Saturday, April 30, 2005

Best yet

This Marriage of Figaro, Saturday version, could not have had a better Figaro and Susanna. What intelligent singers and actors, and what fine voices! This vindicates, once again, our reasoning for attending on Saturday, rather than Friday, night. If people are sharp, they will have contracted Morgan Smith and Alicia Berneche for future roles. Jane Thorngren was an excellent countess. The opera was not spending big bucks on sets or costumes this year. With the distinguished lighting designs of David Nancarrow, a bare stage would work just fine.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Anger trumps serenity

Lately it's true that saying "I'm an angry person" causes an outbreak of laughter. This is better than trying to stay calm, complete with gritted teeth and tight jaw. There are still roof shingles to be found up and down the street.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"One if by land, two if by sea"

The oak tree had already been felled. The permits had been obtained to split the lot and multiply the built square footage many times over. People were told that the existing house would be moved early in the morning, around four o'clock. It turned out to be shortly after midnight. In the wake of the house's passage and ancillary destruction, the accompanying crowd increased, with some running ahead to knock on doors and alert householders with trees to what was in store. Accompanying off-duty police, legally using taxpayer-funded equipment and vehicles, told some people to move their cars and ordered others not to obstruct the roadway. Where the house didn't take down limbs, there were chainsaws at the ready to do the job. A trailer bringing up the rear was the receptacle of the biggest downed limbs; smaller trash was left in the street. We're seeing more towaways and teardowns all the time, as the super-high appraisal values placed on the land raise taxes to the point where longtime householders can no longer pay them, clearing the way for construction of Giant Uglitudes. Riffraff 'R' Us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Polygonia interrogationis

The first question mark butterfly of the season was around late in the day. The attraction was probably fallen loquats. There are gulf fritillaries at all stages. The first verbascum and firewheel blossoms have appeared. Poppies still open. What are probably the last three narcissi are of two kinds, both mysteries, both medium in size, one type with a peachy trumpet and the other with a yellow, hoopy cup. Shirley and Iceland poppies are just ahead of the heat. The very doubled, creamy oleander is blanketed in blooms. The original pink oleander has succumbed entirely to the blight, but a couple of its offspring are about to bloom and seem to be fine, at least for the time being. We saw a medium-sized butterfly that had very delicate antennae. It rested on a pecan leaf. With its wings folded, it almost matched the color of this recently opened foliage. With its wings open, its color was very pale, almost white, tending toward greenish. It was not any kind of cabbage or sulphur butterfly. We had never seen it before. K. sees lots of great crested flycatchers over east; we hear warblers but have not yet seen any.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

PhotoStamps are back!

Beginning on May 16, PhotoStamps will be available again. For the next week or so, whenever I'm bored to death, instead of thinking up domain names or business-card designs, I'll be considering possible PhotoStamp images. Too bad I'm not on good terms with the person who now possesses the photograph of Legacy Mac harnessed to the high-wheel sulky. That would be a good one for sure. I wrote about these before, old philatelist that I am, but they were withdrawn before we could decide what to order. K. was surprised to read that a prediction of mine is being fulfilled: people are collecting snapshots of unknown people and of subjects of all kinds. Google tells me that there's even a documentary: "Other People's Pictures." I've always lingered over them and am one of the few people on this earth who is not at all bored to see anybody's most recently developed photographs. Back when they were cheaper than post cards of any vintage are now, CCH used to buy daguerreotypes and the like just for their cases. I always thought that the pictures were more interesting. Right now the description slated for the (non-business) card is living national treasure. Today I read of someone billed as an urban shaman; are there suburban ones?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Not smoking in Eire

On a lot of listservs around town, there's much comment about the ballot proposal to change the anti-smoking law. People keep bringing up the example of the Republic of Ireland. Any fair person would have to admit that the smell of wet tweed alone is much more bearable than the smell of wet woollens with an aura of bad tobacco added to it, particularly in confined quarters.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Survival mode

