Archive for July, 2007

Butch Walker playing ACL Fest

butchwalker.jpgButch Walker will be playing ACL Fest on September 15 at 5:15 at the Austin Ventures Stage. I highly recommend checking him out if you get the chance.

Ever since I first discovered Butch Walker when he was still with the Marvelous 3, he has become one of my all time favorite artists. I rank him right up there with The Beatles in my esteem (put down the pitchforks!) His music includes some of the absolutely most passionate, emotion evoking music on the planet, some of the wittiest and most clever lyrics, flat out good time rockers, and catchy, infectious hooks. It baffles and saddens me a bit that he is not one of the biggest artists on the planet. I don’t think he has come anywhere near Austin in all the time I’ve been known about him, so take this chance if you can to check him out. I don’t have tickets, so at least go an enjoy it for me!

Naked Collision

I just ran across this story in the Metro section of the Statesman. The accident happened nearly two weeks ago, but it’s showing up today for some reason. Apparently, a couple returning from Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels decided to remove their wet clothes and drive home nude. I suppose that’s one way to keep the seats from getting wet.

The problem is that they were also allegedly drinking and got into a head on collision with a man from New Braunfels.

Money quotes from the DPS officer on scene:

“The only thing they had on was the radio . . . and their seat belts.”

Alvarez said that in his 13 1/2 years as a DPS trooper, he had never before investigated a crash involving nude drivers.

“But she’s from Austin,” he said, “and I figure Austin folks are a little different.”

Paila, in passing

Paila Peruvian cuisineSo I still haven’t tried Peruvian cuisine, at the new Paila restaurant or anywhere else, but I came a bit closer today. Now that I’ve opened the Chron for the first time this week, I see that the mysterious festivities at Paila today are to honor Peruvian independence. There was great music and a tombola (raffle) and it will all go on until 7 pm this evening. Today, unlike every other day, patrons will buy tickets from a cashier and then step up and spend those chits on today’s specialties. The regular menu and buffet prevail from here on out. I did pick up a “2go” menu (call 386-5799). Appetizers on it include papas a la Huancaina (boiled potatoes served with cheese-based and yellow pepper sauce over a bed of lettuce, garnished with chopped egg and parsley), ceviche, causa rellena (“a cold layered cake made of potatoes seasoned with lime juiice and aji amarillo, stuffed with shredded breast of chicken mixed with mayonnaise and avocado”), anticuchos (skewered grilled marinated beef hearts, and one of our party was inclined to stay just for this), fried yucas and hot sauce, a potato sampler served with a selection of salsas, and more. Main courses on the to-go menu include a Peruvian version of rice and chicken, chicken in Peruvian garlic sauce, beef stew and beans, lomo saltado (a stir-fry of steak strips, venegables, and potatoes served over rice, cau-cau (described as a stew of tripe and potatos), carapulcra (a stew of chicken, pork, and dried potatos), and a stew of spicy pork. Paila has looked like a very inviting spot every time we’ve passed by, and up close it’s even more pleasant than it appears from a little distance. Set back from the street, it has indoor and outdoor dining, under beautiful shade. Presonally, I’ll be skipping the anticuchos, but I’m proud to know someone who won’t be.

No Spoilers Here

Which was not the case when I was shopping at Second Time Around this afternoon–doing my part to support local business and recycle. A customer (with a loud, annoying cell phone ring) received a phone call and as soon as I hear the words “Harry Potter” I plug my ears. The woman continued talking loudly for several minutes. When, figuring the conversation had moved on, I finally took my hands off my ears, the clerk loudly repeated, “Oh, so the ending is….blah! blah! blah!”

I gave her an incredulous look and a third woman said, “Hey, don’t talk about the ending.”

“Yeah, thanks a lot!” I yelled and I threw the items I was about to purchase down and stomped out.

A boss of mine used to caution me not to confuse ignorance with malice. I would like to give the people involved the benefit of the doubt–maybe they are just stupid morons. However, the fact they could see that I had covered my ears and was purposely trying not to hear what they were saying, and that as soon as I uncovered my ears that made a point to repeat themselves leads me to conclude that they are just plain nasty.

The old folks’ shopping list

Sometimes, it’s really difficult to carry out those shopping missions. Austin’s a young town, it’s true, but there are still those whose requirements are not youthful ones. Here are some recent successes in crossing off those elusive items. I can never decide which are the “oldest” markets in town, the ones where people using walkers aren’t going to be mowed down in the aisles. From our expeditions of happy results, though, I can confirm that two of them are the Allandale H-E-B and the Randalls on Lake Austin Boulevard.

At the Allandale H-E-B was found Shimmer Lights shampoo. This has recently been repackaged. The old label said that this item is for “gray, white, highlighted and light blonde tinted hair.” The new one says it’s to “brighten and refresh” hair that’s “blonde & silver.” The part about preventing yellowing of white hair is in ever smaller print.

Those “now we are two” birthday cards for little kids are now available in extended age ranges for sending to those at the other end of life’s cycle. Randalls on Lake Austin Boulevard (the one that used to be a Safeway and once boasted a tree growing up through it encased in a glass-walled atrium) stocks a selection of birthday wishes marking specific five-year intervals all the way up to 100. My favorite for centenarians offers this sentiment: “Here’s to a century of greatness!” In addition to the one that I was commissioned to buy, I acquired examples of this one for people of all ages.

