Recently in texas Category

Ladybird

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Ann and Molly.

And now Lady Bird is gone.

Are there any grand dames of Texas politics still living, other than Liz Carpenter? Willie don't count.

(Yes, I'm in Austin this week. No, I had nothing to do with this.)

Why We Fight

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I'm heading back to The World for the weekend, for my Class of '86 Reunion at Rice. Yeah, Houston. I know, I know. I'll be wearing full colors

Dad's new hoodie

so any Bushietown fuckmooks that want to give me shit, bring it, bitches. I'll show you how we play in the murder capital.

On a more positive and thoughtful and clearly better-written note, your assignment in my absence is to read and then re-read Mark's Ship of Fools entry over at Wet Bank Guide. He gets it more than anybody. Certainly more than I do.

Ann

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In July of 1992, Gina and I flew into Austin from San Francisco for some job interviews. The city life in the Bay Area was starting to wear us down and we were both homesick for the heat we grew up with.

In the Dallas airport, we ran across this issue of Texas Monthly:

Ann

and we were ecstatic. Despite what everybody back in SF thought about Texas, we knew we were moving to a liberal oasis and we were going to have the coolest Democratic governor in the country.

Even after she left office in 1995, Ann would pop into our lives from time to time. She lived in our neighborhood in Clarksville so every once in a while we'd see her at the Fresh Plus buying groceries in her gym suit. Her hair was always perfect.

Gina once stood next to her at the Fresh Plus deli counter (where Cippolina is now) with toddler-age Cassidy; Cass was completely grubby as only toddlers can get, with a runny nose on top of it all, and Ann turned around and said "Oh, how cute". Gina is still embarrassed that she was really thinking "bad mom".

We'd see her sometimes at her regular booth at Las Manitas. I thinik I heard she always ordered the migas con hongos, which are indeed spectacular.

Later near the end of my drinking years, I saw her on Dennis Miller's show talking about her own history of drinking and sobriety, and she was one of the first people to really plant the idea in my head that you can be sober and still be funny and interesting. And coincidentally, when I finally found my AA sponsor, he turned out to be a friend of both Ann and Liz Carpenter, the two most famous Democrat ex-drunks in Texas.

Ann is the last elected official that ever represented me that I was really truly enthusiastic about.

I've been saying it since 1995, and I will keep saying it. Ann, you're still my governor. You'll always be my governor.

I won't say "rest in peace" because I can't imagine that a little old thing like dying is going to make you want to rest. I'm sure you're still givin' them hell.

Kinky can go fuck himself

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I have his bumper sticker on my car. I signed his petition. I started to wonder about him when I found out that he voted for GWB in 2004, but I still kinda liked the guy.

Then this:

"The musicians and artists have mostly moved back to New Orleans now," he said, according to KHOU-Channel 11. "The crackheads and the thugs have decided to stay. They want to stay here. I think they got their hustle on, and we need to get ours."

I need another New Orleans sticker to cover up your sorry ass name on my bumper, 'cause I'm ashamed to be seen as a former supporter.

Fuck you, Kinky. And if Willie agrees with you, then fuck Willie too.

I'm so goddamn glad I'm not in Texas any more. And I hope everybody else gets to come home from Texas real soon.

Assholes.

How to make a Texan homesick

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In a word: tacos.

The taco trucks that are ubiquitous all over Texas have arrived in New Orleans to feed the new Latino labor force here, and since it's been a few weeks since we've had any Mexican food at all, we needed to try one out, so Liam and I headed up to the Walfuckingreens parking lot at Carrollton & Claiborne, where the smell of refried beans wafting across the lot instantly tweaked a little pang of Texas homesick feeling in my stomach.

We were the only gringos in line. There was only one other English-speaker, an elderly black man who was clearly confused by the whole thing. I managed enough Spanglish to order six tacos and a bag of sodas and we headed off home. (Need to remember: "Coke" means nothing outside English, but "Coca Cola" is universal.)

I got two al pastor tacos, plus four beef for the kids. The al pastor was awesome, grilled pork with lots of onion and cilantro and pineapple just like they do in Texas. The beef was shredded beef (and maybe tongue?) with onion and cilantro. The corn tortillas were spectacular, the kind that make you never want another flour tortilla ever again.

I meant for this to be a picture blog post, but, uh, well, we were hungry and, uh, well....

FF E HO

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Our travelling companion is a little stuffed creature that Cassidy made for us. We named him Ignatius.

Ignatius

I've driven this stretch of I-10 a bazillion times and it gets more boring every time. Houston to Lake Charles is especially dreary even on the most beautiful days. Except for the lack of kid noise in the back seat, it felt just like any one of dozens of holiday drives I've made. Until just before Beaumont, when we saw a twisted and shredded highway sign by the side of the road.

A half mile later, we started seeing pine trees snapped off halfway up the trunk. Missing gas station signs. Old oaks uprooted, lying on their sides. Toppled billboards. Then a blue tarp roof. Then another. Then a half dozen.

And then I remembered the reason for this trip, and it wasn't a holiday. And I started getting a little knot in my stomach.

We passed about a dozen Waffle Houses with signs in various conditions, including one sad little "FF E HO". I want to eat at the Ff e Ho on the way home.

