Saturday, August 31, 2002

Katz's was evidently a hit with the principal visiting fireman. I forget what he ordered other than Cel-Ray or cream soda and creamed spinach. M. and K. went wild over pickles and cole slaw, and K. did his turkey sandwich on challah with gravy. I had never been there in the daytime. Always before it had been at three in the morning, or thereabouts. As ever, it was potato pancakes for me. All tables were taken at about eleven in the morning. It was great to be useful during the move. After lengthy debate and ruling out Death Dot Com, the younger contingent went to the Paramount to see 2001 for the the first time and the elder arrived too early for the Israeli matchmaking movie and so watched Ma femme est une actrice. Terence Stamp was a scene-stealer, and the fantasy of smashing a wheel of brie into his face, thereby interrupting his tai chi session, was a winner.

Friday, August 30, 2002

When the request was for "Italian," my mind went blank, except for all the places I did not want to go (e.g., Basil's, Carmelo's, Vespiao on the Friday night of a football weekend, etc., etc.), but luckily K. thought of Tree House Italian Grill. By this time, it must have been nearly ten o'clock. There was a wait and, as ever in the restaurant biz, there was a lie about when a table would be ready. Though the temps were still near-blistering, even the outdoor tables were filled. Whatever the house red was, it was more than acceptable. (Dim lighting doesn't help a person like me read a thing.) All the night's specials, including the fish of the day, were sold out. The four diners made themselves happy with sea trout, salmon, canneloni filled with spinach and I don't know what, and veal piccata. It's great to know that an untrendy, unheralded neighborhood dining establishment offering good value continues to do well in a location where so many businesses have failed.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Damn! The stupid scanner is again failing to initialize. Grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble.>>>In re nothing, right now my two favorite South Austin blogs are clicheideas and xenon although I wish that Mr. Astrofish would return to showing an entire entry on one page.>>>Whenever a magazine goes under, other publications offer to take up the circulation list, hoping that they'll garner a renewal eventually. I forget what went under that More magazine began arriving here. The most recent issue had a featurette on Margaret Moser. I guess nobody's issued a press release to the AA-S. If it's been in the Chron it's been overlooked by me. In that same mag there's a feature, the title of which escapes me, that's has nearly the same morbid fascination as the old LHJ "Can This Marriage Be Saved?"--in each issue it takes someone and asks for a toiletry, perfume, or cosmetic reminiscence down through the years. In Lipstick World, Joy Behar went from Tangee to Persian Melon to white lipstick and so on. Persian Melon is still being made! It was one of the top three colors for teenagers in the early sixties. Fascinating as all these factoids are, they're destined to be seen by few, I bet, since More must have one of the lowest circulations in the biz.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

It's been back to an e-mail a week to the one domain, now that people are thinking about the end of summer and the beginning of better travel weather or are heading for Austin to start school or take up a new job. These are in addition to the fairly frequent requests to be listed. What's surprising is the uptick in mail to Rantor, most of it referring to the Rant-O-Mat blog. The most eccentric mail to Rantor was football-related, from a person who cared deeply about the subject. The most cherished link was from a holder of another "mat" domain, and now I can't remember what it was, perhaps someplace out of the USA. He linked to other "o-mat" and "a-mat" realms as well as to "matic" and similar domains. Now addressed to Rantor in the capacity of founding member of the International League of Luddites comes mail asking for a mention of the Luddites band, and seeking a link to some Luddite music, gladly bestowed. Naturally, curiosity compelled a resort to Google. There'll be no mention of the writer's name, but the domain whence came the e-mail is "lexical" in nature. Just as there's said to be a cross-correlation between music and mathematics, there has always seemed to me to be one between music and the "legistical." Vide austin's own Bar & Grill Singers. Again, no names, no pack-drill, Google finds a person of the same appellation associated with events at Mount Carmel, which is perhaps why the name seemed familiar. At any rate, the Luddites, evidently not spending overmuch time with brain-liquefying weedwhackers or leafblowers and therefore realizing their full potential as human beings, specialize in clever titles. A listen to the music must come later, but you can see that I'm saving that link.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

The streak of purpletude in my hair is almost gone now, after four weeks, but I've sure enjoyed that second look. It's the first coloring of any kind that has ever been in my hair, and I think I'll do it again. It's the obviously artificial aspect of it that's attractive--no pretending to be "natural."