The entertainment prescription was filled by Stephen Chow. I've never thought he displays a lot of personality; he's sort of an empty vessel or a blank canvas, but he certainly has a vivid and creative imagination. Kung Fu Hustle was not dubbed. It's just packed with familiar faces from several eras of Hong Kong moviedom. We never saw the version of Shaolin Soccer officially released here, but an earlier, longer version. On campus, several of his movies were screened back when there was lots of Hong Kong, but who knows what titles they were seen under? Sammo was credited for some of the fight choreography. Even with a pressing schedule, we couldn't resist fitting in a show starting at 10:25. The turnout was large enough that we may hope to see other morning screenings.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Legitimate and specific

Motiv Legitimate Design should have kept it at "Legitimate Design," thereby joining Specific Motor Works, now just a ghostly presence haunting Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Joe's Generic Bar, with its bar-code sign. And then there's the mysterious Southern States Giftwrap Company down on St. Elmo. Is this outfit in the business of wrapping up the southern states? Or what? Note to Self: I want a Butler Building of my very own. Inside it will be a jukebox, a roller-rink and unlimited shelving. Those are just a some of the specs. There will, of course, be barn-type doors on rails and at least one giant lift-up door.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Readings from Club Desvelado

From Metropolis magazine, The Cruise Ship Diaries (Karrie Jacobs) entertained, especially the great quest to find the elevator deck taking one to the crew's quarters and the crew-only watering hole. This Karrie Jacobs is the very same person who wrote so entertainingly about toothpaste proliferation. She is probably the reason that we maintain this subscription. In the New Yorker (18 April 2005), the incomparable John McPhee is given enough space to enlighten about the problems inherent in transporting live lobsters (with many fascinating digressions), "sortation" at the UPS hub, and supply-chain and logistics management, among many, many other topics. Not that it's been publicized, but a candidate for the Austin city council put in a PIR request that's up at the City website, for names and titles of all City employees with salaries of $85,000 and over. The reader must download and sort by amount and then by department in order to reveal the true beauty of this little item, which is just one among several linked from this page of PIRs.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

25 bands you've seen live

Meme time: Copy this list, leave in the bands you've seen perform live. Delete the ones you haven't and add other ones you've seen until they total 25. The asterisk means that these are bands that the previous person had on his/her list. Two asterisks mean the last 2 people that did this had this band on their list, etc.

(in no particular order, from WAE)

01. Ike and Tina Turner Review
02. Van Morrison
03. Sly and the Famiily Stone
04. The Band
05. Creedence Clearwater Revival
06. Steve Miller Band
07. The Isley Brothers
08. Asleep at the Wheel
09. Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys
10. Joe Ely
11. La Tropa F
12. Clarence Carter
13. Little Milton
14. Thelonious Monk
15. Ray Price
16. Los Dos Gilbertos
17. Ruben Vela
18. Toni Price
19. Marcia Ball
20. Willie Nelson *
21. Albert King
22. Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones
23. Geezinslaws
24. Don Walser
25. Rank and File

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Return to the thrilling days of yesteryear

There are many on-line transcriptions of the Baltimore catechism, in service from 1891 to 1963 or thereabouts. I didn't earn as much money for drilling the catechism as I did for carrying lunches to people on the way back to school for the afternoon. The bad things that kids called one another were "snot," "brat," "snotty brat," and "heretic." It seemed peculiar to hear so much Latin again. I like this store. Gellman's and Winn's used to sell dresses and veils for First Holy Communion. Now there are stores over on the eastside that sell quince dresses. They may open only by appointment, but I bet they sell some of the same items for little kids.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


The grackles are feasting on oak-leaf rollers and on loquats, although the bluejays fight with them over the fruits. So long as the oak flowers are raining down (and so long as the grackles are raining down, too, in their inimitable and messy way), there's no point in hauling out the screen pavilion. There will probably soon be some pecan flowers as well. In the meantime, through the window-glass, the following are enjoyed: fennel, bachelor buttons, red poppies, passion flowers, thunbergia, the second kind of allium, Drummond phlox of a kind that seems to produce larger flowers, black-eyed Susans, Dutch tulips, pink cyclamen, asclepias, geraniums, and nasturtiums in pots, a couple more Ice Follies, some Thalia, and mystery bulbs, some doubled, and, last, but not least, a bright-red amaryllis in a pot from three years ago. Anemones and ranunculus are frying and fading. There's still one purple iris. Oddest of all are some red bluebonnets. How they got here is unknown. The plants had not appeared in the fall. I lately read that asclepias has a very long taproot and spends the first three or four years developing that before ever there are flowers. Ours in pots just appeared once creatures, probably neighbor cats, had eaten the parsley in those pots. The parsley came from the South Austin farmers' market in El Gallo's parking lot, where we've been finding great asparagus and nonpareil peas. I've broken down and ordered hyacinth bean seeds through the mail. Usually we have volunteers or else find some seeds in town, or both. This year the baby plants were frozen or consumed or something.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Let and let's

