Friday, February 29, 2008

Get Your Pop Culture Fix Right Here

As usual, the SXSW day party crawl is shaping up to be quite the ticket. Kent B. just e-mailed me the final line-up for the Pop Culture Press day party in the parking lot of the Dog & Duck Pub, 406 W. 17th St., on Saturday, March 15. Lotsa good stuff for all you not-so-now people who still dig pure pop.

12pm: The Susan Cowsill Band (New Orleans, LA)
12:20pm: The Cowsills (Los Angeles, CA)
1:15pm: The Slits (London, UK)
2pm: Magic Christian (San Francisco, CA)*
3pm: The Service Industry (Austin, TX)
4pm: The Rite Flyers (Austin, TX)
4:45pm: The Stems (Perth/Fremantle, Australia)
5:45pm: Antietam (New York, NY)
6:30pm: The Radar Brothers (Los Angeles, CA)

*Vocalist Paul Kopf, guitarist Cyril Jordan (Flamin'’ Groovies), drummer Clem Burke (Blondie), and bassist Eddie Munoz (Plimsouls) playing just the sort of thing you'd expect from such power-pop royalty. I interviewed Cyril Jordan last Saturday and I'm looking forward to hearing Magic Christian play live.

UPDATE (3/4): The Slits are now playing at 1:15pm, the Stems at 4:45pm and Antietam at 5:45pm.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Free Burritos for State Employees!

If you are employed by the Great State of Texas and find yourself within spitting distance of downtown Austin on Friday, swing on by the Chipotle Mexican Grill at 801 Congress Ave. from 11am to 5pm to get a free burrito, bowl, salad or taco plate with your state employee ID badge or business card. I called Chipotle to confirm that this offer is legitimate, so have at it, bureaucrats!

If you're not a state employee, you can probably pass for one by fishing a state business card from one of those "win a free meal" fishbowls at a restaurant located near a state agency, but you didn't hear that from me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Bong Tolls for Tootie

I didn't know what a bong was until I watched the "pot episode" of The Facts of Life.

Believe it or not, you really could buy bongs at some record stores in 1980. It was a "heady" time. That said, I can't imagine where a couple of 12-year-old girls would've pulled together enough bread to buy three of them. All that just to hold jellybeans!

Friday, February 22, 2008

So Long, Lucky Puppy

This is a photo of my parents' dog, Lucky. My mom had to put her down yesterday.

Lucky had a large tumor pressing on her digestive tract. This made it impossible for her to keep food down or drink water. Keeping her around would’ve been prolonging the agony. Although it would've been ideal if all this didn't happen just as my dad was boarding a plane to India, my mom did the right thing.

Lucky was 14 years old, which is a good, long life for a dog. She was a Jack Russell Terrier who could dig almost her entire body underground in her younger days. My mom and dad really loved her. So did I.

I can't say Lucky was a friend to many because she snapped at almost everyone she didn't know well. In this regard, she epitomized the old adage about the risks of petting strange dogs, but Lucky always had a sweet, docile disposition around me. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it made me feel special to be let inside her very small bubble of confidants. I’m going to miss her.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Does Friday Night Lights Have a Future?

Despite low ratings and a somewhat bleak assessment about the show's future from NBC's head of entertainment, Variety reported yesterday that NBC Universal is trying to keep Austin-filmed Friday Night Lights on the air for a third season via a shared broadcast window agreement with other networks in addition to NBC.

Whatever happens, I can’t imagine FNL will ever get any non-DVR traction as long as it’s airing on Friday night. I’ve never missed an episode, but I’ve never watched an episode live, either.

Here Come the Master Debaters

I hear they're having some sort of debate tonight over at the local university.

Kate scored press credentials and will be checking out the action from CNN's "Spin Room," which is in UT's Recreational Sports Center but not the debate itself. I'm sure you'll be able to read all about it on her blog soon.

As for me, the continuing onslaught of pre-SXSW writing precludes even watching the debate live on TV. Besides, who cares about Iraq and the economy when there's a potential sex scandal a-brewing?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

JetBlue is Red Hot on Austin

JetBlue is formally announcing a major expansion of its presence in Austin today.

The airline is adding new flights from Austin to San Francisco, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. beginning May 1. This is in addition to previously-announced new service to Long Beach, Calif.

The new flights will make Austin a mini-hub airport for JetBlue passengers connecting from Florida to California, which is fine by me as long as they don't stay and drive up housing costs.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Storm Before the Storm

Although the SXSW Music Festival won't be kicking off for another few weeks, it's already started for me in the form of pre-SXSW coverage for the Chron.

As much as I enjoy getting to write about music, it's always a juggling act to handle the onslaught of SXSW-related writing assignments justice without grossly neglecting my duties to the people of Texas. I'm very thankful the people gave me a day off today so I could knock out a profile of local punk rock mayhem artists the Krum Bums.

All of this is to say that new entries may be a little slow in coming over the next several days unless Rupert Murdoch decides he wants to start paying me for this shite.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sweet Emotions

Valentine's Day turned out to be one of the best ever. Kate made a fine meal of shrimp and heart-shaped crab cakes and I bought some chocolate-covered strawberries from Amy's Ice Creams for dessert. Then we watched an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm from the new season six DVD Kate gave me. It was a fine reward for resisting the temptation to subscribe to HBO.

