Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh, woe

After a long run of rah-rah stuff on Cat and UH-V, it looks like the Vicad has set out on a Fatal Phillips series. Bum Phillips is an interesting guy, as who isn't at his age, and Gabe Semenza is a good writer, but a reader must ask if this is really necessary.
The UH-V story was covered more thoroughly and honestly by blogger Edith Ann than was done in the paper. As for Caterpillar, we certainly need some payroll that will benefit the great ruck of Coastal Bend humanity, but how often do we see these salvation-has-arrived stories degenerate into quarreling and chaos? Guess we'll find out. I hope it's true ... about the only good working-class jobs around here are in the plants, and we need more jobs like that. Working people may not be as sexy as two-steppin' tourists, but they will spend their checks at home, and on stuff like pick-ups and houses and swimming pools and groceries. I think that's good for the general economy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Collateral damage, cultural cataclysm

Ma Crosby's in Acuña, the Cadillac in Nuevo Laredo, the Kentucky Club in Cd. Juárez – classic border-town ginmills – are all barely surviving the narcoviolence in Mexico. I've wasted time and substance in all of these places. Ma Crosby's was the place to go for dinner in Villa Acuña. The food was good. When I was around there in the early 60s, there was an old man who hung around in the restaurant, Jaime Quiñones by name, as I recall, who was supposed to have been a general during the Revolution. You could eat your tampiqueña and then slip into the bar for a couple of drinks afterward, maybe smoke a La Perla. The Kentucky Club is a old, old joint with a long, heavy bar down one side and booths and tables down the other. The mirror behind the bar was all discolored and losing its backing, but you could still study yourself in it as you nipped along on a cervecita. Dignified bartenders and bow-tied waiters looked like they'd worked the job since the 1930s, and maybe they had, as it was considered a respected trade. Cormac McCarthy drank at the Kentucky Club when he lived in El Paso. The Cadillac is a couple of blocks off the main drag in Nuevo Laredo. Shoppers would drop in for a Ramos gin fizz or a big steak after a hard day of acquisition. The loss of any one is a loss to all of border history., and all will be mourned. From an NPR story:
Mexico's drug cartel war has killed more than 28,000 people in four years, but some of the collateral damage has not been as noticeable. A trio of famous, Prohibition-era cantinas in Mexican border cities, having survived more than 80 turbulent years, are in deep trouble.

Read it all here.
Maybe a block and a half from the Kentucky Club and down a side street was Tommy's Rendezvous. I used to take a copita from time to time with the piano player there, nice-looking and amusing guy named Javier. He was hell on the tourist ladies who'd drop in from time to time. Javier had two complete families, wife, children, house and all, one in the central part of town and the other farther out. I doubt that Tommy's place will survive if the Kentucky Club is tipping over.
If we can get everyone all in a swivet about the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, can't anyone get an armed UN delegation in to protect the in-its-way-sacred heritage of the border ginmill?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guatemalan plane crash

Oh, that Onion. Give this a look. Onion-goofy and a grin.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Immigrants' children to be deported

An interesting story in the LA Times about a certain country's intention to deport children of immigrants to protect the particular culture of the place:
"We don't want to create an incentive for the inflow of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrant workers," [the country's chief executive] said.
Critics, including some government officials, said the decision would punish children by sending them to impoverished or insecure nations that their parents had left in search of better lives.

Read the whole thing here. The really interesting thing is that country is Israel.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lawyer stuff

A link from a lawyer blog I like leads me to a blog by a Virginia defense lawyer named Jamison Koehler, who posts some funny tweets from other defense guys, including:
No, I don’t think moving all your assets into the name of your ex-wife to hide them is a good idea. But she does.
When I said I accept green payments, I meant cash, not weed.
Convicted of committing the same crime last year?  The term you are looking for is “recidivism,” not double jeopardy.
You know the green hoodie the suspect was wearing in the videotape? Maybe you shouldn’t wear it to court.
Three felony convictions? Why, yes, I think that makes you a great candidate for probation.

Read them all here. Defending is hard. Had a defender tell me once that maybe the most frustrating defense was of an accused who is genuinely innocent of the crime alleged.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ann Coulter = Judy Garland?

In the grip of the summer downdrums that nail everyone in this unreasonably hot place. We're running heat indices around 105° most days, and there's no outdoor activity that is worth taking another shower for, so I keep my head down and waste the draining sands of life in piddling around on the computer – bless it – and trying to stay hydrated. This goofy little story stumbled across my screen today, product of BuzzFlash:
It may not be as controversial as the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, but if history tells us anything about the Religious Right’s relationship with The Gay, there should be a hot time, not only on the evening of September 25, when GOProud, the organization that claims to be “the only national organization representing gay conservatives and their allies,” hosts HOMOCON 2010, but during the lead-up to the event as well. GOProud’s special guest will be … let the trumpets ring out … Ms. Ann Coulter.

