"In the 80's, our knack for conspicuous consumption ensured that we added more ribbons, more flowers, more ribbons, some letters, some feathers, chains, toys, and even more flowers. By this time they're getting pretty heavy." SGP Homecoming Mums 1989
On tour at the height of his powers - a Young John Watson indeed: Johnny ''Guitar'' Watson - Livekonzert 1977 [more inside]
Visual artist Nick Cave (not of The Bad Seeds) worked together for months with students across various departments of the University of North Texas to present Heard, a visual and musical burst of vibrancy based on Cave's childhood experiences of colouring in horses and being told by his mother: "It doesn’t matter if it’s pink. If he wants it to be pink, it can be pink.". And not just pink, even.
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
Once a Dallas restaurateur, Clyde Biggins has recently been released after 17 years in prison for drug offences. Unable to obtain a food licence, he has taken to giving away his legendary barbecued ribs, brisket and sausage from a truck on his front lawn, in return for donations. "No gauges, thermometers or gimmicks" and seasoned with just salt, pepper and chili powder. Texas BBQ Posse Approved. Find him if you can.
In October, 18-year old high school senior Ryan Romo was arrested for the sexual assault of a child (someone 16 or under, by TX state law). On October 31, CultureMap Dallas's managing editor, Claire St. Amant published an article asking, "Is this Highland Park baseball star a rapist?" St. Amant ended her article, stating: If it's a case of impulsive teenage decisions, remorse and guilt, then no one suffers more than 18-year-old Ryan Romo. [more inside]
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]
The White House's petitions website has garnered over 100,000 signatures to "Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government." Many signatures are from people not living in Texas. [more inside]
An opposition provincial official in a hotly contested election has threatened to arrest international election observers monitoring for fraud and voter intimidation. In an area with a rich history of secessionist fervor, ballot box stuffing, and repeated infringements on the voting rights and representation of ethnic minorities, this pronouncement is certainly controversial. Rogue vigilantes, organized in this province, are expected to deploy to polling sites across the nation, causing alarm. It is not a chaotic contest in a fledgling democracy. It is Texas, the United States. Previously. [more inside]
The State Fair of Texas is underway, famous for its fried foods and livestock shows. Perhaps nothing is more iconic than the giant, talking statue of Big Tex--look at the domain name of the Fair if you don't believe me. But today, creating probably the greatest/most traumatic State Fair memories of all time for those present, Big Tex caught on fire and burned. Rest in peace, Big Tex.
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)
'At 123,000 square feet, the new Main Library may very well be the largest single floor public library in the nation.'
The McAllen, TX Public Library won a 'Best-Of-Category' award in Interior Design for its new layout. It's in an abandoned Wal-Mart. [more inside]
In school, most grades have a favorite teacher. For Rockport-Fulton Middle School's seventh grade, it's Bobby Jackson. He teaches Texas History. (Via) [more inside]
"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]
Ray Wylie Hubbard hosts Roots and Branches weekly live from Tavern In The Gruene for New Braunfels, Texas radio station KNBT 92.1 FM. Two hours of music and interviews with established and up and coming Americana artists.
Proving that Dallas is slightly more than concrete, SUVs and bad air quality, the Great Trinity Forest is home to birds, deer, bobcats, badgers, alligators and even a seven foot nine inch, 200 pound alligator gar named Garzilla as documented in the excellent blog Dallas Trinity Trails. [more inside]
Running for Congress? Better be a straight shooter. It's not enough for Joe Manchin to shoot up the cap and trade bill (previously), or for Ron Gould to shoot up the health care bill...for all we know, an actor made the shot. Fear not, let's change the angle a bit so it's over your sholder...how about Rob Wallace shooting up some Texas water?
