Archive for October, 2004

Continental for the second time

El Continental is printed in San Antonio and most of the ads are for businesses there. The first time that I picked it up in Austin there were no Austin ads. This time there are the following: R&R Discount Furniture, Transportes Matehuala, Chapala Mexican Restaurants #1 and #2, Los Altos Mexican Restaurant, and the Arandas chain. The Matehuala bus company makes its Austin stop at Los Altos, which is near the Fiesta Mart. My favorite feature of this tabloid is that it prints a page of the corniest jokes in the world interspersed with the names of some of the businesses that take out ads. Both times, El Continental was found at La Terraza restaurant, next to La Quinta at Oltorf, where the breakfasts have been a treat so far.

Eureka! a jumpsuit!

There was a time when no respectable man of a certain age was seen in public on Sunday in Austin without a navy suit and a necktie, no matter how hot the weather. Saturdays, this same man was seen at Luby’s, Twin Oaks Hardware, the H-E-B, the Frisco, or the Pit in his jumpsuit. In winter, the sleeves were long; in summer, short. Where did he buy it? At Slax, from Mr. Samuelson, and probably at the Twin Oaks Slax. Or perhaps from Joseph’s on Congress downtown. Or from Gellman’s on Sixth, which was also the source of those wonderful Finesilver trousers from San Antonio. Favorite jumpsuit colors have always been navy, Carhartt chocolate brown, and the always popular tan. As this generation moves on in life, jumpsuits are not so abundantly visible in some parts of town. But today I saw my first jumpsuit this entire week: a very natty gentleman was mowing the lawn at the Congress Avenue Baptist Church, just across the side street from Washburn’s Town & County Cleaners. After the last Slax closed, I asked a neighbor where he planned to replenish his supply, and he revealed a source in Dallas. He likes the selection.

The chefs have left the kitchen, but they’ll return in a week

Some of the liveliest commentary in town is to be heard just once a week, on the Breakfast Club. KAZI-FM community radio, at 88.7 on the dial, broadcasts this one-hour show from 8 to 9 every Friday morning. The chefs are the Reverend Frank Garrett, Jr. (whose Wake-Up Call is heard weekdays on KAZI from 7 to 8 am), Tommy Wyatt (editor and publisher of The Villager), and Akwasi Evans (editor and publisher of NOKOA – The Observer). The discussions are lively, the news is new, the gossip is hot, and the jokes are funny. The art of conversation lives. Today the guys closed with a reminder that polling places for the last day of early voting are open today until 7 pm and that the NAACP local offices will be open and offering voting assistance (476-6230) until 7 pm on Tuesday, the official election day. KAZI is difficult to catch in some parts of town, but I’m going to be within range next Friday for sure because I don’t want to miss the post-election wrap-up on the Breakfast Club.

Vote, y’all

Today is the last day to early vote in Travis County, for all you procrastinators. It’s today or Tuesday, make a note.

If you live in District 10, consider voting for Lorenzo Sadun for Congress.

How do you find out what district you’re in? Go here, enter your address, then look for the sentence “In the 2004 elections, residents at this address will vote in Congressional District X.”

How do you write in Sadun or Mickey Mouse or whoever on the eSlate? Click here for instructions.

For a bird’s-eye view

The University of Texas at Austin is celebrating the 5th anniversary of the re-opening of the UT Tower this weekend. Even if you didn’t go to UT, you should go to the top of the tower sometime; it’s an amazing view of Austin. Click on the above link for “tour” info. If you go this weekend, be warned: the tours run rain or shine, but you’re not allowed to take umbrellas (or anything else, except a camera) up to the observation deck. So bring your own poncho.

If you’re a UT fan or an architecture fan or a UT architecture fan, the Texas Union is screening “The University of Texas Tower and Texas Union,” a documentary on the history those buildings. The screenings are on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Texas Union Eastwood Room, UNB 2.102. (The Texas Union is on the corner of 24th and Guadalupe, in case you didn’t know. There’s a parking garage at 25th and San Antonio, just a few block or so away.)

