Saturday, July 31, 2004

Ramah in New Mexico but not for free

The August New Mexico magazine looks at Ramah, Alamo, and Canoncito, and makes some provocative comments. Maybe by next month, this article will be on line for free, once the August issue has left the newsstand: "Living on the Edge: Navajo satellite chapters seek own destiny" is that it's called. The Ramah chapter has a beginning website. In that same issue (or perhaps another), there's mention of a book called The Other State, New Mexico USA (Richard McCord; Sunstone Press), which appears to be one of those potpourri collections, perhaps of already published magazine articles. We were trying to figure out where the brutal Ramah murder described might have happened. Somebody involved froze pretty much solid overnight. K. thought it might be the location of the Cowboy Stopover; my thinking was that it was down on the checkerboard lands out by the roadhouse between Ramah and Zuni land or maybe out by Tinaja.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Another freebie

It's not possible to tell from what mailing list or data base information was extracted that prompted the offer of a complimentary subscription to Executive Legal Advisor (a division of Texas Lawyer). It appears to be just another venture prompted by Sarbanes-Oxley. It's on glossy stock, with generic stock images for illustrations. Here's a link to a brochure in the form of an overlarge Adobe PDF file aimed at potential advertisers, purporting to show the demographic information for the subscribers. The claim is that ELA is the only statewide business publication in Texas. ELA is "being distributed to a carefully selected group of 30,000 executives who are avid readers of business publications." That part's true: Business Week, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Economist.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Missing our local hardware store

After a couple of decades of use, the handle to the push broom acquired long ago at Twin Oaks Hardware broke. If Twin Oaks Hardware still existed, it would be possible to stop in and get a new handle and perhaps even have it attached as a courtesy. The broom itself is in fine condition. Does palmyra fiber ever wear out? If Breed & Co. can't help, there's probably no alternative to an entirely new broom. The broom itself has been used on the sidewalks several times a week, year after year.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Now setting seed

Every morning first thing, we go right out to see how much the hyacinth beans have grown. There's now a curtain of them covering the entire old-fashioned T-bar clothespole to the entire breadth of the T, with offshoots waving in the wind in all directions. Flowers are everywhere and the display is now beginning to set seed, though not one of the beautiful shiny crimson pods yet contains mature seed. We finally looked at the ground the plants spring from. There are only two survivors making all this show. All seeds sowed germinated, but some plants were consumed by grasshoppers and other pests. We'll do this every year from now on, at the clothespole and in as many other places as we can think do try dolichos lablab.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Discarding is as good as weeding

At this time of year, when dispositions are not at their most even for people dwelling in habitations that enjoy no air-conditioning, an excellent way to deal with anger is to dispose of excess articles of clothing or to go out in the yard and pull up some of those loquat seedlings now appearing everywhere in the wake of the summer rains. I'll never forget this comment: "I know how you feel, because we hardly ever turn on our air-conditioning, only when it's 90 degrees or above." That person, in other words, uses air-conditioning pretty much every day from sometime in late May until well into October or thereabouts. By the way, weeding frees the mind to think; so does sweeping the floor. Choosing what to throw away, though, involves decisions. The friend who has a tiny closet (or "clothespress," as I grew up calling it) never acquires any garment without pitching one away and never owns more than will fit behind that door. This is excellent practice for those of us living in houses built before there was more than one clothespress, if that, and in houses with closets not deep enough to hold an unangled coat hanger, containing just a row or two of hooks.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Current at last

It's clear now what sinks to the bottom of the periodicals to be read. Now, since all periodicals have been read, this will memorialize that Austin del sur came in for a mention in the YLR for Summer 2003 and that MPG mentioned K. in Winter 2004. And from a review of Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx (Adrian Nicole LeBlanc), I learned that the tough town in the book that is not the Bronx is one I know very well, so now I've got to find this in the library.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Question marks and plumbing apparatus

The butterflies with the glowing violet edges and the square tails are Question Mark butterflies. They enjoy the wonderful name of polygonia interrogationis. The lavender margins are seen in the spring and fall. We found three illustrated books on butterflies at the Yarbrough branch library, located in the old Americana Theater. At Breed & Co. (the old Everett Hardware) we also found replacement hose for the handheld shower apparatus on the bathtub. So two quests have been successfully concluded.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