The more I tried to conjure the sound in my mind, the more I couldn’t. I wanted to hear what it had to say. Why not? If by evolutionary design an animal’s primary defense is a singular, infamous noise, such an animal must be able to teach us something about listening, right? And all of this comes from a rattle and a spasm. Hundreds of snake tails banging out a primordial choral arrangement inspired by one unmistakable sentiment: "Fuck off." I wanted to hear it. And then I would try to catch one, and maybe, just maybe, I would touch it.Ryan and Mykol Knighton -- a blind journalist and his sighted brother -- attend the Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas. [more inside]
What if a deadly epidemic was burgeoning and almost nobody noticed? In the latest issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a distinguished group of virologists, epidemiologists and infectious-disease specialists say that’s not a hypothetical question. They argue that Chagas disease, a parasitic infection transmitted by blood-sucking insects, has become so widespread and serious — while remaining largely unrecognized — that it deserves to be considered a public health emergency. [more inside]
LBJ v. Coke Stevenson: Lawyering for Control of the Disputed Texas Democratic Party Senatorial Primary Election of 1948
This article explores the history, from the lawyers' perspective [PDF; 41 pages], of a high-profile litigation of sixty years ago, the whirlwind of state and federal litigation that attended the 1948 runoff election battle between Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson and former Texas governor Coke Stevenson for the Texas Democratic Party nomination for the office of United States Senator. Johnson famously won this election by 87 votes [...] [more inside]
Los Tocayos Carlos - a comprehensive investigation by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students which uncovers evidence that Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989, was innocent. The issue of The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, entirely dedicated to this investigation, is available at this website.
On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston, Texas - which had previously endured one of the most devastating natural disasters in US history: The 1900 Storm. The waters receded and life went on for most of the island's residents. The same was not true for the approximately 40,000 live oak trees which were killed in the area by the saltwater stormsurge, many of which were planted just after the hurricane that devastated the island in 1900. One by one, the trees died and had to be removed. Some residents refused to accept this, and instead hired artists to carve the now-dead trees into works of art. Some became sea birds. Some became angels. The trees outside the fire department became a dalmatian staring longingly at an uncapped fire hydrant. Others became frogs and dogs and squirrels. Mermaids and dolphins suddenly jumped out of asphalt and cement. Someone even decided that the town really needed a Tin Woodsman. Another person decided to have a geisha carved on their front lawn. I can only imagine that a very small art critic demanded that Spongebob Squarepants be carved on the side of his or her house. They range in size from 2' tall hoptoads to 20' tall eruptions of seabirds. And they're all on display for you to enjoy! See a list of sculptures here. And a suggested walking map to view the sculptures here. And a slideshow with many pictures of the sculptures here.
Last weekend, the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup took place in Sweetwater Texas, as it has since 1958. Previously 1, Previously 2, plus on the Simpsons. Sponsored by the Jaycess, it attracts a huge crowd and lots of press, but when Danny Mendez, a zoologist and host of Urban Jungles Radio showed up to see for himself what it was like, he was refused entry and given a citation for Criminal Trespassing. What sort of issues would a zoologist be concerned about and why the Sweetwater Jaycees not want Danny (as well as Sky Stevens, a Texas biology student, Wildlife enthusiast and contributor to the show) not to even enter to see a beauty pageant? [more inside]
“For some reason, the GOP has chosen 2012 to relitigate reproductive freedom, an issue that was resolved decades ago. Why [Rick] Santorum, [Rush] Limbaugh et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate, I cannot say. But to ignore it would have been comedy malpractice.” -- Gary Trudeau"Only once in the long history of "Doonesbury" has Garry Trudeau’s syndicate ever intensely objected to one of his story arcs. It was 1985, a documentary purporting to show the reactions of a fetus had been released, and Trudeau satirized the film "The Silent Scream" with his own “prequel" strips featuring “little Timmy,” a 12-minute-old embryo. Those strips never saw wide release in newspapers. Now, Trudeau has decided to take on the abortion wars head-on for the first time in "Doonesbury’s" four decades in a series of strips depicting mandatory vaginal ultrasounds as rape." [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.