The sheet music was probably among the few selected to be kept because of the cover art, but so far the only listing for that is "artist unknown." This must have been quite a popular tune since so many copies of the music still exist after all this time. When following up to learn that Let's Keep The Glow in Old Glory is from 1918, I found several collections of sheet music on the Web. The following exhortations are from what's available in San Jose, California.

Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella On a Rainy Day (Piano)
Fain, Sammy; Kahal, Irving;Wheeler, Francis full entry

Let All My Life Be Music (Piano)
Spross, Charles Gilbert; Moore, Elizabeth full entry

Let It Be Forgotten (Piano)
Sacco, John; Teasdale, Sara full entry

Let It Be You (Piano)
Kingsford, Charles; Teasdale, Sara full entry

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Piano)
Styne, Jule; Cahn, Sammy full entry

Let Me Awake (Piano)
Schubert, Franz; Berte, Heinrich; Donnelly, Dorothy full entry

Let Me Be Your Honey Bee! (Piano)
Lowitz, John; Lewis, S.M. full entry

Let Me Be Your Rain Beau (Piano)
Hansen, Clarence; Nathan, Norman; Hansen, Clarence; Nathan, Norman full entry

Let Me Bring My Clothes Back Home (Piano)
Jones, Irving; Jones, Irving full entry

Let Me Call You Sweetheart (I'm In Love With You) (Piano)
Friedman, Leo; Whitson, Beth Slater full entry

Let Me Die on the Deep (Piano)
Dewey, James; Reese, Lowell Otus full entry

Let Me Dream Again (Piano)
Sullivan, Arthur; Stevenson, B.G. full entry

Let Me Go Back (Piano)
Jerome, Ben; Stoddard, George;Taylor, Charles full entry

Let Me Go Remembering (Piano)
Dungan, Olive; Gore, Gertrude full entry

Let Me Go, Lover! (Piano)
Carson, Jenny Lou; Carson, Jenny Lou;Hill, Al (special lyrics) full entry

Let Me Have My Dreams (Piano)
Akst, Harry; Clarke, Grant full entry

Let Me Hear the Songs My Mother Used To Sing (Piano)
Gabriel, Edward; Gordon, Janet full entry

Let Me Kiss Your Tears Away Mama Dear (Piano)
Engelke, Sandy; Buck, Richard Henry full entry

Let Me Linger Longer In Your Arms (Piano)
Baer, Abel; Friend, Cliff full entry

Let Me Love Thee (Piano)
Arditi, Luigi; Maynard, Walter full entry

Let Me Remember Music (Piano)
McKay, Francis; Russell, Sydney King full entry

Let me rest in the land of my birth (Piano)
Harroway, J.; Jefferus, C. full entry

Let Me Sing and I'm Happy (Piano)
Berlin, Irving; Berlin, Irving full entry

Let my song fill your heart (Piano)
Charles, Ernest; Charles, Ernest full entry

Let not your heart be troubled (Piano)
Fairchild, Helen full entry

Let the bells keep ringing (Piano)
Anka, Paul; Anka, Paul full entry

Let the end of the world come tomorrow (as long as you love me today) (Piano)
Ball, Ernest; Cunningham, Paul full entry

Let the hills and vales resound (Piano)
Richards, Brinley; Cooper, Geo. full entry

Let the little ones come unto me (Piano)
Turner-Maley, Florence; Luke, J. full entry

Let the rest of the world go by (Piano)
Ball, Ernest; Brennan, J. Keirn full entry

Let there be peace on earth (let it begin with me) (Piano)
Miller, Sy; Jackson, Jill; Miller, Sy; Jackson, Jill full entry

Let us boys fight for our nation! (and stick to the U.S.A.) (Piano)
Gensburger, Fred; Haimovitch, Victor full entry