Kate used to sing along to Aerosmith as a kid, so I bought her a best-of from Steve Tyler and the aging man-boys along with a red nightshirt set and one of those plastic toy microphones that makes an echo-laden, metallic sound when you sing into it. My thematic concept was "slumber party in a gift bag."

Unfortunately, Kate had already purchased the red nightshirt set I'd gotten her. In fact, I was with her when she bought it, but my male mind had no recollection of this until she came to bed wearing said sleepwear the night before Valentine's Day.

Despite the panic that swelled up inside me at this realization, I managed to purchase a new hot pink nightshirt set during yesterday's lunch hour. I really had to stretch the meaning of "hour" to do it, though.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Texas Sex Toy Law Struck Down

Gentlemen, start your pocket pussies! The asinine Texas law that made it a crime to promote or sell sex toys has been struck down by the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Believe it or not, the obscenity section of our fair state's penal code says it is illegal to promote or possess with intent to promote any device "designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs." Relying largely on the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence vs. Texas, the circuit court said the dildo law violates Texans' constitutional right to privacy under the 14th Amendment.

I guess that means you won't have to refer to 'em as "novelties" anymore when you go to Forbidden Fruit.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

JetBlue Launches Austin-Long Beach

Wow, the new flights just keep on coming. JetBlue announced today that it will begin nonstops from Austin to Long Beach, Calif. on May 1. They're offering an introductory $99 one-way fare, too.

I like flying JetBlue because they have live TV and satellite radio at every seat. They also have the only nonstop flight from here to Boston, but the flight back leaves out of Logan at an ungodly hour of the morning.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Austin Gets Nonstops to Charlotte

Austin gets yet another nonstop destination this May when US Airways launches two daily flights to Charlotte, N.C..

I believe US Airways used to fly a Austin-San Antonio-Pittsburgh route when the airport was at Mueller, but that was dropped years ago. The airline made its de facto return to Austin when America West bought it in 2005.

Nothing to Look at Here, Folks

Yesterday's big standoff ended peacefully just before 11 p.m. last night. That was good timing. I wasn't looking forward to attempting sleep against the den of a circling helicopter.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Morning Standoff

Another day, another police standoff around the corner from our house.

APD isn't divulging the exact address at this time, but Kate says they're using the Ross Dress for Less parking lot on Burnet Rd. as a staging area, which is too close for comfort in any case.

UPDATE (7:32pm): The standoff continues. Apparently, a felonious burglary suspect is holed up in a duplex on Pinedale Cove because he didn't want to go to jail again. It was the top story on KEYE's 6pm news. The police copter they reference has landed in the field across the street.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

California Fever

Here's the opening of California Fever, a short-lived CBS series from 1979 that was apparently picked up by BBC at some point. The show starred Jimmy McNichol (Kristy's bro) and Lorenzo Lamas. Basically, Jimmy and his friends hung out on the beach, roller boogied down the boardwalk and cruised around in muscle cars as the week's extra-vapid plot unfolded.

Being an impressionable 10-year-old boy who watched way too much TV, I thought California Fever was pretty awesome. I hoped maybe one day I could move to sunny Southern California and be a boss teen like Jimmy McNichol.

As it was, I moved to Austin and then a good portion of California followed.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

AP Gets the Lez Out

The Associated Press reported earlier today that the reunited Led Zeppelin would be playing Bonnaroo this June in Manchester, Tenn.

Between abounding rumors of a Zep appearance at Bonnaroo and last month’s London concert with Jason Bonham filling in for his dad on drums, such an announcement wasn’t entirely out of the blue.

Trouble is, they meant to say Lez Zeppelin, the barnstorming all-female Zep tribute act from New York.

Bonnaroo’s news release announcing this year’s line-up almost invites this error to be made. I wouldn’t be surprised if a particularly puckish flack put “Lez Zeppelin Confirmed” in the headline just to see if anyone got confused and bit before following up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Make Your State Plate Great

The Texas Department of Transportation wants your help in picking out its new general-issue license plate design. You can vote here for one of five designs until noon on Monday, Feb. 11.

I liked Texas license plates better when they didn’t have a bunch of superfluous crap on them, but the current plate is particularly silly. A space shuttle with a giant American flag on the side appears to be landing on an oversized cowboy on horseback and some oil derricks. The design became bitterly ironic when Columbia exploded over Texas in 2003.

As long as we’re voting on these five treatments, I’ll pick the bluebonnets as a pastoral rejoinder to my fair state’s loathsome tendency toward macho dickdom.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Healthy Choice?

Paul Krugman has some interesting things to say in today’s New York Times about the differences between Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s plans for increasing health insurance coverage among Americans.

I must say he makes a good point about the potential shortcomings of Obama’s plan, which avoids calling for mandated coverage.

Friday, February 01, 2008

218 Days and Counting

In anticipation of our upcoming nuptials (doesn’t that word sound like something you’d pull out of a deer carcass?), Kate recently set up a wedding website for us. We’ll be adding to it periodically as the date draws closer.

I also want to extend word of our availability to producers of wedding-themed reality shows. Especially My Big Redneck Wedding.