In 2006, Hannah Overton was charged with the death of her 4-year-old foster son, Andrew Burd. Media accounts at the time claimed that Overton had force-fed her misbehaving son a mixture of water and creole seasoning, leading to death by salt poisoning. Convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life without parole in 2008, Overton's case led angry bloggers to call her "the ultimate evil," part of a cult of "child abuse groupies," a murderer that "church cronies" are working to free.
This month's issue of Texas Monthly paints a fuller picture of the short life of Andrew Burd and the conviction of the mother who was working towards adopting him.
This month's issue of Texas Monthly paints a fuller picture of the short life of Andrew Burd and the conviction of the mother who was working towards adopting him.
One of my favorite blogs happens to be local to me. Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's "SciGuy" usually reports on the weather. But he also posts entertaining and serious stuff as well. [more inside]
Climate Variability and Climate Change: The New Climate Dice An excerpt from what should be a very incendiary academic paper by Hansen, J, et al: Thus there is no need to equivocate about the summer heat waves in Texas in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, which exceeded 3σ – it is nearly certain that they would not have occurred in the absence of global warming. If global warming is not slowed from its current pace, by midcentury 3σ events will be the new norm and 5σ events will be common.
Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games
In 2004, Texas Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games. Unbeknownst to him, she filmed the whole thing. Seven years later, fed up with the continued harassment and abuse from her father, she uploaded it to YouTube (warning: graphic language and violence, NSFW). Less than 24 hours after hitting Reddit, the video is all over the news. Hillary Adams says on Twitter that she hopes her father will receive help, not condemnation.
The Sheriff's Office in Montgomery County, Texas near Houston has become the first law enforcement agency to buy a weaponizable Shadowhawk MK-III UAV. [more inside]
Hours of video performance in celebration of the birthday of Texas Blues guitar master Albert Collins, October 1, 1932 – November 24, 1993.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department maintains a Flickr account with a wide range of pictures from the state. Two of the more recently posted sets show the extent of the drought Texas is currently suffering: Bastrop Fire and 2011 Texas Drought.
A Mexican government official confirmed that Mexican military helicopters have permission to use Texas as a staging ground for missions into Mexico to fight drug traffickers.
On Friday, July 22, the Texas Board of Education voted 14-0 to support scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements, rejecting the proposed creationist materials. Instead of including such material, the education board voted to let Education Commissioner Robert Scott work with the publishing company Holt McDougal to find language that is factually correct and fits the standards adopted in 2009. "My goal would be to try to find some common ground," Scott said.
Want to (dis)prove who killed JFK? Start with the 5 million pages of material in the National Archives' Assassination Records Collection1. Better review the 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits published by the Warren Commission. And each frame of the Zapruder film2. And just to be on the safe side, the operating manual for his then top-of-the-line Bell & Howell 414PD camera. (1: previously, but with outdated link. 2: related) [more inside]
After researching Texas's unusually generous adverse possession laws, Kenneth Robinson filed a $16 Affadavit of Adverse Possession and moved into a home in Flower Mound, TX worth an estimated $300,000. [more inside]
"I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11." Rais Bhuiyan petitions the state of Texas to stay the execution of a white supremacist who shot him and murdered two others in a hate-motivated crime.
One day in 1984 character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, the original, unaired pilot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) was walking down the street when Jonathan Demme pulled up and asked if he wanted to see a movie he was finishing. Tobolowsky accepted: taking his girlfriend Beth Henley, they went to the Academy Linwood Dunn Theatre to watch the rough cut of the movie, Stop Making Sense. The audience in the otherwise empty theatre consisted of Tobolowsky, Henley, and Demme, along with members of Talking Heads, including David Byrne and Tina Weymouth. Later, Byrne passed Tobolowsky on his bike and asked if he wanted to work on a new movie. Interest sparked again, and during the ensuing collaboration Tobolowsky shared his past experience of psychic phenomena. Inspired, Byrne went on to write Radio Head. The song was heard by Thom Yorke and became the name of his band. All of this is a true story, based on puzzling evidence. [more inside]
"If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn’t be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take 'dominion' over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the 'Seven Mountains' of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an 'army of God' to commandeer civilian government. In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual." Previously. Via.