Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Giving 110%

Houston made Forbes magazine’s list of the ten most expensive U.S. cities.
Saying that "the city lacks a useful, extensive or reliable mass-transit system," the magazine also concluded that, on average, 20.9 percent of Houstonians' expenses go toward transportation.

This got me thinking about the family budget. If we’re spending:

25% on housing
25% on childcare
15% on health insurance
20% on transportation
15% on food
10% on taxes

There’s something wrong around here..

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just a Reminder The End is Near

Monsters on Long Island

Something you don't want on your strawberries.

mutant pig-monkeys

Something you don't want in your pecan trees.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"We have always been at war with Eastasia"

Chupacabra Report..

Last week, Undersecretary of State William Burns traveled to Switzerland and met with representatives of the Iranian government to discuss the Iranian nuclear program and prepared for the opening of direct air links between the two countries and the re-establishment of the first US diplomatic office in Iran since 1979. All good news to my ear, but what really gets my goat is that just three months ago, Bush told the Israeli Knesset that those who would talk to Iran were like Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler before World War II.

And, Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister al Maliki have been discussing “a general time horizon” for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. This after years of the administration characterizing any who spoke of setting a withdrawal timeline as defeatist surrender monkeys that would probably speak French as they cut and run.

I suppose that one could look at this as a hopeful sign that the White House is finally facing reality, but they’ve simply exhausted every other possibility and are just playing out the string now.

Come on January 20th.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Word With Highspeed Hayride

I feel it's important to pay attention to the guys coming up in music. They often work harder, and sacrifice more than anybody in practicing their craft. The payback is the music. I saw Highspeed Hayride perform at Smokey Wilson's Party in the Pasture, and they tore it up. They have a new album and can be found at a honkey tonk near you.

Highspeed Hayride is: Gene Moreno (Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitars), Matt Groll (Drums), David Stockton (Bass Guitar and Harmony Vocals), Bo Carter (Lead Guitar and Harmony Vocals)

q. You are a young bunch. But having gone at it for a number of years now,
do you guys see yourselves as veterans at this point?

A-GENE:You never stop paying dues no matter what level of your career. There is always somewhere we’d like to be, other people we’d like to meet, other fans we’d like to play for. The day you lose focus of this, you may as well pack it up. Veterans are the guys kids want to be when they grow up. Hell, I don’t even know if we’ve grown up yet (lol). I’d say we’re veteran due-payers, with more battles yet to come!

A-MATT: I’d say we have defiantly had our fair share of miles but as far as veterans… not so much. We are seasoned and this is far from our first rodeo, but we realize we have a lot to learn and are eager to do so. We might not be able to tell you the right path to take for making music in the business but we damn sure could draw you a map of all the wrong routes we have taken over the years and the lessons we learned from them. Longevity is the number one key to success. Eventually someone has to pay attention, right? Haha.

q. I see from your schedule that Bellamy Bros. and Roger Creager are sharing
billing (and others) at some of your appearances. How do y'all get along
with other bands?

A-GENE:We are a very sharing organization. We understand our place at every show, whether it be support or headlining. We accommodate 100% for the headliner and give 100% praise to the opener depending on our place for the night. Most bands in Texas and even some Nationally have become great friends of ours because of shows together. These friendships make the show go so much smoother, and you can feel the commoradery even from the audience. I think this is hugely why it is important to match the opener and the headliner not only based on style of music.

A-MATT: We do our best to be as easy to work with as possible with other bands and sound crews. Those guys were in our shoes once before and they are generally more than accommodating. Every now and then you will come across a real jerk or two but it typically ends in beers and laughs... sometimes someone is just having a bad day and you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. We try and walk away from every show meeting at least three or four new friends, and co-billing with guys like that is always a great opportunity to learn how things operate in other camps.

q. Do you guys feel you get the music industry respect you deserve?

A-GENE:Being allowed to play music for a living is respect enough. If any musician wants more than that they’ve grown too big for their britches. You can’t make people like your music or you for that matter.

