Archive for April, 2006

Question: Who is Doug Dorst?

dorst.jpgThe answer is: He’s the current reigning champion on Jeopardy, and apparently an Austinite. There I was, laying on the couch trying to catch a nap since I stayed home sick from work and I was trying to decide what to put on the TV as background noise. As I was scrolling through the guide on my TiVo, Jeopardy was beginning. I was just about to change th channel when they announced the current reigning champ was Doug Dorst from Austin, TX. Naturally I had to put the remote down and leave it on then. Doug kicked some serious ass to win again today. Here are some small clips in either Real or Windows Media format of Doug giving a shout out to Austin. Go Doug!

A line before the door opened

Chez Nous on a Sunday evening was at capacity from six o’clock. The prix fixe dinner may be a bit more than you remember if it’s been a while (although still under $25) but remains a great bargain, including a choice of three entrees; soup, salad, and pate choices to begin; and that super-giant bowl of chocolate mousse for dessert (there is at least one other dessert with the fixed-price menu, but we’re not among those who even remember what it is). A great a la carte dessert is the plate of profiteroles (cream puffs filled with ice cream and topped with fudge sauce). Last night’s three were a steak dish and two different fish preparations. The pommes dauphine (potato puffs) were as pleasing as ever. Not having dined on a Sunday for quite some time, we were surprised to hear music beginning at about 7:30 pm. Playing for tips was some permutation of an aggregation called Paris 49, new to us. The volume in the small space did not interfere with conversation, but the quality of the musicianship, both instrumental and vocal, did bring talk to a halt just for the pure pleasure of listening. As always, Chez Nous attracted diners from the very dressed up to the very dressed down. As always, the expresso was a supreme example of its kind, as was the immortal vinaigrette dressing for the green salad.

Never kloses

katzlox.jpgThe potato pancakes are as fine as ever at Katz’s, and the acoustics are as bad. Because it’s always busy at any time I’m ever there, day or night, the vocal cords get a workout in any attempt at conversation. As the sign says, there’s breakfast 24 hours a day. One of our party had a huge platter of lox with a bagel accompaniment; another had a very generous mushroom omelet. Yet another had a true (and large) chocolate milkshake, the sight of which inspired people at a couple of adjacent tables to add that item to their orders. The hit of the day was stuffed cabbage, ordered by the person who usually selects the roast-beef or roast-turkey sandwich. Three large cabbage items arrived on the plate and demanded to be shared if the generous portion was to be consumed entirely. The all-spud plate worked for me. The latkes and applesauce were accompanied by excellent hand-cut French fries. We consumed everything, but remains of the generous portions were carried away by some. From our window table, we could see through the clear carry-out cases that many took their pickles home. All pickles at our four-top were downed right there.

New UT Program: Information Mis-Management

US News rates UT as the 18th best graduate business program in the country. This is down from the school’s heyday in the 90’s (before Red McCombs sullied it with his “car money”) and well below the current rankings of the football and basketball programs. Given recent developments, 18th place may well be the high water mark for awhile.

William Powers Jr., the President of UT, stepped into the harsh light of unwanted publicity Sunday afternoon to reveal that the McCombs School of Business allowed unauthorized access to 197,000 electronic records from the school’s database of students, alumni, and anyone else with the misfortune of leaving their digital scent wafting through the GSB.

The intrusion, which is alleged to have come from the shadowy nether-regions of the “Far East” (how exotic!), took place over a two week period in April. UT had hoped to keep the messy affair quiet, but it quickly became apparent that the scope exceeded a private solution; the Finance department at McCombs determined through cost / benefit analysis that the school could only placate up to 32,000 victims with Vince Young jerseys, and thus opted for broad public humiliation instead.

This theft is hardly a ringing endorsement for a school that prides itself on its Information Management program specializing in e-commerce and IT management (but apparently without much emphasis on data security or customer privacy). And the school’s response thus far has all the tech savvy of a glee club bake sale. President Powers went public on Sunday by saying “you can’t communicate personally to 197,000 people,” which seems odd given that these people just had their personalized electronic information lifted. I would think that if penis pill spammers can figure out how to send personalized communications without an entire digital dossier, the McComb’s IM wizards might be able to cobble something together.

