Smoke, smoke…

July 31st, 2015

I thought the barbecue wars were over. Or, at least, we were at the point where the Treaty of Franklin’s was being negotiated.

Nope.

A group of 15 Austin residents have filed a lawsuit against Terry Black’s Barbecue for negligence and nuisance stemming from the smoke the barbecue restaurant emits to cook its meats.

(I think this link will bypass the paywall. If not, Austin Eater’s story is here.)

Attend the tale.

July 28th, 2015

This one goes out to Mike the Musicologist:

“Sweeney Todd”, the “prog-metal” version.

(Can someone explain to me what “prog-metal” is, anyway?)

It could be worse. It could be disco.

Obit watch: July 28, 2015.

July 28th, 2015

Noted true crime writer Ann Rule passed away on Sunday. LAT.

(Hattip: Mom.)

The Ann Rule origin story is well known to true crime buffs, but since I’m not sure how many of those read this blog, I’ll recap it here: in the 1970’s, she was working at a suicide hotline and writing under pseudonyms. She became interested in some Seattle area murders and started investigating them; ultimately, it turned out those murders were committed by a close friend who worked with her on the hotline…

…one Mr. Ted Bundy. The Stranger Beside Me made Rule’s reputation and career.

“I really care about the people I’m writing about,” said Rule, whose accounts focused as much on the anguish of the victims and their families as on the depravity of the killers. “I finally came to the knowledge I’m doing what I probably was meant to do in life.”

Edited to add: WP article which goes into more detail about Bundy and Rule.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#U of a series)

July 24th, 2015

The latest APD firing: Officer VonTrey Clark.

It seems unlikely that former officer Clark will be appealing his firing for two reasons:

1. He is allegedly in Indonesia. Thing I did not know: Indonesia does not have an extradition treaty with the US. Good to keep in mind…

2. Former officer Clark has bigger problems.

I haven’t written much about this for various reasons, including the lack of non-paywalled links and the fact that the story is just sad and awful. But I might as well try to summarize here.

A woman named Samantha Dean was killed in February. She worked in victim services for the Kyle PD and was seven months pregnant.

The police have been investigating her murder for months now. Apparently, they now believe her baby was the product of an affair with former officer Clark. Clark has not, to the best of my knowledge, been charged with any crime. What I’ve picked up so far is that investigators think Clark arranged for other associates of his to commit the murder, and I suspect that they’re trying to get at least one of those associates to roll.

In the meantime, APD fired Clark for “withholding information during an internal investigation and associating with known felons”.

Here are a couple of half-decent stories from local TV stations KEYE and KVUE. The KEYE story contains a lengthy response from Clark’s attorney: in case you were wondering, Chief Acevedo’s allegations are “slanderous” and consorting with known felons is a “trifling policy violation”.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#T of a series)

July 22nd, 2015

You may recall Blayne Williams, the APD officer who was suing the department for not promoting him, even though he’d been suspended twice and fired once.

Officer Williams has been fired again. I apologize that I can’t find a non-paywalled Statesman link, but the first two paragraphs of the story and the “story highlights” I think convey the gist of the story.

Quickies.

July 22nd, 2015

E. L. Doctorow. LAT. WP.

Inverted Jenny watch:

…the agency’s watchdog has called the instant, manufactured stamp rarity issued in 2013 a huge mistake that broke the agency’s own rules, which prohibit postal officials from intentionally creating a rare stamp just to make money.

More:

Postal officials gave 70 upright panes to post offices to distribute randomly to buyers. The 30 remaining panes were sent to the agency’s stamp fulfillment services office in Kansas City, Mo., to ship to customers who ordered the Jennies by mail.
But in Kansas City, officials “forgot” about their distribution plan for the newly created rare stamps, investigators found. They shipped just one pane between March 2014 and December 2014. As a result, 23 upright panes remain in Kansas City, where management has not decided what to do with the stamps, the report said.

(Previously. Previously.)

Obit watch: July 20, 2015.

July 20th, 2015

Interesting fact about the late Alex Rocco: he was also the voice of Roger Meyers Jr. (A/V Club.)

The A/V Club is also reporting the death of George Coe.

He went on to to appear in films like Kramer Vs. Kramer, and in 1968 was nominated for a Best Live-Action Short Film Oscar for “The Dove,” a satire of Ingmar Bergman films, which he both starred in and co-directed.

I have a copy of “The Dove” somewhere on my MacBook…

Mr. Coe was perhaps best known to contemporary audiences as the voice of Woodhouse in Archer.

Finally, Aubrey Morris has also passed away.