BookWoman: another endangered local institution

If everyone who cares about the continued existence of BookWoman would spend some dollars there before the end of the month, it may make it through the sales drought that ensues when so many students leave town, made much, much worse this year by the chaos caused by the roadwork on Lamar. I remember when it was located in a house near campus, under another name, and then when it was an oasis on Sixth Street. If you're not a reader yourself, just remember that BookWoman represents a quarter-century of service to the Austin community and you can always buy some music, something for a child, a greeting card, a post card, a T-shirt, or deck of Bush-administration cards. Grok Books still exists in the form of BookPeople, but Europa, Garner & Smith, Congress Avenue, and Watson & Co. are among those no longer with us. Don't let BookWoman join this list.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Word interlopers

Where have all the appetizers gone? Gone to starters, every one. Where have all the runways gone? Gone to tarmac, every one. Who's responsible for popularizing these latecomer words, words that came from somewhere else?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The devil finds work

Here we go around again, thanks to Terry Teachout on (These choices appear to be set by a guy, and one of a certain age, which is showing; Terry Teachout's preferences are listed first; the ones with bold-face emphasis were made right here, with about, if not exactly, 50% divergence.)
If you had to choose [I'd prefer to think of it as saving one over the other from a fire, not making it so that one or the other never existed at all.]
1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? [a world without Astaire?]
2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises?
3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington?
4. Cats or dogs? [wouldn't be able to choose]
5. Matisse or Picasso?
6. Yeats or Eliot?
7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin? [having seen practically everything surviving, long and short, by both, I'd have to pick Buster every time -- well, some of those roller-staking Chaplin shorts would have to be saved]
8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike?
9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca?
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning?
11. The Who or the Stones?
12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath?
13. Trollope or Dickens?
14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald?
15. Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy?
16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair?
17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham?
18. Hot dogs or hamburgers?
19. Letterman or Leno?
20. Wilco or Cat Power?
21. Verdi or Wagner?
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe?
23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash?
24. Kingsley Amis or Martin Amis?
25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando?
26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp?
27. Vermeer or Rembrandt?
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin?
29. Red wine or white?
30. Noël Coward or Oscar Wilde?
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity?
32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev?
33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev?
34. Constable or Turner?
35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo?
36. Comedy or tragedy?
37. Fall or spring?
38. Manet or Monet?
39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons?
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin?
41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James?
42. Sunset or sunrise?
43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter?
44. Mac or PC?
45. New York or Los Angeles?
46. Partisan Review or Horizon?
47. Stax or Motown? [Stax horns and bass, but Motown for Smokey Robinson]
48. Van Gogh or Gauguin?
49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello?
50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine?
51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier?
52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers?
53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde?
54. Ghost World or Election?
55. Minimalism or conceptual art?
56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny?
57. Modernism or postmodernism?
58. Batman or Spider-Man?
59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams?
60. Johnson or Boswell?
61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf?
62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show?
63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table?
64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity?
65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni?
66. Blue or green?
67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It?
68. Ballet or opera?
69. Film or live theater?
70. Acoustic or electric?
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo?
72. Sargent or Whistler?
73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera?
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma?
75. Sushi, yes or no?
76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn?
77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee?
78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove?
79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham?
80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe?
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones?
82. Watercolor or pastel?
83. Bus or subway?
84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg?
85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser?
87. Schubert or Mozart?
88. The Fifties or the Twenties?
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick?
90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce?
91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins?
92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman?
93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill?
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann?
95. Italian or French cooking?
96. Bach on piano or harpsichord?
97. Anchovies, yes or no?
98. Short novels or long ones?
99. Swing or bebop?
100. "The Last Judgment" or "The Last Supper"?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Succumbing to that garden quiz

