Thursday, June 29, 2006

The hubbub and the rub

I'll cut to the chase: I totally agree with Howard Kurtz. This hardly ever happens, because Kurtz and I have different views on how the press fits into the mold of society. Now, with a Republican White House, Congress and a conservative chief justice on the Supreme Court, we are left with little wonder on how all those nifty checks and balances on government are working. Right now, I think that the press is keeping American from becoming despotic. As Kurtz says:

But it does seem to me that news organizations are filling a vacuum left by an almost total lack of oversight by congressional Republicans since Bush took office (not just on national security matters but on Hurricane Katrina and a host of other issues). And perhaps leakers of sensitive information, in this environment, are more likely to give it to reporters than to Hill committees that have displayed little or no interest in investigating the Bush administration. Of course, if some Hill committees were more aggressive in oversight, they might leak some of their evidence to the press to get more bang for the buck.

And there you have it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The love is gone

I just can't pretend that I feel the same way, Dallas. I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me. I just can't cope with the flood of cheap cigar fumes wafting into the train car when we stop at the West End station. The abundance of cranes peeking over the skyline in the Arts District and east side give me vertigo, they're excessive and I just can't deal. And what's up with the cost of living downtown and the grudging fork-over of much-needed cash to the only grocer in downtown so it can live to see another day?

People developing condos and apartments downtown need to realize two major things: Your profit margins are going to be smaller and you need to pick up the pace. The people who really want to live downtown can't afford $2,000 in rent each month for a two-bedroom condo, or the $300,000 mortgage that is proposed. These developers need a reality check. The young professionals of today that want to make a life downtown don't make as much as the young professionals of yesteryear.

And what's with all of the foot-dragging? C'mon! I know that as soon as an affordable residential tower is finished, all of the units are going to be snatched up. Then, when developers see what can and can't sell, like the fact that there are way too many luxury developments on the slate, then we'll actually be able to have sustainable downtown development. We'll have retail and cultural centers again. We'll have usable parks, a 24-hour downtown population.

It was just sad to be on the northbound train headed out of downtown and only see two people walking on the sidewalk. TWO! There needs to be more foot traffic for downtown to survive and thrive like a real city center.

So, enough with all of the luxury towers and downtown. Developers, make some space for those who would be an asset in the downtown community. Think like this: $900, two-bedroom, two-bath condo with balcony; and then we'll talk profit.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dudley and Orange are friends,

but only because Orange has honed his innate telepathy skills. Mind control is the only reason they get along, Aubrey. I'm sure you already knew that, though...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Listen here, fans of the Kinkster!

It's official! Kinky Friedman is on the ballot as a candidate for governor of Texas! WHEEEE! Oh, and some old wench named Strayhorn, or is it Rylander... Grandma? Anyway, that old hag made it on there, too.

Three cheers for Kinky! Hip-Hip-Hooray!

Daddy's girl always

"Let's get on to the range, Bubba," her father charmed with his immortal sobriquet.

Rising from her chair, she dusted off the sweaty languor of the Houston humidity. Two shoes to put on, and away they went.

Daddy had the top down in one of his two convertibles. On a sunny day like this, she knew her father couldn't resist mixing the open air with gunpowder.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The real estate in Vancouver

After yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, I'm thinking that moving to Canada would be awesome, except that once there, I probably wouldn't be able to find a job.

It's just that, I'm having a really hard time understanding how we could sacrifice the well being of our environment for profit, because really, the thought makes me cringe. I'm getting a little emotional as we speak just thinking about all of the harm that could come to our wetlands, playa lakes, natural ponds, streams and aquifers and the wildlife innately connected to them because of the conservative justices on the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, Justice Kennedy wrote the presiding opinon of a fractured court and sent that case back to an appeals court. Basically, (and nothing is really basic about law) a guy in Michigan had a few marsh-like ponds on his property. The Army Corps of Engineers, the entity that enforces the parameters of the Clean Water Act and most environmental statues and laws, said that the guy couldn't develop on those areas becuase they fall under the federal provisions of the Clean Water Act, and if he wanted to alter them he had to go throught Army Corps of Engineers to get a special use permit, which is a very drawn-out process, only because with nature, you can never be too careful.

Now, the guy gets it in his head that he's going to develop the land anyway, so he fills the marshes, which are near tributaries that flow into a river that flows into one of the five Great Lakes (which share a border with Canada, might I add) and then he plants a crop of corn, like nothing ever happened. Well, the government filed criminal charges against him, and he was convicted. Chances are, he'll go to prison. But that's not all. Other cases followed with similar circumstances where people want to develop land that has ecosystems that fall under the provisions of the Act. Well, the Army Corps won't let 'em, and these people have money and lawyers, so they're fighting it.

So, three opinions were rendered yesterday; one by Justice Kennedy, which The New York Times says sounds more like a majority opinion with few exacting exceptions; one by Justice Stevens, which several times calls out the more conservative justices as something akin to activists (a concept that Republicans are staunchly against when the topic of gay marriage comes up); and one by Justice Scalia, the hardline conservative of the bunch, which the NYT said sounded a lot like a dissenting opinion.