A-MATT:I’d say we are grateful for the support we have been getting. It’s really nice when other bands, DJs, or venue operators take an interest and go out of their way to let us know they appreciate our music and what you do. In the end though, no one owes us anything, we put out music we like and the folks who have supported us since the beginning have really helped turn many more ears our way.

q. "Red Dirt"; "Texas Music" C&W; Rock n Roll; "Americana". Do you guys fit into any of these catagories? How would you guys describe what you are doing musically?

A-GENE:Country…….A little rock influence…….Either way it is all original, we’ll let the people be the judge. Musically speaking. We are letting it come from the heart. We never force a song. People don’t get forced songs. It’s got to be a natural occurrence. We have to sing these songs sometime thousands of times; when you lose count is when you’ve got one from the heart.

q. Your fans like to party. Sometimes really hard. Do they get their
energy from your performances or vice versa, or both?

A-GENE:It’s a reciprocal relationship. We feed off of each other Just like energy there has to be at least 2 elements to complete the circuit, and you can’t have one without the other. Also Jager helps…….

A-MATT:It’s a fair trade I think. We do our best to put our energy out there for the taking, and I think it can have amazing effects on people. It’s funny, sometimes I’ll be sitting behind the guys keeping a beat and I’ll suddenly see David’s hat go airborne due to excessive head banging and stage stomping. As it arcs ever-so-gently through the air I can see through the glare of the lights people smiling and moving to the beat. I think David is like a generator- switch him on, the juice starts flowing, and you can’t help but to bob your head. But on those nights at the end of a long run when you have been awake for two days and all you can think about is home you defiantly have to pull some energy from the crowd and thankfully there is always plenty for the taking. No racks lately but we did get to sign a few thongs. Word of advice- sign small, that little triangle thing in the back is tough to get four names on.

q. You have a new record. Hows it doing, and what was the experience like

making it?

A-GENE:The only reason we keep track of our record sales is for sales tax purposes. We just want to get as many out there as possible, and when we need to print more, we do. I think the response has been warm. We’ve had a lot of great compliments that we’ve never had from people who would have otherwise looked us over in the past. All in all it has been a positive experience, and one that we’ll cherish forever. Making the CD………..Takes lots of time, money, effort, blood, sweat, and tears. It’s the same for anyone trying to get there product out. The experience was made great though by Billy High our producer and Adam odor our engineer. Being able to use Ray Benson’s studio was pretty sweet as well.

A-MATT:The album is actually moving really well. The first single “Boots” is making great headway on the Texas Music Chart and we have been getting a lot of great feedback from fans. We made this record independently at a cozy little studio in Austin owned by Ray Benson. We went in with 12 songs, 10 bottles of cheap whisky and came out two weeks later with a new album in or hands. My favorite studio experience so far.

q. Do you guys get along?

A-GENE:For contractual reasons only…………HAHA J/k It’s like a marriage. As much time as we spend together you have to be with people you get along with. The thing that is cool about our group is that we were friends long before we were musicians.

A-MATT:We have traveled the country for six years in a four door F-150 with five guys. We are brothers. We actually just got a brand spanking new van last week and I told the guys “If we made it this long with that, the rest of this should be easy!”

q. Are gas prices hurting your ability to travel much?

A-GENE:They hurt, but not the ability to travel. We will go even if we have to starve. Playing music is a privilidge and we’re not going to let gas prices take that away.

A-MATT:It doesn’t hurt the ability to travel but it has made an impact on the pocketbook. This is our life, and high gas prices be damned, we will bring or music to your town one way or another. I think we need a five seater tandem bike… or maybe a badass go kart.

q. What does the future hold for Highspeed Hayride?

A-GENE:Sunny skies, sandy beaches, big houses, and fast cars……..Hell that’s what everyone wants right?.....haha To stay healthy enough to continue making music. Everyday I ask God NOTfor success, only that he keeps me and my friends and loved ones safe and healthy and able to do what we love. Vanity is the death of everything……..

A-MATT:I guess we shall find out same as you guys. I think if we keep pushing the tunes and gigging as hard as we can everything will work out fine. Thanks to everyone for their support, we are all in this together.

