Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

I’m just a busy beaver these days, folks.  And I’m afraid I’ve all but abandoned this little blog…for now.

In the meantime, keep up with my food writing here: she eats.

And keep up with my Houston sports/news/arts/entertainment writing here:  Houstonist.


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Way to do us proud, fellow Texans:

Super Tuesday not for Bexar voters

SAN ANTONIO — All the talk about Super Tuesday apparently caused confusion for many voters in Bexar County.

More than 1,000 calls poured into the Bexar County Elections Department on Monday from voters wanting to know where they could vote in Tuesday’s primary.

Problem is — Texas isn’t holding a primary on Tuesday, like more than 20 states are.

“The voters think they’re actually going to the polls (Tuesday) because it’s Super Tuesday,” said Bexar County Elections Commissioner Jacque Callanen. “It’s all over the national media and the local media that there’s a big election.”

It couldn’t have been Arkansas?  Or West Virginia?  It had to be Texas…

Oh, well.  Since this is out of Bexar County, I guess we can always blame all the “illegals” in San Antonio for making us look stupid.  It seems to be the popular thing to do these days.

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Is it just me, or does this rather poorly worded Chronicle article suggest that violence and chaos have erupted on the mild, Ford Windstar-lined streets of Sugar Land?

Chaos erupting after assassination, Fort Bend man says

Barkat Charania, a Sugar Land resident and former president of the local Pakistani Chamber of Commerce, first heard about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto via a text message early today from his CEO heading a wholesale business operation in Karachi.

He turned on the news to confirm the chaos.

”The streets are already starting to get rough,” Charania said. ”It’s really not safe to go home.”

His 20 employees, who were reaching the end of their workday, planned to spend the night in their offices and reassess the situation in the morning. Protests and looting are expected to get worse.

This headline and associated-by-proximity photograph probably isn’t helping matters:


Just for clarification, although you may feel at times that you are actually in Pakistan or India while traveling through certain enclaves of the Sugar Land area, Sugar Land itself has not erupted into any kind of violence unless you count the after-Christmas sales at Off 5th and Talbots.

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I’ve already thrown in my two cents on here regarding the excessive media coverage surrounding the Joe Horn case.  Many other Houston bloggers have, too.  But since we live in a city whose sole newspaper’s motto seems to be “If It Smells, It Sells,” you can expect that the media frenzy over this case won’t blow over any time soon.

With that in mind, Cory over at the Houston-oriented blog Lose An Eye, It’s A Sport calls out Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle in his typically wry and hilarious manner (emphasis mine):

Yes Lisa, we know, it’s always about you. Just like it was in the red light sequencing case, the story in your eyes is not the story, but your eternal quest to stand alone as a martyr of reason in a backwater town, in a red State populated by the marginally educated. We get that, we understand it, and we thank you for reminding us in every column.

LaE has noted before that Ms. Falkenbergs opinion isn’t relevent here, it’s too bad that she seems to be intent on ramming it down our throats. Because of the hyperactive antics of Quannell X and the curious obsession of Lisa Falkenberg the Joe Horn story has lated five news cycles longer than it should have.

We have a justice system, and a set of laws, in Texas that are designed to deal with this case based on the facts, Texas doesn’t need the Chron’s newly minted opinion-writer to decide these matters, it’s done just fine for years without the advice of Houston’s self-obsessed red-head and the only person whose writing actually made people yearn for the return of Rick Casey.

If you’re at all interested in the Joe Horn case or just the lame state of Houston media in general, go check out the rest of the post here:  Lisa, Just Let It Go.

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If you’re at all interested in the new movie that’s coming out, Charlie Wilson’s War, you’ll be interested in this.

Of course I’m interested, since I’m interested in anything remotely to do with Texas and especially to do with Houston.  Charlie Wilson’s War features one of the grande dames of Houston society, the inimitable Joanne Herring, as played by Julia Roberts.  You won’t catch me gushing Society Column-style over most socialites, but Joanne was — and is — quite different.


Joanne was born rich and beautiful — a tough life, clearly — but instead of taking the Paris Hilton road to fame, she applied her intelligence and charm to every situation with which she was presented.  Along with Charlie Wilson himself, Joanne was instrumental in persuading Congress and the CIA to help arm the Afghan resistance fighters against Soviet invasion during the Cold War, after conversations with the Pakistani president convinced her that the Soviets were attempting to overtake Afghanistan in order to use the country as a staging area for invading the rest of the Middle East.