Scalia said the Army Corps of Engineers were interpreting the Clean Water Act so broadly that that they were regulating "dry arroyos in the middle of the desert." Really? I'd like to see proof of that. The Act does regulate the Rio Grande, which I guess you could call a desert since it no longer flows to the Gulf of Mexico, but dry arroyos? Get a grip! Maybe what is now a dry arroyo was once a river or stream with a strong current, but is after being diverted and dammed, it's just a parched creekbed.

So, I'm incensed. I'm really pissed off. Our Earth deserves so much better than to be raped and filled with sand and asphalt so some asshole can grow some corn, which is so incredibly over produced that we've got surplus after surplus bursting from grain silos from here to kingdom come!

So, if anyone sees any good jobs in Canada-- I'm not really picky, but I'd Vancouver or Edmonton -- please let me know.

And now, an illustration...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A ticket from house to home

If everything goes as planned (though I have a sinking feeling that it won't), I'll be departing from Dallas at 2:45 for Conroe, TX via bus to visit my family. It's been a year since I've travelled alone on a Greyhound to see them. I've done it before, and after this one, I'll probably do it again, but the thing is, it's always so cramped on the weekend busses out of Dallas. I'm hoping to catch a break, get lucky with a Friday departure.

The only thing is that I had to ask to get out of work early on Friday. One of my office counterparts will be out, so it's adding some unnecessary pressure on another person, being the lone cubicle inhabitant in our private oak-paneled hell. She's been doing this a while, so she'll be fine, but man, I had a hard time just asking my boss if I could take off early. I always have a hard time asking for exceptions or favors. I never think of myself as deserving -- I either do things right, and all the way through, or not at all. To me, there is no worse travesty than a job half done, which is an ethic ingrained by my father, who would threaten punishment that mortals dare not speak of if he found said job half done, or as he would put it, half-assed.

So, T-minus three days and counting until I hop a 'hound to Houston!

Monday, June 19, 2006

The days I really look forward to...

... are days when I receive a DVD from my Netflix Queue. If you don't already have Netflix, you should really get with the program. For several months, Dave and I were on the $10.00/month plan, where we could have one DVD at a time for as long as we want. Becuase our queue rests at about 150 films as of today, The best deal is the $15.00/month plan. For five bucks more you can keep two DVDs at a time for as long as you want. Hopefully this helps us go through our queue faster. This weekend we watched Spellbound and I watched Aeon Flux (and even though I was a fan of the original animation series, this was a great live-action companion, mostly because the animated series didn't have distinct stories, but mostly it was thoughtful and provocative just for the sake of it).

But Netflix is so much better than going to the rental store and sorting through a thousand films and wandering about until someone stops picking at their acne to come help you. And as I'm sure you know, organization in most movie rental stores is completely subjective. But with Netflix, all you need is a keyword, and BAM! You can find your movie. It even does recommendations for you based on how you rate other movies that you've rented or seen previously. AND ... you can purchase DVDs at a fraction of the cost from other renters, like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.

Now, if you were unsure before, you should be certain, subscribe to Netflix. It's in your best interest! DO IT NOW!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm not usually a perv ...

... but this was hilarious

No, Seriously -- Let's Hit It

Old Chinese lady: Ex-see-cus-see me.
Old Chinese lady: Ex-see-cus-see me!
Gangsta: Man, what are you excusing me about? Fuck you!
Old Chinese lady: Fuck me? Ok, take-a off the pant.

Stairway in silence.

Old Chinese lady: Ex-see-cus-see me!
Gangsta: Sure thing, ma'am. I'm sorry.
Chinese kid: And that's why we respect our elders.

--Canal St station

via Overheard in New York, Jun 16, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's hard out here for a gimp

Back in the old days -- days that predate Billy Idol, poufy bangs and slap bracelets -- men offered up their seats to women when buses or train cars were standing room only. In these days, rarely does it matter if you're in a skirt and heels carring a 15-pound briefcase and ovaries, that boy ain't givin' up his seat ... period. Chivalry is officially dead, for the able-bodied male, at least.

I slowly exhaled as I saw the two full rail cars pull up at Mockingbird station. In my two-and-a-half-inch wooden platform sandals, I'd be standing all the way into downtown. I climbed into the car and affirmed my suspicion. It's crowded, it's way too early and I'm one irritable girl. I propped myself up in a corner and resigned to my half-full thermal of coffee. Trying to distract myself, I clumsily foundered for my folded copy of Newsweek that taunted me, crammed irretrievably in the outer pocket of my case.

Then, a man stood up. It's about three minutes until the next stop, I thought. What gives? "Would you like to take my seat?" he asked me in a meek yet masculine tone. I nodded and sat down, and as I swept my skirt forward and fell into the seat, I watched him hobble toward the front of the car. His pantsleg was still disheveled from sitting and I noticed a metal rod glinting from a gap between his sock and cuff. He was missing a leg, and he was the only man in the entire car to be kind enough to give a clumsy young thing a seat on the train. What a shame.

I couldn't believe it, and in fact, I felt somewhat guilty for the rest of the time he and I were in the car together. He's a monoped, but I'm wearing heels ... who should be embarassed in this situation?

Friday, June 02, 2006

There's no place like home...

Mr. Orange and I stake out the front porch as we take a break from the weekend follies...