Thanks everyone. Best of luck. This is THE hardest business in the world,
and you guys seem to be doing fine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Results 1 - 10 of about 669,000 for Tom DeLay + Cancer.

Boy, the hammer is the gift that just keeps on giving. Centuries from now, future archeologists will be digging up remains of his machinations. I bet that some of the scandals can be seen from space.

Today’s Chronicle has a story about lobbying by the Texas Medical Center. These entities out- perform most lobbyists client’s return on investment. Baylor, for example parlayed $120,000 into Federal grants totaling $240 million. The Med Center totaled $1.6 million spent on lobbyists in ’07 to score $500 million in Federal grants.

This is wonderful news in some ways, but if all this is such a boon to the public, why do they need to pay to get the news out to our public servants?

But the part that tickled me was to read that M. D. Anderson paid former DeLay staffer Timothy Rupli‘s firm $180,000 last year, but declined to extend his contract this year. Those guys got their fingers into everything didn’t they? This is an odd fit because Rupli’s biggest clients specialized in predatory banking practices in the payday lending and sub-prime mortgage markets. Damned vampires.

It’s like if we want to find a cure for cancer, what we need to do is take Tom DeLay out to some fancy dinners with good wine and big cigars, and then fly him off to some swank country club resort for a round of golf.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chupacabra Files

-From the Chronicle’s lead editorial today:


Americans pay the most in the world for health care — but we get a rotten deal

To be blunt, our health care system is a racket. We spend $230 million every hour on it — more per capita than any other country. Yet the rewards for this huge outlay are shabby.

Eleven other countries score better on health indices established by the United Nations Development Program. Especially damning is our infant mortality rate, the measure of life expectancy for children 1 year old and younger.

Lamentably, the current administration has had nearly eight years to prove its disinterest in making Americans a better deal. But as the presidential election nears, the closely linked findings from the studies should be addressed concretely by each candidate.

-And from Froma Harrop’s column about Fannie & Freddie:

Since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have demonized government oversight as a liberal plot to dampen the animal spirits of America's entrepreneurs. Let the market do the regulating, conservatives said. The market will punish those who make bad choices.

But guess what. Republicans are not letting the market bring the housing bubble to its bloody finale. The Bush administration is working feverishly to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in addition to investment banks.

Were the officials true free-marketeers, they would have let Bear Stearns go splat. They'd have stayed aloof to the panic surrounding Fannie and Freddie. They'd just let market forces do their job — and then usher in another Great Depression.

On the Republican side, John McCain's economic adviser, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, pushed through a bill in 2000 that forbade federal agencies to regulate the financial derivatives that greased the skids for passing along risky mortgage-backed securities to investors.

What about regulating the dodgy mortgages themselves? Banning complicated and abusive loan terms would seem an obvious job for Democrats.

But did Democrats rise up during the bubble's thrill ride to demand stricter consumer protections? They did not.

There's no ideology here. Just politicians taking care of the monied interests. Conservatives, liberals — everyone was in on creating the conditions that led to the mortgage collapse. The bill for it all now goes to the taxpayers, party affiliation unimportant.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Grace Church’s 150 Foot Crosses

Pastor Steve Riggle recently announced plans to erect two 150 foot tall crucifixes along I-45 on the outskirts of Houston. I wanted to share this letter printed by the Chronicle last week:

A church's work

After reading the July 10 article about Grace Community Church, I did a quick Web search of other Houston congregations.

Bering Memorial Methodist Church operates a dental clinic for AIDS patients, an adult day care center and a hospice.

Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) provides transitory housing and services for women being released from prison and operates apartments for adults on extremely low incomes.

St. John's Downtown Church delivers food to needy families and serves hot meals to the homeless.

Grace Community Church operates an in-house television studio and wants to build two giant crosses on Houston freeways. Grace Pastor Steve Riggle says he hopes other churches will follow suit.