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, or you just want to see the Tower right!now!, check out the University Co-op’s TowerCam. You can see the Tower anytime day or night. You can also spy on college kids waiting for the bus across the street from the Co-op, if you want.

This week’s musical offerings that interest me.

Of course, since I am unable to suspend the laws of physics and I have yet to find my way to a limitless bank account, I won’t be at ALL of these events, but they interest me.

Death Cab For Cutie and Pretty Girls Make Graves, Saturday at Stubb’s

Morrissey, Friday at The Backyard

Robyn Hitchcock, Saturday at Cactus Cafe (also Friday, 5:00 at Waterloo Records)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Saturday at Emo’s

John Langford, Friday @ The Continental Club

Interpol, Tuesday, 11/2 (celebrate election day!) @ Stubb’s.

Early leader for my entertainment dollar is Ted Leo.

My new blogging technique is unstoppable

David Rees of Get Your War On and My New Filing/Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable will be at the Alamo Village on Saturday at 4pm.

I’ve got a prior engagement, but I’m really trying to get there because his stuff is snort-coffee-out-of-your-nose funny.

Austin 1860, Austin now

This is the entire entry for “Austin” from volume 1. A – BEL (1860) of Chambers’s Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the People, Illustrated, with Maps and Numerous Wood Engravings: “AU’STIN, the capital of Texas since 1844, is situated on the left bank of the Colorado in lat. 30″ 15′ N., long. 97″ 47′ W., at a distance of 200 miles from its mouth. In the season of high-water–that is, in the winter–A. is accessible to steam-boats from the sea. Population, in 1853, estimated at 3000.” The Handbook of Texas concurs that there was steamboat navigation on the Colorado to Austin. Even the latitude and longitude of Austin have changed, now being recorded as 30″ 30′ and 97″ 70′. According to the City’s official site, the 2000 census recorded a population of 656, 562, going on to state: “The current population of Austin, as of April 1, 2002, is 680,899.” Paddle-wheel look-alike Lone Star Riverboats ply Austin’s waters all the year ’round.

You mean I won’t have to drive to Houston?

According to this story in the Statesman, IKEA is considering Round Rock for a new store. Normally, I like my sales tax bucks to stay here in Travis County, but to avoid a trip to Houston, I’ll deal with it.

Oh, and yeah, I wasted my inaugural entry here on IKEA. Go me.

Halloween is the national holiday of Austin

Austin, the nonesuch of Texas, is a virtual realm unto itself, and Halloween is its pre-eminent festival, observed by those of all ages. The parties have already begun; costumes have been seen on the streets in daylight; Electric Ladyland and Lucy in Disguise on South Congress are doing their best business of the year. Downtown is the locus of the extravagant displays and public parades of costumes, and revelers come from all over Texas to play, but Halloween has its more small-town aspects as well. The Parks Department hosts many events each year for the public at large, and neighborhoods use their own parks for small festivities. In Stacy Park, for example, there will be a potluck supper and a judged parade of costumes beginning at 4:30 on the day itself. Preliminary festivities include the small harvest festival on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Travis Heights Elementary School, complete with games, a raffle, food from the neighbors, and a costume contest. The neighborhood pumpkin patch brightens East Monroe just off South Congress right up to the day itself. It seems never to be without children and their attendant photographers, selecting the best backdrop among the heaps of potential jack-o’-lanterns. Fall decor may be cheaper at the supermarket, but acquiring pumpkins, gourds, and dried corn here supports the charitable efforts of this small congregation and also the Navajo agricultural enterprise that grows the pumpkins. Scary-oke, a cakewalk, and pets and humans of all ages in full costume will draw many South Austin neighbors to Jo’s Hot Coffee on Halloween from 6 to 9 p.m. What a holiday! What a town!

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