In a career of more than five decades, Mr. Morris brought a memorable touch of eccentricity to films including the cult thriller “The Wicker Man” (1973), Woody Allen’s “Love and Death” (1975) and Ken Russell’s “Lisztomania” (1975).

He was perhaps most famous for playing Mr. Deltoid in A Clockwork Orange.

Stand down! Stand down!

July 17th, 2015

The monocled cobra, which is nearly 4-feet long, was found dead early Friday morning on the service road of Interstate 35 near Parmer Lane and just feet away from the Lowe’s Home Improvement store where Thompson was found unresponsive Tuesday night.

I’m sure Austin Mongoose is disappointed.

Random notes: July 16, 2015.

July 16th, 2015

The Birdman of Altiplano.

“There is already a significant problem every single weekend with widespread, out-of-control peeing,” Mr. Johnson, who represents much of Manhattan’s West Side, said.

(I love the “Citations for public urination” graphic that goes along with this article.)

I’m a little surprised this one hasn’t made FARK yet: local police find an unresponsive man in a car. He had bite marks on his wrist, and there was a non-venomous snake (and other animals) in the car. Man dies.

And it seems like his venomous cobra snake may be on the loose. (Hattip: Lawrence.)

(Huh. I didn’t realize that Frederick Forsyth won an Edgar for “There Are No Snakes in Ireland”. That’s not a bad story, but I like “The Emperor” from the same collection a little better.)

Edited to add:

Austin Animal Services is not actively searching for a missing monocle cobra that may have killed an 18-year-old Temple man on Tuesday.

You know what this means, folks. If Animal Services isn’t actively searching for it, it’s up to the rest of us to be on the lookout. Get that Taurus Judge out of the gun safe and load it up with snake shot! Fun for the whole family! At least, until someone gets bitten…

The monocled cobra causes the highest fatality due to snake venom poisoning in Thailand. Envenomation usually presents predominantly with extensive local necrosis and systemic manifestations to a lesser degree. Drowsiness, neurological and neuromuscular symptoms will usually manifest earliest; hypotension, flushing of the face, warm skin, and pain around bite site typically manifest within one to four hours following the bite; paralysis, ventilatory failure or death could ensue rapidly, possibly as early as 60 minutes in very severe cases of envenomation. However, the presence of fang marks does not always imply that envenomation actually occurred.

Edited to add 2:

Oh, thank God. They’re going to start an organized search. I was afraid they’d be engaging in a disorganized search.

(Hattp: the Austin Cobra Twitter. Hattip on the Austin Cobra Twitter to the great and good Joe D. in the comments.)

Random notes: July 15, 2015.

July 15th, 2015

The Shep turned himself in to the Detroit PD. (Previously.)

Correction: July 13, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated Modern Farmer’s new “it” grain. It is sorghum, not quinoa.

The holidays have snuck up on me…

July 14th, 2015

…and I didn’t really have a chance to prepare.

So happy Bastille Day, everyone. I don’t actually recommend storming a prison, but if you do, please observe all safety precautions. (And don’t launch fireworks off of your head, or other body parts.)

The All-Star game kind of snuck up on me, too. But honestly, this year, I don’t give a flying flip at a rolling doughnut. There’s really no spectacularly bad team to root against. Heck, both the Astros and the Cubs are over .500.

Art, damn it, art! watch (#48 in a series)

July 14th, 2015

Apparently, the Detroit PD doesn’t want Shepard Fairey extradited from California to face vandalism charges there. (Previously.)

This comes by way of a LAT think piece:

Fairey’s arrest, and his release, provides a window into the evolution of street art, its growing acceptance in American culture and the extent to which an old question, “Is it art or is it vandalism?” now gets answered through new eyes. The social media and press attention that the Detroit incident received speaks to the artist’s fame, which is itself a marker of how street art has become part of the zeitgeist, public art expert Ed Fuentes said.

Perhaps I am naive. Perhaps I shouldn’t try to be an art critic. But it seems to me that there’s a very simple answer to the “art or vandalism” question: if you have permission from the property owner, it is art. If you don’t, it is vandalism.

Speaking of art being above the law, Joe Gibbons was sentenced yesterday.

Mr. Gibbons, a former lecturer in art at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was sentenced on Monday to one year in prison after he pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to third-degree felony robbery for entering a Capital One Bank in Chinatown this past New Year’s Eve, stealing $1,002 and filming it all on a pocket-size pink and silver video camera. He claimed it was an act of performance art coupled with dire financial straits.

While acknowledging that Mr. Gibbons had dubious legal standing, Ann Pellegrini, a professor of performance studies at New York University, called the case a classic example of “performance becoming performative,” an act that questions “the relationship between actor, audience and enactment.”