I pray they don't.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Word With Mark Jungers

Yes, I hero worship. There so very few people that combine integrity, style, talent, and love of work in music these days, so when I get a chance to talk to someone like Mark Jungers, it makes me want to share.

q. You are Texan start to finish, now, despite your origins. How did you come about your distinctive twang?

I've had a twang since grade school. Guys I was in bands with would tell me to drop the twang so we could do some more rock. I've lived in Minnesota, Florida, back to Minnesota, then Texas, up to Connecticut, then back to Texas... the result I think is a hybrid twang... I'm not exactly sure where it's from.

q. Texans love to talk about the weather. Did you see any impact of the Mid-West flooding in your recent travels?

I saw some large wash outs in some fields, some guys trying to replant, but I was on I35 and didn't really see the 4 million acres lost near Cedar Rapids. Here in Central Texas, all the farmers lost their corn to drought this year. I think we'll all see the impact on corn prices here shortly.

q. What do you think it is about the Mid-West, particularly Minnesota that has produced so many great song writers?

There are a lot of fine songwriters everywhere, but Minnesota has some long, long, cold winters. It probably makes for a lot of good writing time.

q. Many of your song's themes are rooted to time and space; traveling, movement, and change. If you agree, is this because of your outlook, or something else?

I do agree...time, space, change, actions, reactions. It's probably because of the way I look at the future and the past at that moment, and the things I've lived through as well as the things I may have to live through.

q. You and Adrian (Schoolar) are two of the strongest and confident flack pickers we've ever seen. Are you able to work with the Whistling Mules much these days?

I appreciate the kind words, Peter. The Mules (Adrian, Wes, Josh) and I work as much as we can together. Expenses on the road (namely gas these days, and hotels) and what kind of income we expect to make pretty much dictates the size of the band. That's just the reality of it. If I had my way, we'd all work 5 nights a week together.

q. Your work in co-producing Adam Carrol's new record "Old Town Rock n Roll" is excellent and garnering notice. Tell us what you thought of that experience. Did you learn anything?

Adam's a good friend. I always enjoy working with him, whether it's writing, recording, performing, whatever. The same thing goes for Scott Nolan and Adrian, we're all friends. It's a very comfortable atmosphere. And when it's that relaxed, it's that much easier to throw ideas around and get things done. Plus, we were all on the same page with Adam's CD, including my wife Joy and Joanna Miller. The six of us felt the same way about the sound and feeling the CD should have...we wanted a real natural sound to bring out Adam's songs and we were all very excited about the outcome.

The idea of good recording to me is to just plain capture the vibe, the performance, and the song. I learn something everytime because each situation is different. Likewise, every recording is an opportunity to experiment, as long as you put the song first. In other words, I think trying new things is great, as long as you haven't changed the essence of the song or created a distraction.

q. It's obvious you are one of the hardest working men in show business. How do you find time for yourself and your family?

I put a lot of effort into what I do, but I don't think I'm necessarily one of the hardest working men in show business. But as serious as I am about the music, family is the priority, more important than music. I try my best to remember that, to make time for family...I'm not sure I'm always so good at it though.

Thank you. It was a privilege to speak with you and best wishes.

The pleasure was mine, Peter. Thanks so much for your interest and for all the support.

Please, go out and buy as many records from Mark Jungers and the Whistling Mules as you can fit into your house. If you can't, go see his shows. If not, drop him a line and show some love.

A Must See: Eric Hisaw at Sam's 7/18/08

Eric Hisaw - "He's a check you can cash at the Bank of Cool." - Ray Wylie Hubbard

"Nature of the Blues" CD Release @ Sam's Burger Joint
Friday, July 18

330 E Grayson St. * San Antonio, TX * 210.223.2830 *

On Nature of the Blues Eric Hisaw delivers his best album yet, picking up where his widely acclaimed 2006 release The Crosses left off. The subtle and poetic new disc finds it's greatest strength in classic new Hisaw compositions like "Cheap Living", "Shout Out Loud", and "Tomorrow."

