Oh, please, please, please! Print more self-indulgent, faux poetic, weepy farewell articles about Public Domain leaving its space ["Articulations," Vol. 18, No. 45]! They tug the heartstrings so!
Last time I checked, no one at Public Domain was dead; no one's writing implements were being confiscated (apparently!); they were not being barred from ever making theater. No. They have to leave a space. A really uncomfortable space. Dear me, will my Kleenex supply hold out?
Few people enjoy seeing a theater company lose its space. Fewer people like to see actors get so precious and whiney about relatively minor affairs. Spare us the histrionics. Save it for the stage.
In a recent issue you printed a cartoon of a grinning, naked Jesus volleying a tennis ball while nailed to a cross ["We Got Game," Vol. 18, No. 44]. In so doing, you defiled one of the most sacred images of Christianity, namely the crucifixion of its founder. At best, the cartoon was a tasteless and offensive attempt at humor. At worst, the cartoon revealed an anti-Christian prejudice that has no place in the Chronicle.
Thanks ... For Nothing
To the Chronicle,
Thank you, Raoul Hernandez, for publicizing Tuesday's Jack Logan show by insulting the 10-20 people who showed up for his show last year [Music Listings, Vol. 18, No. 45]; I speak for two of them. That October Logan show was the first live music I had attended in two years; Logan is the only thing I make an effort to see live, which I have five times now. Logan custom designed one of my tattoos: "Logan Saved This Arm" written cartoon style in purple metal flake. I knew who the former swimming pool motor repairman was, as did a good many others at that show. What threw everyone off was the absence of the Liquor Cabinet for a duo set-up with Bob Kimball, who only appeared on one track in Bulk. Kimball's good, but trying to watch these two performers as equals was impossibly uncomfortable, since you have over 60 songs to request off one and none off the other. Still, to use that show's awkward response to push this show is baffling and misrepresentative. Logan is not the acquired taste the Music Listings suggested, he is an unstoppable addiction. This is the first letter I've bothered to write to a paper and the only reason I did was because it concerned Jack Logan.
Founder of Jack's Empties,
an unofficial cult
Bryce on Guard
Dear Mr. Bryce, Chronicle:
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your article on funeralgate, SCI, Bush, and all the scoundrels ["Funeralgate Hits Texas," Vol. 18, No. 45] ... I am very grateful to have you as my watchdog. I pray you will continue to pursue this issue. God bless you and sic'em!
Dear Mr. Editor:
I read Mick Vann's story of the 1976 Burger Bite centennial with interest ["Oh, Oh Those Summer Bites!" Vol. 18, No. 45], but was surprised when he named his neighbors -- Art, Artly, and Artist -- and discussed their "Lid-O-Matic dispenser."
Although I enjoy Mr. Vann's Writings, it seems to me that he could have discussed his summer food memories without describing the extra-legal proclivities of his neighbors in such flawless, detailed accuracy.
As a fellow "follically challenged" male, I must commend Charles Harp on his "A Bald-Faced Lie?" article [Vol. 18, No. 45]. I too have observed the same behavior in women.
Maybe through responses to your article we'll learn the truth about women's attitudes to bald men. Thanks for writing the article.
In the review of William Leach's "Country of Exiles?" [Vol. 18, No. 45], the reviewer describes part of the book as containing "an ugly streak of immigrant-bashing." Readers will have to read the book for themselves to discover this, however, since the review provides no evidence to support the claim.
Maybe I just didn't get it. Is criticizing the economic effects of an immigration policy that has historically served the interests of business rather than "elasticity" similar to being nativist and racist? That's how I understood the reviewer's meaning, though I suspect he didn't intend this.
CAMPO (formerly Austin Transportation Study) has accepted the federal government's control/plans which can be used to evict centrally located low income Austinites through the use of TEA-21 "Enhancements" funding. This CAMPO action occurred Monday before the city of Austin council members have approved of these projects. CAMPO is being used to guarantee construction of light rail projects.
The light rail vote by Cap Metro was apparently delayed this year to ensure that CAMPO could approve the "timely" funding for projects of at least two light rail stations.
One light rail station is to be the old Seaholms power plant on Town Lake, the other will be East of
I-35 at Third and Fourth and is to be called the Plaza Saltillo- Phase II. The funding to build these stations is to be available even before Austinites get to vote on light rail.
CAMPO did place a note of gloom on the Capitol Gateway Roundabout project at the intersection of South Congress Avenue and Live Oak Street. The Roundabout would not have any traffic signals, the two light rail lines would have to mix with cars; this is a problem.
Should light rail be approved by voters, all the property between the Congress Avenue light rail route and the State's Commuter Rail line/Capitol Metro Blue light rail line running parallel to Lamar will increase in value at a very harsh pace. And most lower-paid Austinites living there will not be able to afford to pay the property taxes. And the light rail plan to run from Plaza Saltillo to the new airport is waiting in the wings, coming to residents of East Austin soon.