Let Us Dance on the Sands (Piano)
Glover, Stephen; Carpenter, J.E. full entry

Let's all be good pals together (for when you're gone you're gone a long long time) (Piano)
Erdman, Ernie; Davis, Benny full entry

Let's all sing like the birdies sing (Piano)
Evans, Tolchard; Hargreaves, Robert;Damerell, Stanley full entry

Let's Bring New Glory to Old Glory (Piano)
Warren, Harry; Gordon, Mack full entry

Let's Call It a Day (Piano)
Brown, Lew; Henderson, Ray; Brown, Lew; Henderson, Ray full entry

Let's call it all a dream (Piano)
Powell, Ted; Pollack, Lew; Powell, Ted; Pollack, Lew full entry

Let's Dance (Song)
Herzer, Wallie full entry

Let's Dine Alone Tonight (Piano)
Keil, Ruth Sylvia; Keil, Ruth Sylvia full entry

Let's Forget (and be sweethearts again) (Piano)
Whiting, Richard; Lewis, Al full entry

Let's Get Away From It All (Piano)
Dennis, Matt; Adair, Tom full entry

Let's Get Friendly (Piano)
Dougherty, Dan; Yellen, Jack;Silvers, Sid full entry

Let's Get Lost (Piano)
McHugh, Jimmy; Loesser, Frank full entry

Let's get on a merry-go-round (Piano)
Handman, Lou; Grossman, Bernie full entry

Let's Give Love Another Chance (Piano)
Lombardo, Carmen; Magidson, Herb; Lombardo, Carmen; Magidson, Herb full entry

Let's Go (Piano)
Fuller, Arthur; Thompson, C.M. full entry

Let's Go (Piano)
Schertzinger, Victor; Richman, Harry full entry

Let's Go Fishing (My Dear) (Piano)
Dattilo, V.; Roberts, K.M. full entry

Let's Go For Broke (Piano)
Owens, Harry; Owens, Harry full entry

Let's Go Native (Piano)
Whiting, Richard; Marion, Geo. Jr. full entry

Let's go out in the open air (Piano)
Ronell, Ann; Ronell, Ann full entry

Let's go out on a jamboree (Piano)
Deely, Ben; Deely, Ben full entry

Let's Go Sparkin' (Piano)
Dean, Eddie; Blair, Hal; Dean, Eddie; Blair, Hal full entry

Let's Go To Spoonland (Piano)
Mason, Laura; Mason, Laura full entry

Let's go to the Mardi-Gras (Piano)
Bove, J. Henry; Bove, J. Henry full entry

Let's grow old together (Piano)
Nelson, Bob; Nelson, Bob full entry

Let's have a Georgia honeymoon (Piano)
Lee, Bobby; Benson, Carver full entry

Let's keep the glow in Old Glory (and the free in freedom too) (Piano)
Speroy, Robert; Nesbit, Wilbur full entry

Let's Love (Piano)
Gebhardt, Wm.; Burke, John full entry

Let's make love while the moon shines (Piano)
Harris; Robinson; Harris; Robinson full entry

Let's make up and be sweethearts again (Piano)
Bafunno, Antonio; Maguire, Sylvester full entry

Let's Pretend (Piano)
Nolan, Bob; Nolan, Bob full entry

Let's Pretend It's True (Piano)
Ward, Edward; Wright, Bob;Forrest, Chet full entry

Let's Put Out The Lights (And Go To Sleep) (Piano)
Hupfeld, Herman; Hupfeld, Herman full entry

Let's Sail to Dreamland (Piano)
Kogen, Harry; Busse, Henry; Holzer, Lou full entry

Let's Sing Again (Piano)
McHugh, Jimmy; Kahn, Gus full entry

Let's Spend an Evening At Home (Piano)
Barris, Harry; Freed, Arthur full entry

Let's Start All Over (Piano)
Webster, M. Coates; Webster, M. Coates full entry

Let's start all over again (Piano)
Howard, Joseph; Behm, Arthur; Howard, Joseph; Behm, Arthur full entry

Let's Stay Together (Piano)
Mitchell, Willie; Green, Al; Mitchell, Willie; Green, Al full entry

Let's take a walk around the block (Piano)
Arlen, Harold; Gershwin, Ira;Harburg, E.Y. full entry