Okay; I've seen this done now on three Texas garden journals. Now it's time to give it a go here. Thanks, Bookish Gardener!
1. Lilies: oriental or Asiatic?
Oriental, because those Black Dragon blooms seen in every yard are so impressive.
2. No-till or till?
No-till, because that's the lazy person's way.
3. Bare hands or garden gloves?
Gloves for prickers, but only then.
4. Garden tchotchkes, no or yes?
Well, I do like my Jolt-Cola airplane with the spinning propeller, bought from the old man who made it, just across from the old South Austin post office.
5. Clay or sand?
Who gets to choose?
6. Shrub roses or hybrid teas?
Scent is all.
7. Hollyhocks: single or double?
Single; is there a double anything that isn't an abomination?
8. Foliage: gray or glaucous?
There's neither here, but that silvery wild nightshade seen growing through so many cracks in the sidewalk is very handsome.
9. Hemerocallis: flava or fulva?
Hemerocallis of any kind is not a favorite.
10. Impatiens: double or single?
Neither, but single is preferred if a choice must be made.
11. Calendula or tagetes?
Calendula is very pretty here in the winter.
12. Arborvitae or juniper?
Juniper, marginally.
13. Spaded edge or "edging"?
In the land of St. Augustine grass, where it exists, it can be tamed by using one of those noise-free rolling edgers with the diamond blade, or even with hand shears. When people use a sharp hand blade and make a sharp edge, that's handsome. "Edging" is not attractive.
14. Asters or mums?
15. Reflecting pool or coursing waterfall?
Moving water, always.
16. Morning glory blue or forget-me-not blue?
Morning glory, because it's more visible at a distance.
17. Lettuce: leaf or cos?
18. Hyacinth bean or red runner bean?
Hyacinth, because those seeds are so handsome.
19. Orange or pink?
Orange; in this light the gaudy prevails; furthermore, pastels remind of toilet-paper.
20. Garden bed shapes: formal or informal?
21. Garden bed planting schemes: informal or formal?
22. Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead?
As nineteenth-century as canna and, in contrast with canna, hasn't begun sneaking back into these affections.
23. Spirea japonica: dried flowerheads standing over the winter or in bloom?
In bloom, and this was a great spring for them.
24. Japanese beetle drowning medium: kerosene or dishsoap solution?
Never kerosene. Thank goodness these beetles have not been spotted in Austin; where they all but obscured grapes and peonies, it was useless to try to deal with them.
25. Garden stroll time: dusk or dawn?
Dawn patrol, but dusk also.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Local retail politics gone national

What does Last Man Standing look like to a national audience? If only there were someone to ask. It should have plenty of viewers in Blanco, Hays, and Caldwell counties. A good proportion of the district's population appears in the documentary. This campaign would have made a great reality show complete with weekly updates. Astonishingly, there was not a California-type accent to be heard, even among the young people. The twang lives.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Elis together

Rolling Stone interviews Garry Trudeau and gets him to say a word or two about his acquaintanceship with GWB when their years in New Haven overlapped. The Armour Council mentioned is the social committee for Davenport College. Oddly, the article seems to have received little attention.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Really a buck and a half

Breakin' All the Rules was just what the doctor ordered: laughs, but not the guffaw sort that are doing to be injurious to the person in delicate health, and cheap, too, at the dollar movies in Wells Branch. Maybe that pug should have had billing closer to the top. Movies that aren't mainstream don't get much play on IMDB. This is a review that conveys the social-comedy aspects of the movie and the characters, who are predominantly L.A. Buppies established in their careers, not just out of college but not settled down yet, either.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

But there were no calendars for sale

At Mexic-Arte there's a traveling exhibit from the Museo Soumaya, with plenty of original oil paintings produced as graphics for calendars printed by Galas de Mexico. Of course there were Aztec warriors galore and many other originals of artwork still in use. There aren't that many visual examples to be found in a hurry, but there is an appreciation in the form of an academic paper. We've never thrown one out. Sometimes you get a choice and sometimes you don't. Some are gifts outright and others are acquired for a dollar or so.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Stripes on the wing

For the first time this year there's been a sighting of a zebra longwing butterfly, sipping from a Turk's cap flower (the phoeo is near the bottom of the page). I've never visited the Prairie Point journal before, but I plan to again.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Inspecting while inspected

Somehow in the midst of Everything, the fact that a vehicle inspection was first due and then well past due was overlooked. Now all is well, including the non-functioning brake light not known about. We have been assured, by Dr. Fikriye Digman herself, of the Single Adults Association, she is a notary public and is available seven days a week.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Summons of doom

Almost every day there's some chore related to this latest summons to jury duty. Drat! It's been over two years since the last time so I'm fair game. At least the preliminaries are all on line, so there's no need to trek out to the dread Crockett Center by bus or cab. At this stage it appears that, if I'm actually empaneled, the dates will be the most inconvenient possible. Every once in a while there's a dream about the time that I was reached and did serve. I'll never forget any of the people on that panel.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism

K. has been reading a lot of Little Dorrit aloud. This is only his second time through. Could this have marked the first appearance of "prunes and prism[s]"? Even though in Dorrit it's prism singular, elsewhere the expression always seems to be prunes and prisms plural.

