Archive for October, 2005

I was at the game last night… but not the baseball one

A BIll Ding Down Town


Eating Out When There’s Great Weather

On beautiful days like today, I find that I’d much rather eat outside than sit inside a restaurant. The problem is, most places where I can get a quick bite to eat don’t have patios or areas to sit outside.

The only place I’ve been able to find that has a patio and is close to my house in Beck’s Prime. It’s not the most high-class food in the world, but it’s a step above fast food and is relatively inexpensive. The location that I go to in Sugar Land has large trees, a deck, and a man-made lake right outside with plenty of chairs and tables.

Kick back and relax on the deck, read the paper, and enjoy your meal. Saturday afternoons can’t get any better.

Freedom Through Tales of Ordinary Madness – II

If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving probably isn’t for you.

– Harry Chinanski

Katy Freeway complete closures this weekend


Just because it appeared that your life was becoming too darn easy, the Katy Freeway will experience complete closure between Washington and Silber this weekend from 9 PM today until 5 AM Monday October 24.

Visit the Katy Freeway’s website for a detailed detour map. Pissed off by all the seemingly pointless construction? Join the club – no seriously, join the Katy Corridor Coalition.

Show your Astro’s support – get naked and buy stuff!

astros gear.jpg

On my way home last night, I couldn’t believe the lines pouring out onto the sidewalks and into the parking lots of every sporting goods store we passed. Astros fans need memorabilia, dammit!!

This World Series has been decades in the making and it’s really cool seeing everyone get so behind our home team. Seems like most everyone has had some sort of Astros sighting or story over the last couple of weeks.

Mayor White is even promoting nudity (okay, I’m kind of making that up – but it made a better post title) this weekend in support of the ‘Stros.

Mayor Bill White urged Houstonians to participate in a “no sox” weekend in support of the hometown team.

“My mother may not approve,” he said, before several members of his senior staff lifted their slacks to show off bare ankles. “But let’s show everybody that we’re behind these Houston Astros.”

(link via Ed Schipul. Thanks Ed!)

(Astros/Sox gear image found here in this Flickr album)

Vigil against Proposition 2, Sunday the 23rd.

This Sunday, October 23rd, there will be a NO Tragedy in NOvember vigil at Spotts Park in the Heights.

This vigil will have national media attention, including CNN.

Location: Spotts Park, 401 S. Heights @ Memorial Dr.
Time: Sunday, October 23rd, 2:00pm (14:00)
1) Register to participate via e-mail (here), or phone (713-522-4372), or just show up.
2) Get a “Tragedy Mask.” These can be found online, or at local costume stores. For a $10 donation, one will be provided for you at the vigil (limited to 100), OR, you can paint on a tragedy mask using face paint, or create one of your own from paper. Be creative!
3) Show up on October 23, wearing all black clothing, and bring your tragedy mask. You will be given a sign with one of the 1,138 marriage laws (provided free).

Immediately afterwards (at 3:30pm), there will be a post-Vigil meeting to hear a new strategy for the campaign (and pick up new merchandise, if you wish) at Star Pizza, 77 Harvard (one block east of Heights & Washington, 713-869-1241 for directions, or see this map (START indicates Spotts Park. END indicates Star Pizza).

This event is sponsored by:
Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality
3400 Montrose Blvd, #509
Houston, TX 77006

For more information, contact the above number, or Emily at, or 713-522-4372.

It’s nearing time to vote.. do you know all of the details?

Hey Houston. Are you familiar with the amendments up for vote, this November 8th? If you’re not, there’s one you should definately be aware of. Proposition Two, also know as the Texas Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment.

Prop. 2 will read as follows: “The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

The actual language of the amendment is: “Article I, Texas Constitution, (The Bill of Rights) is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:

Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage. ”

So what does this mean?

I’m going to come off sounding way left wing, and a little pissed off, so please bear with me. I promise, I will back up what I say, and I will make sense. Even if you, as one individual stated to me on the street, the other day, think “those damned queers should be shot, rather than allowed to marry,” please, give me the courtesy of reading my post.

First off, this amendment will server no other purpose than to write discrimination into the Texas Bill of Rights. That’s right, Houston. This amendment will make discrimination against gays and lesbians a right in the State of Texas.

‘BUT WAIT’, you’re saying… ‘Won’t this keep gays from marrying, therefore preserving the sanctity of marriage as a Christian institution?’

No. Well, technically, yes, but see… it’s already illegal for people of the same sex to marry (family code ? 2.001, 1997). It’s also already illegal to recognize same-sex marriages, or civil unions for same-sex couples (Family code ?6.204, 2003. Brought into being by SB 7, 2003). Additionally, laws have been on the record books as far back as the 1800’s, prohibiting the marriage, or civil union, of a same-sex couple. The laws I linked, above, are merely the newest.

So tell me, Houston, if it’s already illegal for homosexuals to marry, why does it need to be in our constitution. The amendment being affected is part of the Texas Bill of Rights. If Prop. 2 is passed, then discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people will become, in a sense, supported by our state’s constitution. Add to that the fact that you are doing nothing more than adding a law on top of a similar law that has already been on the books.