If all things musical seemingly grow on trees in Austin, serious songwriters of Hisaw's caliber are not one of them. Timely and timeless themes alike come to life in lyrics which are imbued with an ethereal optimism that surmounts the wayward despair of his scenarios and characters. Nature of the Blues eschews the quasi-70's outlaw country sound in favor of a modern, bluesy-folk rock that will appeal to fans of Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely and Tom Russell and features guest appearances by Ron Flynt, Ponty Bone and "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb.

"There's beauty in Hisaw's desolate lyrics, weary vocals and tastefully restrained fretwork" Texas Music Magazine

"Bluecollar barroom country rock with a dark heart." Americana UK

Monday, July 14, 2008

James Lee Burke

Has written fifteen- some novels about Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux, a righteous but flawed character that shows us a lot of the bayou country and it’s many peoples. My favorite character is Clete Purcell, a big loveable train wreck that I see played by Nick Nolte or maybe Gerard Depardieu.

I’ve been enjoying his recent “Pegasus Descending,” and reading headlines today about regulation of the insurance industry in Texas, remembered reading Burke mentioning former Governor Edwards being in prison, along with his son, and the last three State Insurance Commissioners.

This makes me wonder why if they can send somebody up for taking the money, why can’t they send up the folks that give it to them? This is not a new problem; the insurance industry was paying out millions to politicians in the Teddy Roosevelt era. Well, at least Louisiana’s convicted somebody, which is more than Texas has done.

But here’s a funny I just found. This is Detective Robicheaux confronting a rich televangelist:

“We can settle some things here or we can do it in front of a grand jury. The word is Bello Lujan and Whitey Bruxal and a few other casino operators launder money through a Washington lobbyist, who in turn gives it to your ministry. Then you exercise your influence on your religious constituency to shut down your competitors. Frankly, I don’t have any interest in your ties to the gambling industry. But I’ve got three open homicide cases on my hands, and I believe you’ve got the key to at least one of them.”

So Burke wrote this right out of the news stories. He based this fictional racket on the real-life adventures of Jack Abramoff, Mike Scanlon, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Ed Young, Ed Buckham, and other Tom DeLay associates.

I bet some of them wish that they’d had somebody like Dave Robicheaux to wise them up before they became persons of interest to the Justice Department.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Everything'g Gay

You know 80% of lesbian and 60% of gay couples have had some form of marriage ceremony performed. The gayification of American has finally happened. I'm probably going to have to switch teams before it's too late.

Candy is gay.

Travel is gay.

Cars are gay.

Even Fox News is gay.

I can't wait for football season to start.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Scientists Report Americans Can No Longer Tie Own Shoes

A study released this week from The Scholl Institute reports that many Americans do not know how, or are unable, to tie their shoelaces.

Scientists speculate that the popularity of loafers, along with shoes fastened with buckles, zippers and Velcro, have made tying a bow a lost art.

In addition, in an increasingly obese society, many people can no longer see their feet without the aid of specially angled mirrors such as those found in shoe stores.

This situation is attracting waves of illegal immigrants who flee desperate conditions in their home countries to work as low–wage shodders in the USA.

Experts point out that many Americans have turned to wearing flip-flops because they are able to put them on by themselves, but note that many get the straps between the wrong toes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Psst! Macho Man, C'Mer...

I got a secret for you......... Wrastlin's Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!

Fake Ark. bouts showing men kissing draw suspicion

Associated Press Writer
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Crowds in Arkansas came for the lure of cage fighting and $1 beer, but police say what they got instead was men ripping each others' clothes off and kissing - a stunt suspected of being orchestrated by Sacha Baron Cohen of "Borat" fame.

"We had a contract for cage fighting. We were deceived," said Dwight Duncan, president and CEO of Four States Fair Grounds in Texarkana, where the first of two Arkansas fights raised suspicions last month.

Matt Labov, a Los Angeles-based publicist for Baron Cohen, said he had no comment Monday about the faked fights. One of Baron Cohen's movies is due out next year.

The day after the June 5 Texarkana bout, Fort Smith's convention center hosted "Blue Collar Brawlin.'" Fort Smith police Sgt. Adam Holland said organizers told him a character named "Straight Dave" would goad a planted audience member into the ring for a fight.

