Monday, July 31, 2006

Carl Monday's Not So Hot

For the record, I do not condone masturbating to online porn at the public library (unless maybe you've got it concealed with the Sunday Times), but I feel sorry for the unwitting perp in this "investigative report" by Carl Monday of Cleveland's WKYC. This guy's life was bad enough before he became ratings fodder for a bottom-feeding local TV newscast.

I just read about this clip in last week's Dallas Observer, but it aired in May during sweeps, of course.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Albertson's: The Last Goodbye

Today ended the final weekend of Albertson's massive 10-store liquidation in Austin. Just about everything still left in the closing stores could be had for 95 percent off.

There wasn't much left, of course. It's pretty sad to wander through a grocery store with mostly empty aisles. It made me feel like I was in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

Nevertheless, I picked up a bottle of industrial strength shower spray for 49 cents and two jars of salsa for a buck each. As an American, I had to buy something.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wal-Mart Can Kiss My Ass in Macy's Window

My friend Nikol Lohr (a.k.a. Disgruntled Housewife) moved from Austin to an old school in rural Kansas last year. Recently, after driving 45 minutes to pick up some photos at a Topeka Sam’s Club, the manager refused to make prints of this photo from the cover of her upcoming knitting book, Naughty Needles.

This sudden spurt of decency emanates from a store that sells both R-rated movies and swimwear for pre-pubescent tweens cut way more revealingly than the one worn by Nikol’s admittedly foxy pin-up model.

Apparently, the only kind of sexiness allowed in Waltonville is the mass-produced, pre-chewed variety. Haven't those pasty, freedom-hating bastards ever heard of Alberto Vargas? Without the sweet release he gave our fighting boys in Europe and the Pacific, we'd probably all be speaking German with our mouths full of sushi.

I already have plenty of reasons to never give money to the evil Wal-Mart empire, but I can always use another.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Titter in the Hole

The Ron Titter Band is back in action this Friday night at Hole in the Wall. I think we'll be pulling out a couple of new songs, too.

Headlining this bill is Karaoke Apocalypse, featuring my old pal Chepo P. and the Dead Motley Sex Maidens. If you've ever wanted to belt out a Pat Benatar song in front of a randy, beered-up club audience, here's your chance.

We go on at 10. Karaoke Apocalypse begins at 11:30 and goes 'til closing. Best of all, there's no cover and you don't have to futz with downtown.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Smello, Neighbor!

The new lair is now connected, so here we are. Naturally, I would like to make a good first impression with my new neighbors. Unfortunately, there's something in my trash can right now that is working against me.

When I moved in, there were two pounds of what I believe to be frozen deer meat in the freezer. Although I like venison just fine, I had no idea how long it had been there and I would've felt a little weird eating someone else's meat, so to speak. I decided I'd better just throw it out.

A thinking person would've thrown it out the day before trash pick-up, but I tossed it almost an entire week before my next trash day. Putrefication and teeming colonies of maggots were in full effect by Saturday morning. The side of my house smelled like someone had died unattended in the hot sun. I decided to remedy the situation by putting the offending meatstuffs in Zip-loc bags and dousing the surrounding area with disinfectant, but that was no match for the gag-inducing stench.

It doesn't seem to smell as badly today, but that's probably just a function of me getting used to it. Now I'm worried a possum is going to come along and be poisoned by the rancid, disinfectant-soaked meat, which will only compound my odor problems. And that is how I'm introducing myself to the neighborhood.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ray Davies at the Paramount

I got sixth row seats to see Ray Davies last night at the Paramount Theater. It was a fine show. He opened with "I'm Not Like Everyone Else" and ran through a buncha Kinks klassics like "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?," "Sunny Afternoon," "All Day and All of the Night" and "'Til the End of the Day."

Austin was the last stop on Davies' first U.S. tour with a band other than the Kinks, so everyone was in good rocking form and the crowd was appropriately raucous. I'd never seen a concert at the Paramount before. I thought the ornate movie palace was about as good a stand-in for a British music hall as we're likely to find in Austin. Perhaps Davies played 2-3 too many songs off his new solo album, Other People's Lives, but to me, he's one of those artists whose prolific career grants him an above-average degree of dispensation for indulgence of that sort.

