"It is a spellbinding narrative, a multilayered tale of murder, insanity, and mystery replete with shocking twists and turns. It is a startling pastiche of late-nineteenth-century characters, from the most elite figures of Austin society to the poorest African Americans. Yet amazingly, it is almost entirely absent from the annals of history." Before London had its Ripper, before H.H. Holmes had his Murder Castle, Austin, Texas had its very own Servant Girl Annihilator... [more inside]
Award-winning Austin lingerie shop Petticoat Fair specializes in hard-to-fit bra sizes. Recently a trans woman was turned away from the shop and started social media protest and boycott campaign, swamping the store's Yelp page with negative reviews. The owner issued a controversial apology and plans to meet with the Transgender Education Network Of Texas to work out a better policy. The story started to percolate through national news and commentary and sites. Meanwhile, the original complainant has called off the official boycott and the store has promised to issue a new policy in the near future. [more inside]
This is a collection of Francisco "Puree Tomatoes" Taccir's blog posts from Myspace and Friendster from 2005 – 2010. Tomatoes was a writer, artist, and addict who was born on February 26. 1977. He died on October 10, 2010 from a heroin overdose. [more inside]
To commemorate the Mayan Apocalypse, video game tycoon Richard Garriott de Cayeux threw a lavish soiree at his 65-acre spread along Lake Austin, complete with various scenes of imagined end-of-the-world scenarios. - Sonia Smith in Texas Monthly
After a 5 year absence, construction delays, and rumors of cancellation, Formula 1 is back to a permanent home in Austin, Texas this weekend. [more inside]
Vince Hannemann is The Junk King. A very short documentary by Evan Burns about the Cathedral of Junk, an ongoing art installation made from mass-produced garbage collected since the 1980s.
The Lesbian & Gay Peace Officers Association produced a video comprising of LGBT officers and civilian members of the Austin Police Department to send a message to LGBTQ youth that it does get better... (SLYT)
"In a genre of its own—Live-Action Graphic Novel—The Intergalactic Nemesis saga is a hilarious, uplifting adventure of heroes-by-circumstance overcoming impossible odds. But the telling is what makes the experience of The Intergalactic Nemesis so incredibly unique: while three actors, one Foley artist, and one keyboardist perform all the voices, sound effects and music, more than 1,250 hand-drawn, full-color, hi-res, blow-your-mind comic-book images blast from the screen, all performed live." [more inside]
The subject came down out of the tree and explained to the officers he found it entertaining to sing from a tree.
Incident reports from police departments can be boring, staid affairs. Not so with those from University of Texas at Austin. This week's highlights include a budding horticulturist with a marijuana growing habit, a non-alcoholic student with catlike reflexes and a man who enjoys singing in trees. Via TM Daily Post.
"A censor pronouncing a ban, whether on an obscene spectacle or a derisive imitation, is like a man trying to stop his penis from standing up." - J. M. Coetzee
If we have, at the back of our minds, a stereotype of the censor or the censor type, it is probably of some nondescript male bureaucrat who comes to work punctually at 8:30 in the morning, locks his office door behind him, and spends the day going through piles of books, underlining dirty passages in red ink and stamping pass or fail on the cover, or else pouring over strips of film with scissors at the ready, ready to snip out images of breasts and bums, who, when the clock at last strikes 5:00, emerges into the daylight, catches the bus home to some anonymous suburb and spends the evening watching reruns of sitcoms on television before donning his pajamas and falling into a dreamless sleep. Or if we're thinking not of full time censors, people who dedicate their professional lives to the business of censoring, but of part time censors, people who like to do a bit of censoring on the side, then we might imagine that retired teachers, clergymen and moral busybodies in general would be attracted to the craft. But the records of the South African system don't quite fit the stereotype.- J. M. Coetzee, Nobel laureate author, speaks at his alma mater University of Texas Austin about his experiences with censorship in his native South Africa during apartheid. Coetzee mentions this essay he wrote about his time at UT Austin and a book he wrote on censorship, here's the preface to it.