I think the No Nonsense in November campaign says it best, in this document, outlining the general nonsense of this proposition. To quote:

As Texans we’ve all watched and become appalled by the actions of the Texas Legislature. We have failure after failure to do the right thing for public education and school finance. We still have thousands of kids who can’t get access to health insurance. They’re about to force all of us to pay an unfair share of regressive taxes with education and state services still underfunded. It’s total nonsense. And with all of that undone, they have time to deal with sexy cheerleading and to now expect us to rubber stamp their nonsense of prohibiting many Texans from the ability to protect their property, their medical decisions, inheritance and hundreds of other rights and responsibilities granted through civil marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and possibly even common law marriage.

They’re asking you to put this in the Texas Constitution: the fundamental document that defines us as Texans. For the first time in history, you are being asked to put a prohibition against someone’s human rights in a document that has long been seen as the place where you grant and expand protections for people.

That’s nonsense since it’s unnecessary. Marriage between people of the same sex is already illegal and the Legislature isn’t about to change that for a long, long time.

In their effort to enact this political wedge issue,they overreached with such legal nonsense that many believe it may also destroy the legal protections that thousands of Texans have through common law marriage. Other states which have adopted this language are already seeing judges overturn domestic violence cases just because there wasn’t a marriage certificate between two heterosexuals! The unintended consequences are staggering to imagine.

Read that one more time, very carefully, especially that last paragraph.

Did you see it? I know I sure did.
See, this law is worded as such that it prohibits the state from recognizing civil unions, even between hetereosexual (straight) couples. That includes common law marriage. Folks, there are literally tens of thousands of straight Texans that are common law married. These Texans face seeing their spousal rights and legal protections stripped away from them in one fail swoop, this November. It may be as if their marriage never existed in the first place. It is entirely possible that insurance companies could sue their clients for a return of the fees they paid out in spousal benefits to civil union and common law couples.

You want more information on how this amendment could effect heterosexual couples, maybe even you? Okay, see this page at NNN, that discusses the overly broad nature of the amendment.

Want my reasons for voting against the amendment? Here they are:

  • Homosexual marriage and civil union is already illegal in the State of Texas and has been for a very long time. That’s not going to change, anytime soon.
  • Writing this amendment into the constitution does nothing but place a foundation for discrimination against a very large portion of society into our bill of rights. Public discrimination has never, ever been a right.
  • This amendment is far too broad. It will have far-reaching effects against alredy-existing common law and civil unions for heterosexual (straight, non-gay) couples, including the dissolution of the legal status of their relationship, the removal of all spousal benefits, and the possible removal of some domestic violence protection (for more information, see this page (in html. Original document is in PDF, here).
  • Instead of concentrating on more important issues (like education, school finance, healthcare, etc…), the Texas legislature has been concentrating on passing a law that has already been passed.

If you want to read more about Proposition 2, please visit the LGRL page on the NNN website, or the No Nonsense In November website, directly.

If you’d like to help out in Houston, I’ll be posting an entry very shortly with details on the happenings in Houston.

I urge each of you, Houston, to pledge to vote against this amendment. Drop your comment to this entry, and pledge to vote against discrimination, future problems for both homosexual (gay) and heterosexual (straight) couples, and the pointless waste of our legislature’s time in coming up with a law that already exists.

Please. Pledge. Vote.

A proud Texan, pledging his vote of “AGAINST” on November 8th,
Eric “Fyre” Scalf

Hometown boy makes bad

GOP poster boy Tom Delay showed up for his mugshot and perp walk/slither today.


Heres the warrant if you feel the need to frame it.

bye bye tommy!

Freedom Through Education – IV

“It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.”

— Thomas Jefferson

Guest Post: We’re losing Astroworld but we’ll never lose Star Pizza

-Posted by beingkatie on behalf of Jay Lee

This is not a restaurant review

I’ve been in Houston most of my life and without disclosing too much we’ll just say that’s a long time.
This city has grown and changed over the years and looks nothing like it did even a few short years ago.

Houston landmarks are disappearing or changing with greater and greater frequency. The Houston Coliseum where the Beatles played is gone. The Houston Summit where I saw some of the greatest rock concerts of all time slowly changed to become the Compaq Center and is now the home of Lakewood Church. The eighth wonder of the world, The Astrodome, has gone from a magnificent baseball and football stadium to a convienent and expendable evacuation center for those seeking refuge from the devastating effects of hurrican Katrina. KLOL, Houston’s premier rock and roll radio station, is now a Spanish station playing Reggaeton, Spanish hip hop and pop hits (bleh!). Even Astroworld is slated to close it’s doors before the end of this year.

But some things never seem to change, thank goodness.

It’s been a long time since I have eaten at Star Pizza and when I was invited by my colleague Dwight Silverman to meet up for dinner to discuss the future of Technology Bytes with his friend Chris Hearne, the founding publisher of the Houston Press it seemed a most logical choice.

Founded 30 years ago by Hank and Marilyn Zwirek, The original Star Pizza at 2111 Norfolk has provided Houston with it’s most well known outlet for procuring a genuine Chicago style pizza in our fair city. It has also been a place one could go to get a tasty Italian meal and, more importantly, it has been an inner-city gathering place with easy access to the heart of Houston for all these years. It’s super casual with plenty of dining space inside and out. The atmosphere (combined with delicious pizza and adult beverages) is very conducive to a most animated and thoughtful conversation. Just about anyone you talk to knows about Star Pizza.

I don’t know if we accomplished much last night but I am sure glad I went. It’s comforting just knowing that they’re there and you can walk in on a Thursday night and get some good food served by a friendly and attentive staff of pizza proffessionals.

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