Davies is doing an Austin City Limits taping on Monday. My friend Shazza offered me a ticket, but I can't go because I have band practice. Oh well. I guess it's better for someone who wasn't at the Paramount show to go.

By the way, this is the last ever blog entry from Beetsolonely's North American headquarters on Justin Lane. It's not quite the same thing as the last transmission from Corregidor, but it's noteworthy to me, at least. I hope to be up and running at the new house tomorrow. If not, there's always free wi-fi at Dairy Queen (!) just down the street.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Rolling Stones in Austin?

Word on the street is that the Rolling Stones are playing at Zilker Park on Sunday, October 22. The date is still unconfirmed at this time, but official word is supposedly due next week.

I'm not sure if they've ever even played Austin before. We've always been passed over for Dallas, Houston or San Antonio. If they have played Austin, it hasn't been since at least the Nixon administration. Between getting an IKEA and a Stones date, I think we're officially a major American city now.

I saw the Stones back in 1989 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for the Steel Wheels tour. I'm not sure I'd fork over the benjamins to see them again. I like the Stones, but I can live with just having seen them once in my life.

If former Stones touring keyboardist Ian MacLagan happens to be playing out that night, though, it might not be a bad idea to show up and see who might sit in. Mac's Face-mate Ron Wood played with him at the Continental Club in Houston on the last go-round.

Friday, July 21, 2006

So Long, Crestview

It's past midnight and I've finally moved enough stuff to my new house to start living there. My next-door neighbor and I made pretty quick work of it. My back's not too sore, either.

As excited as I am to move, I'm really going to miss my cozy 700 square-foot duplex. I've done some good living here and I've learned a bit about myself by doing it alone - namely that I really like living alone. The occasional bout with loneliness is more than compensated for by the tranquility. We'll see if I can continue to pull that off in a house built for a family.

I'm also going to miss living in Crestview/Brentwood, my home base for just shy of six years. I've said a lot of "hidys" and worn out a lot of shoe rubber walking out stress along this neighborhood's tree-lined streets. There was a time when I figured I'd probably grow into one of those cool stroller-pushing, dog-walking Crestview dads I frequently pass, but my fork took me someplace else. Namely, a place called Wooten.

Jeez, I sound like I'm moving to India. Time for bed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sunny Ozuna: La Onda Chicano

After months in the making, my feature story on Tejano music legend Sunny Ozuna finally came out in today's Chron.

Click here to read all about the San Antonio-born Ozuna's long and fruitful musical career, from "Talk to Me" to today.

Ozuna will be playing with our own Ruben Ramos next Thursday, July 27 at Antone's.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sweet Sweetback, Don't Fail Me Now

I think I've decided to abandon my appointment with the moving company and just partner with my next door neighbor and his pickup truck instead. He's offering to help me out just for getting him a tank of gas. Granted, that's not chump change these days, but it's a hell of a lot better than paying $275, which is what the movers were quoting.

The only things of consequence still left are my queen-size bed + frame, my 36-inch TV (yeah, it's color, beeyotch!), my formica table and my washer and dryer. The latter two may suck, but I can borrow a dolly from work to make it easier. I think I can probably figure out how to hook the dryer duct up well enough to avoid burning down the house, too.

I hope this isn't the hubris of middle-agedom speaking, but this doesn't seem like a back-breaking job from this end. Hopefully I won't be blogging about its conclusion from a prone position.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sartin the Crab Man

Although I never got to know him when he was at The Austin Chronicle, Robb Walsh of the Houston Press is one of my favorite food writers. He knows his stuff, writes about it well and pulls no punches when they’re deserved.

Walsh's Tex-Mex Cookbook makes me almost as hungry as the gatefold of ZZ Top's Tres Hombres. His Legends of Texas Barbecue cookbook won a James Beard award.

Walsh tackled the Sartin’s Seafood dynasty last week. Sartin’s is best known for its barbecued crabs (which are actually deep-fried, not barbecued) along with some of the best family platter service on the Gulf Coast. As Walsh aptly puts it, “barbecued crab is Maine lobster and drawn butter's roughneck cousin from Beaumont.”

Barbecued crabs were invented in Sabine Pass, Texas at a restaurant called Granger’s that burned down in 1958. The first Sartin’s opened in Sabine Pass in 1972. Damage wrought by successive hurricanes and the permanent closure of Highway 87 between High Island and Sabine Pass eventually forced them out of the low-lying city at the extreme southeastern edge of Texas.

