The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'texas'
The town of Kingsville, Texas, is doing its bit in the battle against the powers of evil by banning the word "hello", which contains the word "hell":
"When you go to school and church, they tell you 'hell' is negative and 'heaven' is positive,'" said the 56-year-old Canales, who owns the Kingsville Flea Market. "I think it's time that we set a new precedent, to tell our kids that we are positive adults."
On Thursday, courthouse employees were answering the phones, "heaven-o." And the chamber of commerce was working on a campaign promoting Kingsville, a Rio Grande Valley town of 25,000, as a "heavenly" place to visit.
Canales, a Catholic but not a regular churchgoer, has been as serious as heck about "hello" since 1988, when he told his brother he might start greeting people with "God-o." His brother suggested "heaven-o" instead.Pointing out that the word "hello" has no etymological connection with the word "hell" (the OED says that it stems from an old German greeting for hailing a boat) is, as one might expect, of little avail to the sort of mediæval mindset that finds omens and portents in things.
A high school in Texas has a novel way of dealing with troubled youths: putting them in a steel cage and letting them fight it out with their bare fists:
One employee overheard Mr. Moten tell a security guard to take two students who had been at each other for days and “put ’em in the cage and let them duke it out,” the report states, and the practice was so embedded in the school’s culture that one student remarked to a teacher that he was “gonna be in the cage.”Meanwhile in Sydney, rival motorcycle gangs went on a rampage at the airport, and one man was bludgeoned to death with a
Jamie Zawinski went to SXSW, and reports that Austin, Texas has a music scene second to none:
Austin is a pretty amazing city. The density of music venues is like nothing I've ever seen. I know we're here during a gigantic music festival, but this infrastructure doesn't just go away. I wonder what it's like at other times of year. Even though the music part of the festival hasn't even begun yet, the nightlife is just crazy. We've hardly been to a bar or club that didn't have a capacity of almost a thousand, and they have all been divided up and laid out in totally sensible ways.
Right now I am looking at a street sign - a municipal street sign, presumably suported by an ordinance and everything - that says "Restricted lane, musician loading and unloading". I am not making this up!
San Francisco: You got served.
Adult-contemporary balladeer Chris De Burgh will be the first Western artist allowed to play in Iran, presumably because his material is considered sufficiently innocuous, and/or because his country, Ireland, is not in conflict with the Islamist theocracy.
Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas, a 24-hour all-Michael Bolton station has shut down, declaring bankruptcy after almost five months of operation.
Kinky Friedman, arguably the world's most famous Jewish cowboy detective novelist and author of songs like Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns Into Bed and They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus No More, has announced that he will follow in the footsteps of Jesse Ventura and run for Governor of Texas.
Friedman is the latest representative of an American trend known to detractors as anti-politics and to the more charitable (including me) as narrative politics. The former argue that voters are demonstrating their contempt for democracy by choosing jokes; the latter that, for an electorate increasingly shaped by the grammar of movies and television, the most attractive candidate will be the one whose bid most closely resembles a Hollywood pitch. This makes non-politicians attractive because their very improbability becomes their compelling storyline.
Of course, the powers that be are cluing into this trend and running politically naïve but photogenic celebrity candidates whose platforms consist of vague motherhood statements about being against bad things and for good things, knowing that the real decisions the voters don't want to worry their pretty heads over will be delegated to faceless administrators and, some would say, unelected representatives of vested interests who will benefit from them; thus the causal chain between the popular election of politicians and the appointment of decision-makers is broken. (According to investigative journalist Greg Palast, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's first actions as Governor of California was to basically let the managers of Enron off the hook for screwing Californians with rigged electricity prices.) Americans, however, seem to be eating it up; enough so that now there's a campaign to amend the Constitution to allow foreign-born Schwarzenegger to run for President in 2008.
Of course, which is not to say that the Kinkster is necessarily the pawn of powerful interests. Given his lack of a serious platform (or, for that matter, of his spouting of comfortingly "sincere" homilies), he's probably more like the American Screaming Lord Sutch than anything else.
U.S. uncovers chemical weapon stockpile, in Texas, in the hands of a creepy white-supremacist type. The investigation is ongoing, there may be other co-conspirators across the U.S.; the matter was deemed sufficiently serious to make the President's daily briefing. (via DPH)
A Texas woman has been charged with child pornography offences for having photographed herself breastfeeding her baby. Jacqueline Mercado faced charges of "sexual performance of a child", punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. The charges have been dropped, though her children remain in the custody of the state. Thank God the authorities are equipped to properly deal with monsters like that, no? (via rotten.com)
Another reason to be glad you're not in Texas: A man was assaulted and told to "go back to Iraq" for remaining seated while a "patriotic" country song played at a rodeo. (via The Fix)
(Since 9/11, country music has made a resurgence as a sincere voice of American nationalism, and is now well back in the mainstream in the US. I wonder how this will affect the cultural stock of alt-country among hipster types; I can't see the twang having the same amount of ironic cachet in the age of Toby Keith and red-blooded patriot anthems all over Clear Channel.)
I just got a spam trying to sell me "Handcrafted Angel Figurines from Texas". Yee-ha!
(There's something quintessentially middle-American about the combination of sympathetic magick, superficially Christian symbolism and mall consumerism encapsulated in the whole angel phenomenon. It's the America of Jerry Springer, Wal-Mart and late night infomercials.)