Friday, April 25th, 2008

So long

When you’re making your entertainment plans this summer, be sure to include one last visit to the Backyard, because this summer will be your last chance to see a show at the original location.

I was just out with an old friend the other night at Doc’s MotorWorks drinking a few too many pitchers of Shiner, when we began to reminisce about the good old days of the Backyard, before it was surrounded by a parking lot and bigbox chain stores. The last show I saw there was Willie, and it was really magical to sit out under the oaks in the majestic Texas Hill Country and listen to really good Texas music.

The owner of the Backyard hopes to relocate down the road in the City of Bee Cave in a location that won’t again be overrun by developers.

So, hopefully unlike Shady Grove RV Park and the banks of Waller Creek, the Backyard will once again be a tranquil spot where you can come listen to some of the best music around.

Thx to the Austinist

My wife and I have long been fans of the Alamo Drafthouse for its great food, fantastic beer selection, and Austin ethic, but now we have even more reason to love the Alamo thanks to the TABC.

The downtown Alamo can now serve liquor!!!! Whooohooo!!!!

The Man

Now, I can actually watch Goldfinger while sipping on my very own shaken vodka martini. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Thx to the TABC and the Alamo Drafthouse

Queen Kim

The sky is the limit for first-term Austin City Councilwoman Jennifer Kim. When it comes to allocating the $260,000 a year with which her office is endowed (nominally to pay for the member’s salary and that of their staff), Councilwoman Kim has appropriated generously.

Oh, not on salaries mind you or other public expenses that wouldn’t raise the eyebrows of Austin’s taxpayers, but on questionable items such as:

$921 for a three-night stay at the W hotel in Manhattan
$700 for a membership to Continental Airlines’ ‘President’s Club’
$550 for a Sharper Image air purifier
$400 for 20 copies of Discover Your Strengths
$232 in Crane and Company brand stationary
$86 in Vera Wang barware
$67 for a Steam Wizard from The Sharper Image
$59 each for “Executive Rollerball” pens from The Sharper Image.

Using taxpayer dollars to buy designer barware, and a stay at a trendy Manhattan hotel? Has she been reading the Pedernales Co-op’s guide to fiscal responsibility?

When asked about these expenditures by a local reporter, Kim defended her acquisitional judgment by saying, “I spend what I need to out of my budget to be able to do the job. And in the beginning, it was a brand new office, a brand new staff, there were a lot of things that we needed.”

Like Vera Wang barware. Riiiiight.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on the pens (my Mont Blanc makes those look reasonable), the stationary, the suit steamer, the travel club membership, etc., but–despite being an Aggie–she should know enough not to use public funds to buy any of these items from expensive vendors, if at all.

This is not the first example of Kim’s poor judgment however. In early 2007, she created a furor by indignantly attempting to bypass airport security at ABIA, claiming nonexistent VIP status. When informed her status as a member of the Austin City Council conferred her no special security rights, Kim said “I didn’t know it was a [Transportation Security Administration (TSA)] issue, … I thought since it was our airport and we own it, and if we are pre-cleared, we could get through.”

Uh, ask anyone who has flown since 9/11 if they are aware TSA runs airport security.

As reported elsewhere, Kim’s antics have made her hard to work with, running through at least three executive aides since she took office in 2005.

Her airport shenanigans have even given her electoral opponent a campaign slogan, “I’ll be happy to stand in line with you at the airport anytime.”

Thx to KVUE’s Political Junkie, the Austin Chronicle, News 8 Austin, and PinkDome

Shotgun Willie

In honor of Willie‘s upcoming 75th birthday, KUT‘s Texas Music Matters has produced an hour-long documentary of the legendary musician set to air this Sunday at 11 AM.

Beginning on his birthday, April 29th, the documentary will be available to download here.

Thx to the Austinist

His Excellence

In Justice Ralph Anderson‘s recent opinion in Wieters v. Bon-Secours-St. Francis Xavier Hospital, Inc., No. 4374 (S.C. Ct. App. Apr. 23, 2008 ), he opines:

The cognoscenti of health care nomology trust and rely upon Peer Review Statutes as the quiddity and hypostasis of the hospital/physician relationship. The quintessence and elixir of the peer review process is confidentiality.

Okay, while I am probably one of the worst offenders of writing in this fashion, even I think this passage is a tad much. I’m not nearly as offended by the use of obscure or big words–I happen to think that modern, simplified language wrongly ignores many more precise if overly-loquacious terms favored of old–as I am by their redundant or sloppy use.

The tipoff for me here is the use of the conjunctive “and” twice in the span of eleven words. There is no elegance in the phraseology, “quiddity and hypostasis” or “quintessence and elixir,” only length. The point would have been much more eloquently made if the author had chosen one term or the other, instead of throwing both in for good measure–twice.

Plus, I like to reserve this kind of florid language for times when you are trying to make a point with either humor or irony. It’s okay to sound pompous in my book, as long as you do so with a wink or some wit. A good rule of thumb I follow is to never use more than two words that your reader would likely have to look up in a single sentence (and then only rarely). If you must or you insist on using such words, spread them out through several paragraphs so they don’t hit your reader all at once. Here, Justice Anderson used six obscure terms in two adjacent sentences.

Of interest, one commentator over at Volokh notes that Justice Anderson is notorious for such jeremiads (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Thx to Volokh and the South Carolina Appellate Law Blog