Monday, August 26, 2002

So the temps have climbed to 101 or 102 degrees and there have been evident brownouts: our lights went so dim as to be barely on at all and the fans slowed to near stopping many, many times. Great! There we are, using our measly 400 or so kilowatt hours per month even in the depths of summer and we can't even keep a few fans going, while all the hogs are out there with their establishments lit up like Sing-Sing 24 hours a day and with central air-conditioning, AC that's set to chill to 65 degrees.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Until there's a new batch of dollar movies, it's full matinee (before 6 p.m.) price to keep cool. But Sunshine State was worth it. As always with Sayles, there's not much that's cinematic and there are bits that should have been edited out, but, if some of the cast was over-indulged, other members were just wonderful and some of them are not much seen these days. We could not think of where we had seen Tom Wright most recently, but it turns out to that it was in Sammo Hung's Martial Law vehicle, no longer on non-cable TV, if it's out there at all.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Now the hummingbirds are much in evidence. To judge by shell fragments all over the yard, we're in for a fine pecan season.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Visitors from the old Ramah days are to come from Santa Fe! We don't know yet whether they plan to stay with us. Once they remember our lack of air-conditioning, my bet's on not. K. plans to return the call today. There's not much in Austin that remains the same, that's for sure. When I Google for Spellman's, e.g., there are several mentions, including on Larry Monroe's site, but I didn't take time to look up years.>>>There were tons of mail, but no long-expected docs among the tonnage. This is not a great day to be walking uphill from the bus. I need a set of the new CapMetro schedules. I sure do hope that the library has some on hand.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

It doesn't appear that we'll have visitors from San Antonio this weekend. I plan to bake no matter what. We have now reached the time of year where additional heat makes no difference to me! My plans are for pound cake again. I learned my lesson last week: don't leave out the lemon joice! Even with the mace, the cake tastes insipid without that lemon. We didn't have time to run out to the store, so I squeezed an orange on hand, but it just wasn't the same..

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

We're still trying to obtain those necessary documents. The letter and forms went off from the downtown post office on July 5, as soon as possible, complete with all sorts of supporting paperwork that would be very difficult to assemble again if lost. A week went by. Nothing. Another week went by. Nothing. And yet more time passed with no news. With the July statement for the account on which the check was drawn was returned the check sent on July 5. It had not been deposited until July 23. On behalf of another party in interest, a state representative made a call to the ever-so-slow department. After a delay came the information that the matter was "logged in for processing" on July 19. This was at last confirmed in writing. Then we were told that the "research bureau" would have to look into the matter in order for us to be told what the "possible turn-around time" would be. This immediately spelled "l-o-s-t" to us. But no: we were assured that such is not the case. We have still not heard when, or whether, we may expect all to be completed. Once the matter has been "processed," whatever that may mean, we are told that it will take from seven to ten days for the paperwork to reach us. We have still not heard from the "research bureau."

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The Desvelado Book Circle has enjoyed "A Country Doctor," read for the first time. The father of Sarah Orne Jewett was also a country physician.>>>A lot of the scanner software seemed to have become corrupted. It was impossible to save a *.tif file and the copy utility was producing very bad color renditions, among other, less crucial problems. Software was freezing and crashing, also, from time to time. Luckily some uninstalls, disconnecting the scanner, reinstalling various software, and reconnecting the scanner seems to have resolved everything, so far as has been discovered so far.>>>This morning was discovered the first shoots of schoolhouse (oxblood) lily, at Spike's corner. Last year they were late; this year they'll be early. The people at Gardens are reported to be selling the bulbs, at something like $2.85 each.