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Breeze

Favorite reading is always the Wheatsville Co-op Breeze. Favorite parts of the Breeze are reports from the various departments of the store and queries from members.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

More passion

K. noticed blue passion flowers over at the Whip In. Now we see that we have a bloom open (ours are greenish-white), with at least three more on the way.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Girls and boys of all ages

The circus this year served a practical purpose: it really does distract from the unpleasant and the painful. The pacing was great. The band appears to have more live players and be less synthesized; there are fewer showgirls. The various segments by the troupe of Chinese acrobats were favorites. Besides being displays of skills, these acts are also very beautiful to see.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Why the packaging has changed

Years ago, my fancy was caught by the packaging for Tiger Balm. A sample of each of two sorts of package has been sitting on display on the mantelpiece for over a decade. These have never been opened. Now that K. has been applying Tiger Balm because it seems to help, we notice that the packaging is quite different. The product is now distributed by an outfit called "Prince of Peace Enterprises," located in San Francisco. At the website we are assured that Tiger Balm "of course [contains] no parts of any Tigers!"

Thursday, July 08, 2004

InfoSelect again?

James Fallows, writing in the Atlantic (July/August issue), takes up the cause of free-form information managers again, in the form of InfoSelect (once DOS Tornado Notes). I used to love Tornado. MS Outlook in its "notes" component, attempts to duplicate the MicroLogic features, but fails in most respects. Maybe it's time to reinstall InfoSelect and even upgrade to the latest version. There's something about free-form info that, when it's easily searchable, permits the emergence of patterns or new ways of looking at infobits not otherwise to be found.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Fending off the Silver Seniors

We were delighted to receive a visit from our dear San Antonio friends. They've taken a step back from a lot of activities and report that they can barely set foot outside their door without being solicited to join their neighborhood Silver Seniors group. J. and B. are not silver (well; maybe they are) and they're not "senior." As always, we laughed a lot and three out of four indulged in meringue-piled pie from Luby's, which was full of police and firefighters catching some chow. J. and B. are going on a pilgrimage all over the upper east coast, which is where a contingent of their children may be found these days.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Thanks, Celia y Vicente!

The decades of concert and television footage of Celia Cruz were wonderful, but now this music won't go away! The mental jukebox must be unplugged soon, because people look at you sidelong if you burst out with "llorar y llorar" for no aparent reason.
Con dinero o sin dinero
hago siempre lo que quiero
y mi palabra es la ley.
No tengo trono ni reina
ni nadie que me comprenda
pero sigo siendo el rey

Celia must have kept the manufacturers of sequins in business.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Call me Jack

My beanstalk is ever more spectacular. The hyacinth bean trained over the T-bar clothespole is now producing satiny crimson-colored pods along with the profusion of continuing bloom. Why is this the first year that we've done this?

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Not striped yet, but getting there

Great things are being expected from frequent applications of the miracle substance Tiger Balm.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Techno disappointment

Belatedly we acquired a color television (13"). Belatedly we acquired one with a remote control. Belatedly we acquired a video recorder, using it at first to delay watching the umpteenth reruns of Perry Mason episodes and then telenovelas. When there were Sunday-morning Tejano shows (Puro Tejano; Johnny Canales), we used to tape them. Now they've all gone to cable, which we don't have, but somewhere we have some astonishing Eddie Gonzalez tapes from when he was still with Sonny Sauceda's Grupo Vida. There will no doubt come a time when a DVD player makes its way into the household. In the meantime, however, Pedazo Chunk, despite its wealth of the sort of stuff that we love to see, even on a 13-inch television) will have nothing for us, since it has no videotapes.

Friday, July 02, 2004


Is "why" now the national standard? What has happened to "how come"? "Because I said so" is the answer to "how come," but nobody seems to be asking "how come" today; it's always "why." This source reports that "how come" is a non-standard variant of why. There used to be a "howcome" domain, but it seems to be gone. Is "how come" a regional usage? The Web isn't helpful.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Canid at dawn

Color distortion caused by the City's horrible street lights (cobra-head luminaires) washed out fine detail, but the profile was beautiful. Before dawn this morning, one of the resident foxes (urocyon cinereoargenteus) came trotting all the way across the street, saw me, made a right-angle turn, and headed down the gutter, picking up speed only upon turning into the side street. It had been a while.