystrokes tied to risk, David?)
We won't feign our regrets here. We only wish that after confirmed domestically (Fort Detrick, no less!) cultured anthrax to Congressional white-letter scares and leaky foot-and-mouth events (commonly known as "outbreaks") outside UK labs, that Homeland would have made security its overriding concern in the site selection criteria, rather than rely on the "community support" and financial incentives that seem to have guided this process from day one.
Study foot-and-mouth in the center of the nation's Concetrated Animal Feedlot country? Really?
From the Associated Press:
That big, white slip of paper represents the long and winding road that has been the fight for basic information about how your City-owned utility is run. So, crack a bottle, we've vaulted another hurdle this week, albeit one with itty-bitty type.
After costly attorneys inside CPS and the Texas Attorney General's office had the chance to run over (and back up to run over again to confirm lethality) a nearly four-month-old request the amount your utility pays for inside/outside legal counsel and on bottom-line-busting lawsuits, I netted me a goodie: The amount they pay their own team of lawyers.
Why on earth they thought this was proprietary information is beyond me.
You may recall, I dredged up the whole ridiculous cat-and-mouse game they play with public records back in September.
I wrote then:
Woulda been a wall there. Presidio County Commissioner points to where a wall almost stood. Instead they got massive flooding on both sides of the Rio. Other areas south of Falcon Dam have since been canceled. Are recent Obama appointments reason to cheer the demise of the Wall?
The blanket authorities granted Homeland Security by the 2006 Congress that have allowed border wall construction to move forward unhampered by any “antagonistic” contrary federal laws, laws such as the Native American Graves Protection Act or our cherished Clean Water and Air acts, thanks to language in The Real ID Act, are about to expire.
At least, that appears to be the message emanating from President Elect Obama’s rollout of a powerful cadre of border-region lawmakers named to his cabinet and advisory teams in the past two weeks.
While the dubious choice of Hillary “Sniper Fire” Clinton to lead the State Department has marinated in editorial ink for more than a week, the collection of Southern Tier officials from New Mex Governor Bill Richardson, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (of “Show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder” fame), and experienced Homeland resister University of Texas at Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia have given wall opponents reason for optimism.
A rumor circulating that Real ID opponent, U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, is on the short-list for the Secretary of Interior slot is feeding that excitement.
Grijalva, who had been scheduled to speak at a summit on Border Wall resistance this week, cancelled his appearance there. His press secretary in Tucson said that several cancellations have been made as Grijalva prepares to return to Washington for the upcoming session, but confirmed they are hearing the same rumors everyone else is.
“He has not been contacted by Obama’s transition team,” Natalie Luna said. “But we have heard he is one of the names out there.”
In Texas, thousands of endangered acres maintained by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Audubon Society, and The Nature Conservancy, would be sealed off from the public under current construction plans. Anne Brown, VP of National Audubon Society, has fought hard to gain insight or information from Homeland about the wall that would likely force her group to close their 130-acre sanctuary to the thousands of area schoolchildren who enjoy the verdant reaches of towering sabal palms. She hasn’t gotten much cooperation.
With the new leadership taking place, however, the chances of the Real ID Act being overturned are increasingly likely. “I would hope that they would [do that],” Brown said. “Because I know what that would mean.” However, the final outcome “remains to be seen,” she said.
Duran Duran have been forced to cancel tonight’s show (Monday, December 1) in San Antonio, scheduled to take place at the Majestic Theatre, because the band’s keyboard player, Nick Rhodes, is still suffering from a very serious inner ear infection and doctors have told him that he is not allowed to fly.
The four band members have been on the road in Latin America since the start of November, and tonight’s show would have been their first North American date on the final leg of their year-long Red Carpet Massacre World Tour. The band expressed extreme disappointment in tonight’s cancellation, and will attempt to make up the date in the near future.
Tickets for tonight’s show will be fully refundable from the point of purchase.