It was at that Randalls that Orville R. popcorn was found in the format sought. This is a tougher quest than it might seem to be, and it’s also difficult to find Jolly Time for the entertainment of children and for making outdoors. It’s all about shaking the aluminum pan and watching the top get bigger as the kernels pop. That we haven’t run across lately, but it must be around somewhere, and besides we haven’t been commissioned to track it down. At our customary H-E-B can sometimes be found house brand Hill Country Fare popcorn to be prepared the old-fashioned way, but everything else is packaged for the microwave oven. Some want the old style, and Randalls on Lake Austin Boulevard has Orville’s in the preferred format.

Sazon quick-lunch

Sazon on South LamarIf you find one of those coupons on the back of the H-E-B register slip, use it; if you don’t find one, head for Sazon anyhow. The coupon deal we saw most recently, I think, gets you one entree at half price when another entree and two beverages are ordered; just dining there without the coupon gives all the value needed. Sazon, at 1816 South Lamar, is one building north of Mother’s Tinted Glass. The image shows the pleasant outdoor seating area.

The mole expert pronounced the mole to be divine; I’m just expert enough to say that it was delicious. We all loved the guacamole. To my taste, the caldo xochitl was a bit on the salty side, although this was mitigated for me by the side of rice and lime juice and chile to be added, and it was so solid with good-sized pieces of delicious chicken that there was barely enough room for the additional ingredients. At $3.85 for a cup, this caldo is a wonderful bargain, and enough to see a person through an afternoon until supper. The charro beans were supreme, and we loved the black beans, too. Meltingly tender chunks of pork in a cascabel sauce could have fed three. The table salsa has addictive qualities; it’s smoky and picante, with plenty of lime juice.

Knowing that we weren’t returning to work and noticing happy people at the horseshoe bar, we asked whether there’s a liquor license. There is; and available here is a great classic straight-up margarita (not frozen, not on the rocks) at an excellent price, with the savor of fresh lime juice and the absence of the saccharine.

Indoors, the sound-track was Latin pop music, and there was a silent TV tuned to sports; outdoors on the very pleasant covered patio, the acoustics were surprisingly good. Watercolors by Gordon Fowler brought life to the walls.. The napkins are generous and of cloth. Desserts, skipped, included tres leches cake and flan. For breakfast, the menu promises what seem to be at least a dozen egg dishes and all the usual breakfast tacos. Hours are from 7 am to 10 pm on Mondays through Saturdays and from 9 am to 3 pm on Sundays. Call 326-4395 for additional information. We’ll be returning to try more dishes (chile relleno? carnitas? tacos al pastor?) than we had time or people for today.

Zingy still

Zinger Hardware carries those elusive glass cabinet knobs that people who live in older houses are always seeking, as well as quite a selection of bin pulls. I was seeking a ten-cup (not the more common twelve-cup) tube pan for Breton chocolate pound cake. I found it. Even though Zinger Hardware & General Merchant is a neighbor of Terra Toys, formerly of South Congress, it carries some toys, also, including Wiffle balls, Slinkies, a nice selection of balsa toy airplanes (the ones where the cut-out parts fit into slots and the result actually flies, Duncan yo-yos, board games, and more. Zingers also has an excellent selection of everything needed to get your clothesline or rack-drying system up and running, including both kinds of clothespins, the old-fashioned one-piece pegs that also make good dolls and butterfly bodies, and quality spring-clips. Zinger is at 2438 West Anderson, open seven days a week. telephone 533-9001. If you haven’t been to Zinger before, it’s best to set a time limit for the length of your visit; otherwise, there’s no telling what consumer temptations you might face and fail to resist.

For all your jumpsuit needs

Jumpsuits are available at $10 each, but not for long, at the Toggery (8127 Mesa Drive; telephone 794-3818 or 451-3644), the last remaining branch of a haberdasher in business for 93 years but only until tomorrow at 5 pm. Today, the store’s open until 7 pm; tomorrow it opens at 10 am. Even the store fixtures are for sale. We saw a guy walk out with a couple dozen of Jockey boxers, all in size 30. If you’re fortunate enough to boast a waist that small, you’ll find plenty left in your size. Shoes and slippers are pretty well sold out. There are still some retro cabana sets, and quite a few cummerbunds, as well as quite a selection of clip-on neckties. Caps, woolen stingy-brims, and straw western hats are going for $5. Felt hats are selling for $10. Allens Boots has always blocked and steamed hats for free, and I think that Sheplers will, too. Sport jackets, often of that favored Austin shade of pale blue, were selling well. There was lots of conversation about the Austin of days gone by.

Goodbye Ladybird


I took this shot on the way home from work today. I don’t usually pass the Paramount. There have been a lot of posts, articles and remembrances of Ladybird Johnson since her death on Wednesday. News8Austin taught me that we wouldn’t have Town Lake as it is today without her.

WhoFoo site confirms Mackey postings on financial boards

Using the pseudonym “rahodeb,” he says on a Whole Foods FAQ page about the FTC-contested proposed acquisition of Wild Oats (which owns Sun Harvest stores here in Austin), “[f]rom 1999 to mid-2006 I made a number of postings on the Yahoo! financial bulletin boards concerning Whole Foods and Wild Oats.” This particular material on the FAQ page (there’s more than what’s quoted here) is shown as being placed there today, probably in response to a WSJ item also posted today, at 6:03 pm (byline David Kesmodel and John R. Wilke), entitled “Whole Foods CEO Mackey Posted Comments on Stock Message Board.” If the first WSJ link given here doesn’t work, here’s another (some sign-ins to some pages are at times required). There is no time given for the Whole Foods FAQ posting, which certainly reads as though it’s either written by or closely reviewed by one or more lawyers.

Update: (Thursday, 12 July, 7 am) WSJ continues to edit its story, and today’s NYT picks it up and adds detail (“Whole Foods Executive Used Alias,” byline Andrew Martin, published business section, July 12).

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