Today, there are three Sartin’s – one in Nederland owned by Doug Sartin’s first ex-wife, one in Beaumont owned by Doug Sartin’s second (estranged) wife and a third in Clear Lake owned by Doug's sister, Kelli Sartin. It's clear from the story that none of these women are particularly fond of each other.

Walsh’s story is built around a beer-fueled crabbing excursion with fun-loving Doug. A typical exchange goes like this:

“I asked him about his two former wives. His estranged wife, Emily, looks just like his ex-wife Kim, he said. People think they're sisters. Having seen a photo of Kim Lynch on her Web site, I said she was a good-looking woman.

Doug laughed and said he bought those titties - and his second wife's, too – four titties total. I reminded Doug that I was a reporter and we were on the record. He said he was just a commercial fisherman and he could say whatever he wanted.”

Good reading about good eating, indeed.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not Good. Not Good At All.

Three kidnapped Israeli soldiers and suddenly we’re looking at something like the start of World War III in the Middle East.

Doesn’t the bombing of Lebanon’s airports and highways seem a tad bit disproportionate? Surely Israel realizes they’re creating a whole new batch of delusional suicide bombers that no security wall will ever protect them from.

The sight of our president eating spit-roasted pig in Germany as the Mideast descends into chaos is yet another unfortunate My Pet Goat moment, but who knows what’s really going on in the White House? Maybe the administration wants Israel’s hostilities to goad the Arab world into committing a telegenic act of terror that will somehow "justify" a unilateral attack on Iran and/or Syria. Given their track record, you can't help but think they're up to something.

It's a sad state of affairs when disengaged incompetence is the best thing America can hope for from its president.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Socialized Risk, Privatized Profit

There’s not much in American society I can’t stand more than those who decry "big government" while simultaneously bogarting the government teat as a private contractor.

A new report from the Henry Waxman-led congressional Committee on Government Reform, Minority Staff finds nearly 40 cents of every federal tax dollar now finds its way into the pockets of private companies, a record amount. Over 20% of these dollars wind up in the hands of just five companies. Longtime military-industrial complex poster child Lockheed Martin leads the way, but Halliburton’s share of federal pie has increased over 600% between 2000 and 2005. I wonder how that happened?

Government bureaucracy is a giant maze of inertia that often impedes efficiency, and there are instances when citizens might be better served by a private contractor. However, the Grover Norquist-style “solution” of wantonly bidding out all government functions except law and order to corporate campaign contributors just turns tax dollars into a giant slush fund for incumbents.

In the hands of the Bush regime, this socialized risk/privatized profit scheme is nothing less than a subtle form of class warfare, resulting in reduced government services for fewer people delivered by less-compensated employees with even less oversight.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Not So Perfect After All

Astute readers of this blog will recall a month-old post entitled "The Perfect Receipt," in which I gloated over spending exactly $40 at Central Market to get $10 worth of free beef.

One of the comments to this post suggested that the $10 "freebie" might apply toward the needed $40 total. I have since discovered that this is, in fact, true. You only need to spend $30 to get your $10 of free stuff.

This means my "perfect" receipt was exactly $10 from perfect. What a pisser.

Monday, July 10, 2006

There's a Sale at Penney's!

Another week, another closing sale. The JCPenney at Highland Mall is moving out at the end of the month and everything in the store is now 20-40% off. You can get some really good deals on items that were already reduced prior to the sale. I’m particularly fond of the The Havanera Co.'s line of casual tropical wear for men, which is sort of ironic since I'm anything but a beach person.

I’m also in the market for towels and linens, but Penney’s current markdown isn’t low enough to beat the prices at Target, Linens & Things or Tuesday Morning. I’ll probably go back if they ratchet the discount up, though.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Whirlwind Week

This week has been a whirlwind. After a fun Tuesday night Ron Titter Band throwdown at Hole in the Wall, I drove to San Antonio Wednesday to conduct a second interview with Tejano music legend Sunny Ozuna. I'm finally getting down to business in writing a feature story on him for the Chron. It should be coming out July 21, one week prior to Ozuna's July 27 show at Antone's with Ruben Ramos.

Otherwise, it's all move-related stuff for me. As always, the single biggest pain will be moving all my seldom-played vinyl. I should just give most of it to Goodwill (which is where I got a lot of it in the first place), but it's hard to part with an album you sort of think you might want to hear in two years.