The Hindi Urdu Flagship Program at the University of Texas, Austin has a number of freely available online resources on Hindi and Urdu, including vocabulary exercises for beginners, video interviews with native speakers discussing various aspects of their language, a Hindi-language podcast on various topics and the ways one can discuss them in Hindi, and several downloadable books in PDF format. [more inside]
A man in East Austin, Tx was removed from his home after it was discovered that he had been digging bunkers under his home, some which were 35ft at the deepest, and included two sub-levels tall enough for adults to stand in comfortably. Though his motives are unknown, many handguns and rifles were also removed from the home, and he as been very cooperative with city investigators.
Liz Carpenter, Texas humorist, women's rights crusader and aide to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, dies at 89 [more inside]
The last standing member of the Council Oaks, a group of 14 oak trees located in what is now downtown Austin, Texas, the Treaty Oak has stood for more than 500 years. The Treaty Oak got its name from the (probably apocryphal) story of how Stephen F. Austin signed a boundary treaty with local tribes under its branches. In 1927 the Treaty Oak was called "The most perfect specimen of a North American tree". In 1937 the City of Austin (prodded by the Campfire Girls of Port Arthur and other schoolchildren) purchased the quarter acre of land upon which the Treaty Oak stood and believed that this ancient tree, and its 128 foot canopy, was safe. Of course, the did not know that in 1989 someone would dump enough of the herbicide Velpar around its roots to kill 100 trees. [more inside]
Texan judge rules $5 "pole tax" violates First Amendment rights. Further, Judge Scott Jenkins found no evidence to justify the purpose of HB 1751 (PDF), finding the anecdotal link of the patronage of strip clubs with a lack of health insurance and increased sexual assault rates for dancers insufficient, and ordered the state to pay the plaintiffs' legal fees. Activists are already looking to appeal Jenkins' ruling and reenact the tax. (Previously on Metafilter.)
Giant Concrete Caterpillar. Driving on I35 south out of Dallas to Austin, you pass through Italy, Texas, and on the side of the road is Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar, and the home of the Monolithic Dome Institute, makers of fine homes, restaurants, and churches. These domes are green and disaster resistant. (See previous thread). They also can be visually interesting. These domes are concrete as opposed to R. Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic domes, such as Epcot Center or the incredibly interesting Eden Project.
96 Minutes... 40 years later. Texas Monthly has an article that, through eyewitness accounts, tells the tale of Charles Whitman. Forty years ago today--before 9/11, Columbine, Oklahoma City, "going postal"--Whitman perpetrated an act of public terror that impacted the national conscience. It all began when he killed his mother. Then he started typing a letter that, after he killed his wife, he finished hand-writing. Then he went to the Tower with a small arsenal and began the slaughter. Over 96 minutes he killed 13 more people and wounded 34 others until off-duty Officer Ray Martinez made it to the top of the tower and killed Whitman. (more inside)
Art teacher in hot water over topless photos - Meet Tamara, a 29 year old art teacher at Austin High School (notable alumni) in Austin, TX. She's in danger of losing her job with the Austin independent School District over inappropriate photos posted to her Flickr account (may be NSFW). "I'm an artist and I'm going to participate in the arts," Hoover said. "If that's not something they want me to do then I want to be told that. I don't feel as if I was doing anything that was beyond expectations."
Austin Postcard. Photographs, postcards, history and ephemera related to Austin, Texas.
"The 9-28-01 Critical Mass bike ride in Austin generated some controversy when a jeep driver intentionally ran over a cyclist and crashed into another car."
What? The sky isn't falling! It's just an acorn! John Kelso, Austin's foremost professional Texan, writes today about the Austin-California grudge match. (In Austin, it's de rigeur to blame the Cal-dot-commers-cum-Texans for the city's growing pains. It's also a tad accurate.) He also gripes about a silly SF gate Flash site where you can turn the lights out on Austin. The guy's a crank -- and he can't write a column without mentioning Bubbas, chili, or vegetarians -- but this is a perfect example of Texas' head-in-the-sand attitude towards a possible energy crisis. And the rest of the country's, maybe.
Ain't It Uncool News? Seems like all the film scoopers want to start scooping all over Harry Knowles, Austinite poster boy and all-around huge self-promotion machine. And it ain't about money, it's about credit and credentials. Now the AICNers are hacking and slashing other sites...