Let's take the long way home (Piano)
Arlen, Harold; Mercer, Johnny full entry

Let's talk about my sweetie (Piano)
Donaldson, Walter; Kahn, Gus full entry

Let's wait for the last train home (Piano)
Piani, Harry; Cunningham, Paul full entry

Let's Wander Away (Piano)
Burtnett, Earl; Owens, Harry; Burtnett, Earl; Owens, Harry full entry

I'm still trying to find that sheet music for Moon Moths with the pretty moth-girls on the cover.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Speaking of green stuff

Another item in yesterday's mail was yet another offer to pay cash for the house. Usually these are addressed to "occupant" or "owner" and name no specific figure. This one was different, naming names and numbers. Are others receiving these? Or just people whose houses appear to be on the larger lots? There are more and more teardowns, along with additions that are four and five times larger than the original house; and there is more and more construction of additional habitations behind or beside existing dwellings, with and without permits. Trees are being felled weekly. This will pick up once the new appraisal notices are in the mail. It wasn't that long ago that financial institutions, with the exception of one, would not lend here, so that lots of cash up front and the willingness of sellers to bear some of the mortgage burden were all that allowed property transfers to take place. The "smart" people were moving to N-P-C or Bill Milburn or even John Lloyd. Now "they" are trying to move the riffraff out so that the speculators can move in. I haven't noticed that there's any pressure from, or smoothing of the way by, the City for "urban infill" on Niles Road, for instance.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Green stuff

Even though we were late in getting to the South Austin farmers' market, we still cleaned up again on asparagus and the best peas ever. And the tax refund was in the mail. It's preferable to come out even with Uncle Sam but, if that doesn't work out, it's certainly better for him to owe you and not the other way around.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Let's keep the glow in Old Glory and the free in freedom too

If only! This turned up again when another image was being sought. It's from the sheet-music collection of K.'s grandfather. K. is able to read Trollope and Wodehouse and some sports; I've got to stop reading the news, too.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Mystery of the potato blossoms

When potatoes sprout or otherwise become questionable as to their value for human consumption, they're banished to a certain part of the yard in a sort-of compost pile that isn't the real compost pile. There they usually shoot up ornamental leaves, sometimes followed by blossoms and then by rather good potatoes, very fresh ones. Suddenly the usual blue blossoms have been joined by white ones. Do we have a new kind of potato? It has really been a very long time since we've seriously grown a potato of any kind, so this note is to serve as a reminder to look into this mystery. There seem to be fewer and fewer people who refer to "English peas" (to distinguish them from just plain peas, or "cowpeas" as they're called elsewhere) or "Irish potatoes" (to distinguish them from sweet potatoes or yams). This is akin to needing to order "hot tea" if you don't want iced tea.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Next year it'll all happen in Pflugerville

Another events promoter has reported difficulties here in Austin in connection with the social side of Texas Relays weekend. The person last week who complained about the nature and timing of communications with the new Austin Hilton is from out of town. The outfit circulating the e-mail today has very frequent events here in Austin, at several venues. Will the local daily report about this also? There never has been a follow-up report containing the actual terms of the hotel contract.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Portable holes and dop kits and duffles

The local daily published a commemoration of the post-WWII polio epidemic. An iron lung was mentioned as having "portable holes." This must have been seen by a lot of eyes before it made print. And now nobody knows about Dopp kits. And duffel coats and duffel bags are fading from common knowledge. And very soon the last of those who know the difference will have been translated to other planes of existence.

Monday, April 11, 2005

First of the season

The largest of the western fence lizards was sighted for the first time this spring yesterday afternoon, even larger than before. He seems to have moved his base of operations from a frontyard live oak to the pecan out back. I'm not going to try to catch him to see if his belly is really blue and confirm that he is in fact a he. The first passionflower of the spring opened. And yours truly went aloft and got those sunflowers and mimosa seedlings out of the gutter; the plumber's auger worked well once again to unclog the downspouts on that side. That accounts for a third of the roof-and-gutter cleaning to be done. The first peas from the farmers' market on South Congress were inexpressibly delicious.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