For example, what if someone brings up "Say What You Will" by Fastway in conversation and I decide I have to hear that song again? Right now, I have a 25-cent vinyl copy of Fastway's self-titled debut album in my collection. I've probably listened to it once, and then only to hear "Say What You Will," but I'm glad to know it's there. If I get rid of it, I'll have to either find another used vinyl copy, buy the CD or download the song for 99 cents. That's no bargain.

One of these days, I'll have to start transferring all my B-list media to some sort of massive external hard drive, but that's a long-term project I'll probably still be working on 10 years from now if I'm not killed by a huge pile of falling vinyl first.

For now, better to tax the ol' lumbar and move those stupid crates one more time.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, America

To my dearest America on her 230th birthday,

Wow, this marriage has really gone to shit over the last few years, hasn't it? It's like we can't even talk anymore. You're always going off to start fights you can't explain. Meanwhile, I'm stuck here at home trying to pay off all your debts.

I know I've got a few quirks of my own, but you are one wound-up bitch these days. Maybe you should take some yoga classes. At least try to stop being so goddamn noisy. Can't we go to just one Olympic event without you screaming "U-S-A!" all the time?

I suppose we're drifting ever closer to cracking this mo-fo wide open with lawyers, bombs and millions dead. But you know something? I'd still rather be with you, America. After all, I've got 37 years up in this.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I think our history still counts for something. Besides, I can't just shack up with France. What would the neighbors think?

We've had some good times together, America. Who's to say we won't see more? So let's just pretend like it's old times tonight. After a nice meal at Applebee's, we'll get drunky-drunk on cheap wine and dance naked in the sprinkler. Then we'll pump up the air mattress right there in the backyard and I'll do that thing with my pinky that makes you moan like a sick owl.

Despite all we've been through, you're still my favorite freak mama.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Giving Myself a Toast Boost

Are you in need of new small kitchen appliances such as blenders, toasters or mixers? If so, consider dropping by one of the Austin area Albertson's stores now being liquidated.

All general merchandise at these dying stores is on sale for 40% off. Although their mark-up was too steep to begin with, the 40% discount makes for some decent deals. I bought a Hamilton Beach chrome-colored toaster with their patented "Toast Boost" technology yesterday for about 20 bucks. The non-metallic variety can be had for even less than that.

Albertson's will probably increase the discount amount every week until closing all but five of their local stores at month's end.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Buzz on Foleyvision

My former Hey! Hey! Buffet! and Peenbeets co-conspirator Buzz Moran (center) discusses his Foleyvision productions of the Turkish and Indian versions of Superman on the most recent edition of Weekend America, which airs coast to coast over NPR. Foleyvision's Shannon McCormick, Chad Nichols and L.B. Deyo are also interviewed. To listen online, click here and scroll down to "A Superman for All Nations."

For those not familiar, Foleyvision shows movies with live dialogue, sound effects and music in place of the actual soundtrack. Buzz and his troupe did a particularly "bang-up" job with a vintage 70s porn movie at the Alamo Drafthouse a few years back. However, they wound up having to cut all the money shots at the last minute so as not to run afoul of the booze fascists at TABC.

They'll be presenting both the Indian and Turkish versions of Superman on July 9 and July 30 at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Don't Forget the Keys

Did you know that it is against the law in Austin to leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition? This seems like a no-brainer in an urban setting, and I imagine the police would probably feel too sorry for someone who had their car stolen this way to tack on a $200 fine, but you never know.

One of the stupidest things I ever did was to leave my car unattended with the keys in the ignition and the car running. Aside from just being real excited to see the Monkees' 20th anniversary reunion tour at AstroWorld in 1986, I'm still not sure how I did it.

I believe it was during Micky Dolenz' scat-singing routine in "Goin' Down" that I realized my keys weren't in my pocket anymore. I looked around on the ground and couldn't find them. Most folks would've bolted right then, but those tickets set me back at least 15 bucks and I wasn't going to miss one goddamn second of Mike Nesmith-less Monkee magic.

At concert's end, I arrived at my car and was met by a conscientious AstroWorld parking lot attendent who'd turned off the car, locked it and held on to the keys. He didn't even make me feel like an idiot. My friends did, though.