Scattershots

The rains are over and the disturbers of the peace have emerged, but life was wonderful under the clouds: no helicopters, no power mowers, no leaf-blowers, and peace everywhere. There’s no place like home when it’s tranquil, but that doesn’t make for an event-filled existence, so there hasn’t been much fodder for entries here. >>> The never-ending tour of library branches did continue. The biggest pleasant discovery is that the Howson branch, on Exposition, now has a prominent display of Bollywood entertainment, including the first Munna Bhai movie (recommended fun, and the subtitles are against a black background, which makes them easily read). The unpleasant discovery is that some branches continue to try to confiscate old library cards and issue new ones, attempting to impose the same procedure on an existing card-holder as applies to a new applicant. If there’s something about this on the APL site, I haven’t been able to find it. I’ve taken my old card back every time so far because every time the library clerk has said something along the lines of “you need to show me your driver’s license.” “What about people who don’t have one?” “They need to show a DPS identification card.” “And if someone hasn’t paid for one of those?” “Then there’s no card for that person.” The library site lists at least eight additional forms of photo i.d. that are acceptable for new applicants to present and appears to say nothing about existing card-holders. Imposing onerous requirements that differ from stated policy does nothing to increase circulation. A letter about this has yet to be written, but I promise there will be one. >>> TCAD doesn’t care about my backyard wildlife preserve, but the tax breaks reported to be enjoyed by others are truly astounding (“Why Texas Firms Are Keeping Cattle on the Back Forty,” WSJ 7/28-29, byline Jennifer Levitz). Among the examples cited, several are from Travis County. “According to the 2006 wildlife plan filed with the county for the Dell Ranch, Mr. [Michael] Dell cut property taxes to $1,355 from $580,780 by taking actions such as spraying 185 acres for ants, filling six water stations, stocking 11 turkey feeders, and keeping 100 birdhouses for bluebirds.” I want a break for every hummingbird and every butterfly in my little pesticide- and herbicide-free wildlife preserve, but I don’t expect one anytime soon. >>> The Chron has been running an ad for a new art director. Although I haven’t run across any announcement in the current issue and Taylor Holland is still on the masthead, I don’t find the ad, either. Let’s send good wishes to the doughty person who takes on this job, which is the kind that can whisk away the last vestiges of a person’s youthful optimism. My personal request is for a serif typeface for the body of stories that is not so light on the page. >>> The emergence of the sun does not promote a sunny disposition. I like those cloudy days.

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