The best update on the saga of Burt's Bees is in MORE magazine. The owner shuns the simple life these days. Winters in North Carolina aren't good enough; now she spends them in West Palm Beach, Florida. She sold the biggest share of the company. The most successful product is currently tinted lip gloss. Ms. Quimby seems to harbor a degree of contempt for Down Easters, although she once contemplated running to be governor of Maine on the Green ticket. And then there's the wonderful feature (author, Joshua Davis) in Wired about a team of high-school kids from the barrios of Phoenix who entered a robotics contest and won. Somebody should acquire the rights to this story for a screenplay. Too bad the kids, all being born on the wrong side of the border, aredn't eliglble for the modest degree of assistance required to advance their futures. MORE comes into the house to fulfill a subscription to some expired periodical, I forget which. Sometimes, I consider not renewing Wired, which is not at all as much fun as it once was, but then there's something truly interesting. I see that there's a posting about the robotics story at DailyKos. The Sunday NYT piece on Blackmun by Linda Greenhouse excerpted from a forthcoming book was fascinating for its quotations from his papers. The angle was his evolving views on Roe and also the advent of Day O'Connor and Bader Ginsburg. Frontiero is also discussed in the article. As best as can be recalled, there were seven females admitted with K., and we could think of five of them.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Selena and Helena and Relays weekend

Read no further if you are not in search of a roundup of rants. For whatever reason, today's local daily did a brief feature on Selena Vive, the extravaganza this week at the former Astrodome in Houston that was televised live on Univision. The genesis of all this must have been a realization that the U.S.-based portion of Univision, except for the novelas, has a heavy Cuban influence and that, demographically speaking, there needs to be more attention paid to the border states. There were many national sponsors and there was plenty of attention paid to the Quintanillas. It's only fair to say that the Kumbia Kings, despite being a wholly owned subsidiary of the family enterprise, are really, really talented. Mostly or only EMI-Latin artists were asked to appear, so that ruled out Emilio, which probably suited everybody fine, since, even though he and Selena recorded at least one duet together and appeared on the same bill sometimes, he's been in some trouble lately. Gloria Estefan didn't even sound live. Paulina Rubio and Alejandra Guzman gave it their all. The saddest sight was to see Bobby Pulido sing a truncated song and then have to introduce Jay (La Voz) Perez to follow him, who really hammed it up and was ludicrous in a white Kangol. Graciela Beltran has really matured since we heard her out at the rodeo that year. We saw only some of the show, missing Ana Barbara and several others. They must have drawn their Selena songs out of a hat.

The big complaint of the AA-S reporter was that different performers pronounced Selena's name in different ways, sometimes even rhyming it with "Helena." "Helena" is a particularly poor word to chose, since the Montana capital is HELL-en-a, the old-time American pronunciation is "hell-EEEN-a," and in other circumstances it's prnounced "el-LANE-a" or "hel-LANE-a." And it's "sell-EEN-a," though it's not surprising that the miscellaneous roundup of performers from other parts of the Latin world said "sell-ENN-a" or "sel-LANE-a." What was the reporter's point?

Of course, it took me a long time as a kid to realize that "Great Aunt Moriah" (I thought she was named after the Mount Moriah Masonic temple) was really "ma-RYE-uh," spelled M-A-R-I-A. The so-called "American" pronunciation was not "ma-REE-uh" in those days.

Speaking of the local daily, it gave the Texas Relays - Hilton Hotel piece the above-the-fold play that it deserves, even though in the second section. But the reporter did not obtain the contract in dispute and did not quote liberally enough from the promoter's cancellation e-mail. I wonder whether the AP wire and subsequently other papers nationally will pick up this story as they did the APD - Cash - Baylor - Midtown news of a few weeks ago.

Friday, April 08, 2005


OPD stands for "other people's driveways." It's bad enough that idiots are behind the wheels of vehicles they have no idea how to manage. It's bad enough that these vehicles have high and very bright lights. It's bad enough that people don't know enough not to have their high beams on in the heart of town. It's bad enough that people know nothing about parallel parking. It's bad enough that they're suburb-reared idiots who never give a thought to going around the block if they're too impaired to make a U-turn, if they're ever capable of making one at all. No; they use OPDs to get turned around. And they shine their stupid over-bright lights right into people's houses. And they're such bad drivers that they can't even deal with the width of a driveway. They scrape the curbs. They break down the curbs and the driveways themselves. They drive over people's plants and flowers. I want a set of evil, vicious tire- and vehicle-destroying spikes that will rise up beneath trespassing vehicles and wreak serious and expensive damage.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