Universities need alumni support to thrive, and not just for paying off student-athletes and propping up the burnt orange dye industry. If you want new buildings and endowments, it’s probably best to avoid letting the donors get ID-jacked. And if it does happen, try to do a little better than setting up an obligatory website that consists of a press release (“we screwed up”) and resources for contacting credit agencies (“now you deal with it”). Didn’t anyone think to consult with the Marketing department on this?

Former fellow resident in national fashion feature

That’s Lauri Apple, known in civil-liberties, bike, and general Chron circles, now in the Big City. Complete with a photo portrait, she’s given much print space in yesterday’s NYT as a forward-thinking fashionista relying on mongowear fresh from the discarded wardrobes of others: “What’s That Label?” (byline Andrew Adam Newman). She keeps a blog of her finds and encourages others to report theirs.

All this and two trains

butlerb.jpgOnly one in a party of four was bested by the water hazard. This is a beautiful day for playing the nine-hole course at Butler Park. We could hear music from Paggi House and see people walking by on three sides of the course. No balls in the creek and none in the roadway. This time. Even though there are no longer honeybees, which means there’s no longer Butler-local honey for sale, this park is still one of the greatest things about Austin. I love the rules, which include “5. Ball in water on No. 7. Add stroke and play another ball from pond area.” Old folks, young folks, people on dates, entire family groups, and even people with their own complete sets of expensive clubs were out today ambling under the tall pecans and enjoying the color from the best oleander hedges in town. This is outdoor fun at a bargain. Bottled water and soft drinks are available, along with some of the cleanest restrooms in town and great close-up views of the trains passing by on the east side of the course.

Sons of Hercules and Bad Rackets at Woody’s South

The Blue October show tonight at Stubb’s is sold out and who wants to deal with parking downtown?

You could go to the Old Settler’s Music Festival at Salt Lick, but that’s far away and how many of us are old settler’s?

(What’s with music at BBQ places tonight anyway?)

I’ve got the solution for you.

Some good old fashioned garage punk from the mighty Sons of Hercules and The Bad Rackets at Woody’s South (south side of Ben White between South First and South Congress). The show kicks off at 10pm. It’s not as far away as the Salt Lick and there’s plenty of parking.

Problem solved.

What the Hail !

I have never experienced the kind of weather I saw today at the San Marcos Outlet Mall.
The sky turned completely white and we had golf-ball to baseball size hail coming down in buckets.
When the sky finally cleared most cars had their windows crashed out – including mine :(

I am meeting my insurance appraiser on Tuesday. I have never had to deal with anything like this so any advice that you can offer is definintely welcome. The car is pretty much totalled.


A co-worker and I were discussing the dark skies, wind and heavy rain when we started to hear thuds on the roof of the building. I ran out and grabbed a few samples. There were larger ones, but they were too far away from the door and I would’ve gotten drenched.

Celis and Real: Two great tastes

I noticed a blurb in today’s XLEnt that made me happy. Apparently, the guys at Real Ale have persuaded Pierre Celis, he of Celis Brewing fame, to come back to the Austin area and brew two beers, Brussels White and Brussels Grand Cru, which will be available this summer. The beers will be under the Real Ale label, so there’s no conflict with Michigan Brewing, the company who bought the equipment and rights to Celis White from Pierre Celis in 2003. Apparenlty, the deal’s been in the works for a while, this article appeared in the San Antonio Express-News back in December. For those unfamiliar with Texas geography, Blanco, home of Real Ale, is roughly halfway between San Antonio and Austin.

Celis has a warm place in my heart. I miss the brewery on 290 where the Celis White available as part of the tour was the best you’ve ever tasted. I was permanently in love with Celis Pale Bock (Pale Ale in the rest of the country due to Texas’s strange liquor laws). I used to run into his daughter and son-in-law on a regular basis at Casino El Camino.

I’ve raved about Real Ale’s Lost Gold IPA in the past. I’m also a fan of the Coffee Porter and the Fireman’s #4. Sadly, the Lost Gold and Coffee Porter are seasonal and unavailable at the moment. I’m definitely looking forward to tasting what Pierre and the Real Ale folks come up with. Real Ale usually has a booth or two at Eeyore’s so you can check out their traditional offerings there next Saturday or at any decent beer store or bar.

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