The two men would then wrestle, rip away some of their clothes and share a brief kiss reminiscent of one between Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell in the film "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

Producers said "there would be a romantic embrace," Holland said. "They said it was kind of to essentially make fun, poke fun at wrestling - two guys rolling around on the floor, all sweaty."

An elaborate array of mounted and handheld video cameras caught the crowd of 1,600's reaction as the two men "went right up to the line" of the city's morality laws, Holland said. The two men stripped down to their underwear, kissed and rubbed on each other, the sergeant said.

The audience, as well as local fighters drawn to take part in the show, became enraged. "It set the crowd off lobbing beers," Holland said. "They had beers in plastic cups. Those things can get some distance on them actually."

Holland said it took officers about 45 minutes to clear the convention center, as the two actors sprinted away through a specially set-aside tunnel.

Those in attendance were told by several signs on display that they'd be filmed, Holland said, and signed waivers before the event. Convention center sales director Karin Hobbs declined to name the event's sponsor Monday.

Baron Cohen became a national celebrity after his 2006 hit movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," in which he played a bumbling reporter from the Central Asia nation.

News of the faked cage fights comes as Baron Cohen is in production of a movie titled "Bruno," named after the gay Austrian fashion reporter he developed for "Da Ali G Show." Baron Cohen, in the guise of Bruno, often interviewed hapless subjects in the South.

If the cage match visits came from Baron Cohen, it wouldn't be the first time Arkansas fell for a practical joke. In 2000, then-Gov. Mike Huckabee fell for a prank and congratulated Canada for preserving its icebound Parliament, calling it a "national igloo."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Family Values

As John McCain seeks to succeed George W. Bush as president, the US economy is again front and center in the minds of voters as energy costs move up to rival healthcare as the number one expense for US families, surpassing the traditional leaders shelter and food.

For Dubya, who graduated from Yale with a “gentleman’s C,” and attended Harvard Business School after being rejected by the University of Texas, it’s always been enough to quote from the Regan bible of tax cuts and laissez-faire. The consequences for the national economy bear a striking similarity to Bush’s hapless performance as a private businessman, except that the nation has not been bailed out by wealthy friends of the Bush family.

So now the national debt, 5.7 trillion dollars when Bush took office, has reached 9.5 trillion dollars, or $31,000.00 per capita.

Senator John McCain told The Wall Street Journal “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.”

The Boston Globe’s Political Intelligence blog last Dec. 18 published this quote from McCain: “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should. … I’ve got Greenspan’s book.”

Two news items last month gave some substance to these statements: The McCain’s financial disclosure forms showed them to have over $100,000.00 in credit card debt, some on their joint card that carries a 25.99% interest rate,
and the L.A. Times reported that the McCain’s beachfront condo in La Jolla had been in tax default for four years.

Such cluelessness could explain how McCain could get mixed up with crooked Savings and Loan figure Charles Keating in the eighties, that and the fact that his wife and father-in-law were invested in a Keating venture to the tune of $359,000.00.

Most worrisome to me is the fact that McCain has turned to former Texas Senator Phil Gramm for financial advice. Some consider Gramm to be an eminent economist. I see an ethically challenged lobbyist who failed the 3rd, 7th, and 8th grades before getting his doctorate. He may be the single person most responsible for this year’s sub-prime mortgage meltdown, the cost of which cannot yet be calculated, but has seen one million American households foreclosed on so far.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Chupacabra Update

Thanks to L-D for the cool pics. Looks dreamy to one slaving away in Houston, although I did get to the beach to fight some fish yesterday. Water was green, and small blacktips, trouts, and a bull red made my day before a thunderstorm ran me off.

Once I got home and cleaned up, I read the paper and found that I was wrong again last week. (I made a note of it in my book.)

I my last post about Governor 39%, I suggested that he was carrying water for the Cattleman’s Association again when he came out for a waiver on Ethanol production. Turns out that he was doing the bidding of Bo Pilgrim instead. Seems that chicken magnate Pilgrim, famous for handing out checks on the floor of the Texas Statehouse, has an interest in the cost of corn, now that he can’t feed his chickens beef offal anymore.