A given song can be associated with a certain mood, time, place. That's why it's good to hear something new. But sometimes those old jukebox stinkers just rise to the surface. There was a funny musical coincidence, though: K. has been tormenting us with that old Dean Martin song (not thought of in years and years and years) called something like "Memories Are Made of This," with a choral refrain or obligato that goes something like "the mem'ries you gave-a me." This morning Rod Moag played some Margo Smith vinyl and she sang that song. Yikes! Anyhow, I was able to work and have the radio on at the same time, so I went on from Rod M. to Isidoro Lopez. I really like Marcos Orozco's voice, even though I've never heard him in person, not even when he was with David Lee Garza and came through Austin all the time. IL also played a new Tropa F and also some Bobby Flores, which was really snappy. I bet he doubled voice when he was touring with Ray Price; the voices are similar. So are the tempi.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Western Union takes a huge one. I'd forgotten how much it costs to get cash in a hurry to somebody who needs it. It had really been a while. It used to be that there was a window downtown, at various locations at various times. H-E-B is now among the many places, and I suppose that these days it can be done on line or by telephone. Those poor people who are out there sending cash every week to the other side really lose a lot in the transaction. We didn't have time to think. We couldn't tie up the telephone and anyhow we assumed that a TouchTone connection would be needed, though that may not be the case. If we'd been able to use the telephone, we could have checked on line with the dial-up connection. And we needed to get out to a financial institution before closing time. Now that I think of it, that must be why people get ATM accounts. As I thought I remembered, Orlandi Valuta is a subsidiary of Western Union these days. OV probably takes an even larger portion of what's sent. We're reminded all over again how it just takes one misstep or a little misfortune to have one foot slide over the edge and endanger everything that's been built up over the years, one medical crisis, one accident, one funeral bill. K.'s the one who heard the story first-hand, but I'm ashamed to say that I'm still affected myself, even though it's just by proxy, except for doing some of the thinking and legwork. It also brought to mind, upsettingly, quick trips to the jail on Crownpoint to bail people out and REH getting up from the table to answer calls on major holidays. I always think that, were it to come to that, I'd rather die than do it, but it's probably braver and better to ask for help.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sucked in already

Even though La Madrastra does in fact turn out to be a remake of Para Toda La Vida, all the details are different, and I'm already sucked in, even though I missed the first two episodes and even though there's this horrible pair of clowns complete with lots of sentimental music and even though there's a lot of other old-fashioned and maudlin junk.

Monday, April 04, 2005

At the pole

Whoever posted the lost-pet sign on the utility pole was very kind and careful not to tread all over the poppies in bloom and other flowers-to-be when doing so. And so far, no busybody has taken it upon himself or herself to remove the poster. Busybodies tend not to be so careful of the flowers. The poppies are corn poppies and true poppies.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Peaceful, mostly

Despite the footrace, the hovering helicopters were few, the loudspeakers were not heard, all was quiet. So we scotched the notion of running a bunch of errands in favor of enjoying the luxury. Then some creephead with a whining electric leafblower broke the silence, spending two hours on rounding up a few leaves that a rake, a broom, a dustpan, and a paper sack would have taken care of in five minutes. So to skip some of this gross intrusion there was a quick dash to KashKarry for some ground pork. The butcher was already grinding some for a woman who planned to make meatballs to go with pasta; ours was for meatloaf. It was even possible to get to the main library, the streets having opened sooner than it was reported that they would be.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Coming on strong

Sometimes Thalia marks the beginning of the end of the bulb season; sometimes it's the pheasant-eye or poet narcissi Geranium, Flower Record, Actaea, and the like. We're seeing lots of Thalia, plus saucer-sized clematis blooms from our Albertson's 99-cent specimen, and some red Drummond phlox. There are still more anemone and ranunculus blooms than we've had in years, perhaps ever, but certainly more than in at least a decade. Remarkably, they've stood up extremely well to winds, hail, and torrents. Oaks are blooming; pecans are showing first buds.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Reason to go aloft

When there are wild sunflowers growing in the gutters, it's time to go up and clean them out.