Read it all here. Gotta say that I've always found Coulter irritating and have always wondered about a woman with hands that appear to be the size of mine.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Historical gore

Gems from a Web site, Murders and Outlaws: Early Murders and Bizarre Deaths in Kaufman County, 1860-1930:
A C Stark, ex-sheriff of Rockwall County was murdered at Lawrence.
*Subsequent article:
Lawrence times - 21 Jun 1877 - George W Garner murdered A C Starks.  Garner's wife procured some poison, visited her husband in the county jail and they both were found dead there hours later, though evidence indicated she had a broken neck.

Augustus Weimer, formerly of Terrell but recently living in Dallas, was stabbed and killed by W H Shanks, a little, bow-legged, red-headed carpenter of that city.

Two of William Bateman's boys were gathering peas on the farm.  They quarreled and the eight year old stabbed the twelve year old in the heart, killing him.

Henry Hill, colored, was shot and killed Monday at the residence of his wife in Happy Hollow.  His son, Temp Hill, age 13, was arrested for homicide.  Witnesses stated Mr. Hill was after the boy with a rod.  He was a coke fiend and an unbearable nuisance. [A note indicates that Temp Hill was acquitted, no doubt with the gratitude of the community for ridding them of the unbearable nuisance.]

The remains of A B Clark, were found scattered along the railroad tracks near Crandall Thursday night.  The remains were carried to Crandall in a tow sack.

Wade through more of this stuff here. And you thought newspaper were slanted and people were tough in 2010.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Doomed republic

Herself just got back from a couple days of grandmothering in Austin. Came in bearing ribs from City Market in Luling. May the giving hand never falter. She went up to the state archives to do some genealoging and found she couldn't get into the monster parking garage. Asked someone in the history center and was told that American Idol was doing auditions and the garage had started filling up at 4 a.m. These morons believe that they are gonna be stars. All the morons in the country think they are gonna be stars, likely because they turn on their TVs and see morons just like themselves.
The DJIA dumped 265 points today, there are places in Cali with basic unemployment upward of 20%, the Russian wheat harvest is so low that they are limiting international sales, and these ninnies think they're gonna be rock stars. I'm telling you, the republic is doomed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Late-breaking news

It's late Friday night, and who could resist this collection of journalistic tritetudes from the LA Times?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lookie here

A connection from the Denver Post to a photo site showing some engrossing color photos of America in 1939 to 1943. You've got some of those famous Russell Lee Pie Town, N.M., photos but in color. I'm pretty sure Rosie the Riveter is eating with her friends in Picture #64. Scenes range from the Rockies to the rural South and big cities in the North. It's engrossing to look at those people 70 years back and think of how their lives were lived.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why the Europeans are sometimes superior

In this country, we tend to follow as celebrities some of the trashiest and dreariest people imaginable, small-bore vulgarians with no impulse control. Look how much better the Spanish do this. From the Independent of the UK:
The Duchess of Alba, the grandest grandee in Spain, is said to be able to cross the country from north to south without leaving her estates, and possess as many titles as the Queen of England and of higher rank. But despite wealth and her bluest of blue blood, Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, 82, is being denied her heart's desire after her children scotched her plans to marry an antique dealer 24 years her junior.

Read it all here and be amazed how LiLo pales when up against against a really interesting celeb. Pipe the duchess's list of titles at the bottom and consider her forebear, the Duchess who probably posed for the Goya 'Maja' paintings.

Apparently there were complaints from some source, perhaps the lady's husband, about the fairly innocent nude, so Goya put some clothes on her and made her more lascivious and nekkid when clothed than when nude. Those Alba girls are such cut-ups.

All my life I wanted to see the Goya paintings in the Prado in Madrid and finally made it when I was 60. You should go to Madrid now; you could fall over dead during the holidays and miss this.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Attn Bayrat

For a well-known author, sportsman, and raconteur who requested it, here is the site that we will euphemistically call 'Things my children destroyed.' Even if you're not the Bayrat, you might find some familiar things in this collection of mass destruction by kiddies.

Sunday night stuff

Was across the street this afternoon talking to my role model for aging and helping keep his wine surplus under control. One good topic is always how badly things have deteriorated for working America.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French chronicler of early America, was once misquoted as having said: “America is the best country in the world to be poor.” That is no longer the case. Nowadays in America, you have a smaller chance of swapping your lower income bracket for a higher one than in almost any other developed economy – even Britain on some measures. To invert the classic Horatio Alger stories, in today’s America if you are born in rags, you are likelier to stay in rags than in almost any corner of old Europe.

Read the whole heartbreaker on the degeneration of American middle class here. It's from the Financial Times, a proper UK-published mag.
If I were young and frisky and wanted to see the world, I'd go off and teach English in faraway places. This, however, is an ad I wouldn't be responding to: Native speaking ESL teachers wanted immediately by Mongolia’s most prestigious ESL School. That ESL job site is fun to look at, notwithstanding.
Here's an interesting piece by Sen. Jim Webb, Saltine-Va., that ran on the WSJ editorial page.
And from a south-of-the border blog, Blog del Narco, these gory pix, photos of a Mexican massacre not too far from the busiest international land crossing in the US. This is an fascinating blog to browse, an aid to understanding just how terrible things are on the other side of the river.