See this from the Chronicle:


A look at Gov. Rick Perry's efforts to seek a waiver from federal corn-based ethanol mandates.
• March 25 : Poultry producer Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim meets with Gov. Rick Perry to ask him to seek a waiver from federal mandates for the production of corn-based ethanol.

• March 31: Pilgrim donates $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association chaired by Perry.

• April 17: Pilgrim speaks to nine Republican governors in closed-door conference on energy in Grapevine.

• April 24: Pilgrim's Pride lobbyists and public relations firm Public Strategies meet with Perry's staff on final details of waiver request.

• April 25 : Perry formally requests waiver from Environmental Protection Agency.

• June 24: Perry attends Washington, D.C., news conference promoting waiver. Event was organized by Public Strategies.

Source: Texas Governor's Office, Republican Governors Association

-And this isn’t the first time Perry has appeared to launder money through the governors Association. This story notes that before the 2006 election, builder Bob Perry (“alcoholic and abusive,” according to testimony from his son, Robert Perry Jr,) gave the Governors Association $1Million, which they later gave to the Perry Campaign.

If it’s not the Permanent School Fund, Teachers Retirement System, or Texas Enterprise Fund, it’s campaign donations. This guy can’t seem to keep his fingers out of the cookie jar. I hope that the Travis County D.A. is keeping a close eye on his housing and travel allowances.

Some might applaud our governor going all out to help struggling Texas billionaires, but somehow I can’t help but think that all this largesse is coming from the pockets of those who can least afford it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Utopia, Texas

Continuing with our travel log, we went swimming in our regular places to dip in the upper tri-canyon area of the Hill Country. Chalk Bluff (Nuecas); Tarpley (Hondo Creek); Utopia (Sabinal); and Garner (Frio). I know the Mountain West is wonderful. but places here in Texas are just as lovely to me, and much closer, obviously.

Here at City Park in Utopia is relatively free of people, except for few dissipated river rats, such as this unfortunate gentleman. Don't look at him children!

The dam.

A few shots of C-Lo and her bf Gootch. I think they are so adorable!

I said hide your eyes!

Make time to take 90 west from San Antonio to Hondo; take Hwy 462 up to Tarpley, turn left on Ross Rd. (right before you get to town) past Saddle Back Mnt (lots of fossils and dinosaur tracks) south to Cnt Rd. 211 (many excellent species of Madrone you'll never see anywhere else), west (through Seco Canyon) to Utopia (home of Kinky Freidman), and then Hwy 1050 west to (crossing the Frio) Garner Park. If you are still having fun, go north on Hwy 83 to Leakey, and then go 337 to Camp Wood and then back down 55 (past Chalk Bluff) to Uvalde, and you would have made the whole loop.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

People of Texas

During the Summer Lucy, C-Lo and I take to the highway for fun and adventure. I think I'll make some time to feature some of the people and places we encounter during our travels in the "Friendship State."

Down in Tres Palacios, Matagorda County, "Kay" has built this marvelous place just for cats. She has about 50. Inside the home, everything is covered in clear plastic shower curtains for easy clean up. With lime-green food and water containers, the cats live out their lives in peace and beauty.

Kay has surrounded the cat castle with an art space and gardens that make this one of the best folk art homes we've ever seen, and right out in the middle of nowhere, so to speak. Lucy told Kay about the Orange Show, but she had never heard of it. She did however, express wonder and amazement at our description of Mr. McKitrick's art work dedicated to the humble fruit, and pledged to go someday.

In the meantime she has her cats to look after. She fears with the near-by South Texas Nuclear Project improvement, people who don't like cats will be moving in and wind up complaining to the government.

We think we'll keep a close eye on Kay and her wonderful cats, and see what we can do to keep this sublime work of humanity on the prairie from being threatened in the future.

Anybody that wants to see this can drive to Tres Palacios (about ten miles north of Palacios and five miles south of Blessing, Texas).

Bring some yarn and cat treats.