Passing through Vidor (once known as the "Klan Capitol of Texas", and the originator of the "Nigger Don't Let The Sun Set On You Here" sign) , there is a stretch of I-10 that is Fundamentalist Alley. Maybe eight or ten churches within a half mile, right on the feeder road, all Baptist or Church of Christ. And if anybody wanted to draw any conclusions about hurricanes and God's wrath based on the condition of Vidor, Texas, they'd have to conclude that he is mighty pissed at the Fundies. Waffle House? Open for business. Denny's? Looked fine. Auto repair? Not a scratch. But First Baptist had a big old blue tarp roof. Church of Christ had most of its brick facade lying in a pile in the parking lot. Church after church after church, smited.

But as Gina pointed out, "this part of the country is so ugly and in such disrepair, it's hard to tell what's hurricane damage and what was just like that before".

It's always happier when you get past Lake Charles and can tune in the Cajun music on KBON, 101.1 FM, and we got inspired to stop in for dinner at Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge.

Cafe Des Amis

I had crab-stuffed drum topped with crawfish brandy cream sauce.

Stuffed drum with a crawfish brandy cream sauce

Gina had a crab-stuffed portobello mushroom with grilled shrimp.

Stuff Portobello Mushrooms

We finished with a Gateau Sirop. "What's the finger for?" "For scale!"

Gateau Sirop

I love Breaux Bridge. It's like the anti-Vidor.

Sunday we head into New Orleans.

Prop 2 by county

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Burnt Orange Report has an Excel file with the per-county totals for Prop 2, and they slice and dice it to come up with some Top 10 lists.

Travis County topped the list of counties against the initiative, with 59%. Sadly, Travis was the only county to vote against the initiative. A shrinking blue speck in a sea of red.

My own precinct had a 35% voter turnout, which puts its turnout as high as those in the top 10 counties, and we voted 88% against.

I love my neighbors. I still mostly like my town.

But let's say it again one more time: Fuck Texas. Just fuck 'em. Cracker-ass crackers.

I'm going through one of my phases where I'm counting the days til I can leave this shithole state.

DeLay indicted

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Delay indicted by a Travis County grand jury. Yes!

The article states that he may have to step down. Ha! As if.

I think it's more likely they'll send armed FEMA agents to take over the Travis Co. DA's office to protect them from Rita.

How Texas does it

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Yesterday Gina had to listen to more smug comments from some guy she works with about how "Texas knows how to prepare for a hurricane". This guy has spent the last three weeks badmouthing Ray Nagin over this mistake and that error, and yesterday he was saying "Watch how Houston does it."

Well, ain't that something.

From the Chron: Havoc from hurricane comes early to Houston's freeways

TxDOT didn't even have a plan for converting the freeways to contraflow. For crying out loud. Something that they do almost by routine in Louisiana, and Texas is making this shit up as they go. As of 3pm today, they were still trying to puzzle it out, and finally gave up on doing it at all for 290 (one of the two main highways from Houston to Austin).

The freeway is littered with cars that have broken down, cars that have run out of gas. At 3pm, KTRH 740AM reported that there was no gas to be had on 290 until you got to Hempstead, and then you could expect to wait in line for hours.

At 7am this morning, the state was "working on a plan" to get fuel to these stranded motorists. At the 7pm press conference...the plan was almost ready.

It was supposedly Democrat ineptness that caused the failure to evacuate 80,000 poor and disabled from New Orleans, but as of 7pm tonight, busses had only evacuated 6000 people from Houston.

Tick, tick, tick...

Show us how they do it in the Red States, Rickster...

Hurricane fatigue

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what of the people who don't have what i got?
are they victims of my leisure?
to fail is to be a victim
to be a victim of my choice
maybe partying will help

After a frenzy of activity yesterday, it appears that Rita has pulled farther east, so Austin likely won't feel much more than a breezy rainy Saturday.

Houston appears to be in for it, and New Orleans looks more and more threatened. From what I've read, they're sealing off the canals from the lake to protect from storm surge, but this weakens their ability to pump out rain water, so any heavy rains from Katrina will cause renewed flooding in the usual areas (which includes some areas that were immune from the levee breach flooding).

Brother Mark's family left their new Houston home yesterday, heading for sister-in-law's house in Dallas. Mark's comment was basically "What the FUCK?!"

Charles Kuffner is also bugging out to Dallas, but will hopefully be posting from there. He's my main connection for all things Houston.

Sci Guy is still a great hurricane blog, and the Houston Chronicle will have good local coverage, since as we know, the local coverage is way preferable to the nonsense on CNN/MSNBC/Fox.

Even though this storm is hitting closer to home, and even though I lived in Houston for six years when I was a student at Rice, I don't feel as connected to this one as I did to Katrina. I don't feel as much like this is "my" hurricane. Not sure if it's because family is less involved, if it's because I lack the hometown connection, or if my synapses are just fried.

I'm going to try to enjoy ACL this weekend, although I'm not going to be able to completely escape feeling guilty about not reporting for duty at the Rita shelters. Listening to music in the park all weekend while people's homes are being destroyed, some for the second time, and while the Katrina displaced are being shuffled out of the convention center to who knows where....what right do I have to this privilege?

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