Monday, August 19, 2002

The Lazy B was the greatest user of public grazing lands in all of Arizona, not just Greenlee County. There's no similar reference to grazing practices on the New Mexico side of the border. The last part of the book is a polemic against the BLM.::::We feared that our refrigerator had made its last ice cube when we suddenly didn't hear it running, but it resumed normal operations. Consumer Reports says that the expected useful life of one is ten years and this one's gone for a quarter-century. But that's nothing on the old pre-WWII ones up on legs with the motor on top or on the old kerosene ones that we used to know.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

At the Lazy B a great deal of the scant free time, any part spent indoors, seems to have been devoted to card games, among which was booray. I've always have known it as bourree, and it's also spelled by some as bouree. Oddly, even Google doesn't turn up much about it, however spelled.

Saturday, August 17, 2002

The Desvelado Book Circle is whipping through "Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest" (Sandra Day O'Connor and Alan Day). Although until 1937 there wasn't electricity, and privies and woodstoves were in use, this was not a poor household. Any privations were merely a function of remoteness. Apart from the ranch vehicles, her father bought a new "good" car just about every year and there was money for boarding fees and so on. There are references to "frijole beans" and in Lordsburgh there was obviously a "wrong side of the tracks" for people of the non-Anglo persuasion, although that's not how it's expressed.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Now the Hometown Boys have lost their drummer. I'd like to hear the CD of them with Los Dos Gilbertos.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

In some states, it takes the intervention of a legislator to get any information, we find. Texas is so much better than that!

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I can't remember who did Cuatro Paredes the last time we heard it live: Los Gamblers? Ruben Vela? Los Dos Gilbertos? Anyhow, the version by los hermanos Garcia is still getting played a lot on the radio. I like this site that shows los vatos locos in their pachuco suits, though not the ones in the brightest colors.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

It's our practice to channel-cruise during commercials for "El privilegio de amar." There aren't many channels among which to choose, in the absence of cable. The odious Dr. Wayne Dyer was holding forth on the PBS channel, so we dropped into our default alternate, TBN [?]. It must have been an odd night--no Bishop Jakes, no Brother Schambach, no James Hagee. But there was somebody new to us: Jesse Duplantis. The closed-caption people obviously couldn't understand a word the man uttered. Wow!

Monday, August 12, 2002

Factoid of the day: Houston is number one among U.S. cities in per-capita cellphone use, and K. guessed it. This little gem was buried in a piece in the NYT marveling that the subway system underground is a blank spot and that City people are far, far from being heavy users of cellphones anyhow.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Another plant mystery solved! The secret identity is agastache or Mexican hyssop or, perhaps more specifically agastache pallidaflora, but at any rate agastache. From the square stems, I've always assumed this plant to be a member of the mint family.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

It didn't seem right to see a reference to "the rude bridge that SPANNED the flood" and now I don't even remember where I saw the reference. I was sure it was "arched the flood" and I thought it was the "Concord Hymn." I thought the author to be Longfellow, but it turns out to be Emerson. Bad as my memory for this sort of thing is, the first two verses are still there in my head after all this time, just another remnant of a nineteenth-century education in the twentieth century.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

So it's tough luck if you have an old car and the key goes missing.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Club Desvelado truly enjoyed a New Yorker piece (July 29 issue) on the hardest-working man in show business, Mr. Please, Please, Please himself. A sidelight of this aritlcle comes at his relationship to the Reverend Al from another angle. It was impossible not to play my always with me "greatest hits" cassette, which, for once, is quite a decent selection.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

The dollar movies (now the $1.50 movies) kept us cool, and laughing as well: "About A Boy" was a great deal of fun, more than we expected it to be.

Friday, August 02, 2002

During a commercial on "El privilegio de amar" we saw the most amazing singing group: "FireBrand Youth Choir." Besides doing modern, call-and-response music, the group did a version of "O Sacred Head, How Wounded" the likes of which I bet has never been equaled, let alone surpassed, for dynamism and precision. The night before we had heard a down-home version by another group of "Whispering Hope," which used to be in one of my piano books but that I hadn't thought of for years. I always thought it sounded like a camp-meeting-type song, but it's older than I would have thought (1868). The computer was prolific, evidently, and among his songs is "Where, O Where Has My Little Dog Gone?"

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Wasn't it P. T. Barnum who said there's a sucker born every minute? Rota-dent is just another way for the dentist to make extra money. PerioRX, promoted by Discus Dental makes that claim that "all chlorhexidine gluconate rinses are not the same."