She developed a deep fondness for the Afghan people — and the Middle East in general — while conducting business alongside her second husband, the millionaire oil-and-gas trader Robert Herring.  She and a small film crew snuck into Afghanistan to film the Soviet aggression, and the socialite (who also had a talk show in Houston for over 15 years) interviewed mujahideen warriors and captured Soviet attacks on camera.  While there, Joanne narrowly survived a helicopter attack.  Ultimately, it was this film footage that was used to convince the U.S. government to supply arms to Afghanistan.  And although this may have indirectly led to the Afghan Civil War and the subsequent rise of the Taliban, it was certainly considered a victory against Communism at the time.

In addition to her work in Afghanistan, she became the honorary consul to both Pakistan and Morocco, befriended many heads of state, was knighted by the king of Belgium and — back at home — founded a UNICEF chapter in Houston in addition to hosting legendary parties (Roman orgy, anyone?).  And throughout her incredible life, she’s retained a silly yet sharp sense of humor and her traditional Southern charm.  She’s an intriguing mix between Dolly Parton and Shirley Temple-Black: laughing admissions of plastic surgery and hair bleaching in between deep conversations about Middle Eastern politics and personal philanthropy.

And here’s what you’ll be interested in:  our Joanne has a website, and it’s fierce.

At her website — www.joanneherring.com — you can browse her life in pictures, from her River Oaks childhood home to her many meetings with presidents and sultans.  And, of course, she looks fabulous in every single picture.  So if you’re in the least bit interested in Charlie Wilson’s War or even just a little intersection of Cold War and Texas history, go pay Joanne a visit.  You’ll have a good time.

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It’s not enough that the Chronicle ran an op-ed two days ago denigrating Joe Horn and then placed the op-ed front and center on their website, in a subversive attempt to pass it off as an actual news story instead of an editorial.  And it’s not enough that they (and the rest of the Houston mainstream media who hasn’t yet seen through his nasty, race-baiting rhetoric) devoted an unnecessary amount of attention to Quanell X’s “protest” on the residential street where Joe Horn shot and killed the two men who had just finished robbing his neighbor’s house and heading his way.

Today we have an even more incendiary article on how the two dead men were illegal immigrants, as if that has any bearing on the story whatsoever.  Do you think that Joe Horn knew this when he shot them?  Do you think it occurred to him that Diego Ortiz and Hernando Riascos Torres weren’t here legally?  Do you really think that their citizenship or lack thereof in any way figured into his hasty and probably ill-conceived decision to shoot them?

Take a look at Mr. Riascos Torres and Mr. Ortiz: (more…)

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The Chronicle has done it again.

The geniuses at our local paper have cribbed the following article directly from the Associated Press, but then took the additional asinine step of rewording the headline to this:

Survey: Houston among top walkable cities in U.S.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Caitlin Jones and her fiance, Evan Oxfeld, grew up in suburbs where getting anywhere worth going required a car. When the couple started looking for their first home together, they wanted something different: walkability.

“For me at least, that was the thing I missed most about college — just being able to walk everywhere,” Oxfeld said as he and Jones strolled through Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood, where they are moving into a condo.

Young professionals like Jones and Oxfeld, both 24, are driving a national trend toward more walkable communities, says the author of a report to be released today by the Brookings Institution.

The report ranks the Washington region first among the country’s major metropolitan areas in the number of “walkable places” per capita, thanks to changes in just the past 15 years.

Christopher B. Leinberger, a real estate developer and visiting fellow at Brookings, set out to quantify the walkability trend by counting the number of “regional-serving walkable urban places” in each of the 30 biggest metropolitan areas in the country. “Regional-serving” means the place is not just a bedroom community, but has jobs, retail or cultural institutions that bring in people who don’t live there.

Leinberger, who also teaches urban planning at the University of Michigan, counted 157 such “walkable places” — including the Houston area’s Sugar Land Town Square, one of many built-from-scratch “lifestyle centers” to make the list.

Aside from that one tiny mention, the entire rest of the article (which you can read here) doesn’t have a goddamn thing to do with Houston.  However, that’s not going to stop the Chronicle from giving the article a new headline which would indicate the complete opposite.

If you’re going to have an article with a headline like “Houston among top walkable cities,” maybe you should actually take the initiative to write a thoughtful article that discusses why this is, or perhaps discusses the areas of Houston that are considered “walkable.”  I mean, for a concrete jungle like Houston to be even remotely included in a list of “walkable” cities is a huge accomplishment for us.  Think about what an insightful and interesting article — or series of articles! — could be written about this!

Or you could just go on lamely cribbing pre-written articles like you always do, and continuing to display your astonishing lack of creativity and journalistic skill.  The smart money is on this option.

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