This same Smart Growth plan to remove the lower-paid residents from their properties was used in Portland, and is very effective.
So here is a "warning." Once the communities surrounding Austin see how easy it is to tax out the common people in the community, to take your property and turn it over to a better class of citizen, then the elite in your community may well begin gentrification programs. As in Austin, you will have to leave your hometown and your land to make room for your betters.
This is Smart Growth, a strongly nationalized, federally funded program designed to quickly build a 24-hour-a-day consumer market place, sans the poor, of course.
Turn Out for Transit
It's evident from the discussion in these pages that many people in Austin have good, sensible ideas about how to run a transportation system in Austin. People know that buses and trains need to run until at least 2am, not at 10:30pm. We know that buses, trolleys, and trains shouldn't dump people several blocks outside a destination (e.g., a shopping mall) which allows cars into its center. We know that buses and trolleys need to come every seven minutes and midrange trains every 15 minutes. We know that we need not just one form of rail but several: trolleys for short distances, "light" rail for clear-across-town distances, and commuter rail between cities. We also need a network of safe streets for the use of foot travelers, bicyclists, and wheelchairs. Ideally these streets should be car-free. Parking spaces for cars need to cost money: at least $7/hour or $400/month. We need a regional gasoline tax, so that burning irreplaceable fuel will not seem like such a cheap and easy solution to problems. Surveys have indicated that people don't change their driving habits until gasoline costs $5/gallon. So let's tax it and spend the money on public transportation facilities.
We need a bicycle route along every rail line we build. We don't need to cut costs by getting diesel trains instead of electric. Public transit should not belch smoke in people's faces. We need transit lines instead of parking lots in our parks. We need at least one trolley line and at least one car-free zone right away.
Capital Metro's public transportation workshop is being held on Saturday, July 17, 8:30am to noon, at UT's Thompson Conference Center. Let's all go.
Decline of Civilization
Austin's inexorable slide into total dismal Houstonoid mega-Metroplex urban squalor continued last week when my favorite restaurant, Threadgill's, changed its menu. Gone from this Earth is the beloved Chef's Choice vegetable platter.
Of course you recall the Chef's Choice, which the waitstaff signified on your check as "ORGY." That heaping smorgasbord of nine veggies for the price of five stood as Austin's unparalleled bargain, the trivial drawback being that you got whichever nine dishes the cook decided you wanted that day. As though that were a problem! What vegetable at Threadgill's does not make the mouth water, the heart beat a semiquaver faster? Overwhelmed by the plenitude, you simply surrendered with light heart and serene anticipation; you trusted the chef's choice; always, the chef chose well. How often does indecision bring such high rewards?
Was that orgy, like so many others, too costly for its sponsor? Okay, I could understand a price hike. But the Chef's Choice has not merely left the written menu, the food equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy; no, its code is gone from the computer, a scary Chapter 7 annihilation. The chef no longer chooses, period. What was the problem? Risk of lawsuits?
Our social fabric is unraveling around us.
Open Up to Opossums
Two of the things Austin is noted for are music and the natural environment. If you are into the music, well, you just know. If not, perhaps it is something you should investigate. As far as nature goes, a question could be posed: What is the worth of opossums and other animals roaming our forested Central Texas hills? The answer is very complex and not easily arrived at unless one has studied a good bit of biology. Yet it is an answer that is highly pertinent in the tug-of-war that exists here between the developers and those pro-nature.
David Quammen, a well respected nature writer, has provided us with a painless way to study the question about the opossums. In his highly readable book, Song of the Dodo, he writes about island biogeography, a seemingly dry-sounding term that by the end of the book has assumed a vast importance.
Quammen's book covers a broad panorama about the colorful field biologists and their important discoveries, as well as the animals that colonized islands only to become extinct. It is full of joy, despair, and ultimately hope. The hope is that in the end, we get a glimpse of what it would take to keep the animals in the forest.
It would be very useful for those who enjoy the natural world to read and study this work. With this book read, one can have a firm voice in the matter of the opossum, for yes, we do have islands here and around our community.
Good Neighbors Bathe
I'm a hard working, red-blooded American and I've got something to say: I'm sick and tired of those loud-mouth, stupid hippies spewing out that self-righteous excrement about the world being a better place if everybody rode bikes. That fool that wrote in about community building through bike riding must have the I.Q. of a retarded monkey. If everybody rode bikes, the community would not be stronger; it would be weaker. People would turn their heads in disgust from the festering odors of their peers after long bike rides to work. I know that I don't want to live in a city where a million people are carrying some kind of strain of mutant b.o. The community in Austin isn't weak because of cars. The community is weak because no one wants to be around all of those disgusting little garbage-spewing hippies and their self-righteous opinions about the rest of us. I have a final word to Ezra Teter and all of his hippie friends: Take a bath and get a job.