Archive for July, 2006

Save the bungalows

There has been quite a bit of talk recently about efforts to alter the landscape in certain parts of Houston, be it residential or business. Fortunately, people do care and are proving it. Here are some links for people who are just as motivated and directing their efforts to preserving historic houses in the Heights: – This email link can be used to get a sign just like the one you see above ;-). – This site has beaucoup info on what is happening to the neighborhood and what you can do. They even have a page that details the same kind of events in other metropolitan areas.



So the dojo had an 8 year anniversary and we celebrated at Genji on Westheimer. Guess who sipped some sake and sang karaoke? Guess who also sipped Saporo? Guess who sank in to his seat in a sweet stupor? Guess who is looking at the clock right now that says it’s almost midnight and I have to go row row row a boat gently down a stream.

Ummm, oh yeah, back to my reason for writing. So Sensei wanted to have it at Genji because it reminded him of the days when he lived in Japan. It was a fun party and Genji’s is a cool bar. I’d never been to a karaoke bar before so this was soooooo fun.

Ok, I’m through writing. Good night.

A Peek at a Traditional Indian Wedding here in Houston

My friend Jessie recently took part in a very traditional Indian wedding here in Houston and just posted a great account of her experience on her blog.

Link: A Wedding Like None Other (in my experience anyway!)

Magic and gore onstage at the Houston Shakespeare Festival


The City of Houston and the University of Houston theater department are teaming up for another Houston Shakespeare Festival at Hermann Park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre from July 20 – August 12.

They’ll be presenting Titus Andronicus – a veritable bloodbath of a play and a personal favorite – and The Tempest – much more date-friendly and famous.

All shows are free – but you do need to arrive early to get tickets for covered seating. You can call for more info at: 713-284-8352. Showtimes:

“The Tempest”: 8:30 p.m. July 29, Aug. 2, 4, 10, 12
“Titus Andronicus: 8:30 p.m. July 30, Aug. 3, 5, 9, 11

A growing response

untitled.bmp I just heard a report by KUHF‘s Jim Bell on the growing response to Weingarten Realty’s plans to tear down River Oaks Shopping Center landmarks, including the Landmark River Oaks Theater. The online petition (managed by Jim Parsons at Houstonist) has collected more than 12,000 signatures, and another petition by Historic Houston has collected several thousand signatures as well.

The radio story included a “response” by Weingarten Realty Investors Marketing Director Amy Jones:

“As a responsible public company with roots in, and a commitment to, Houston, we will continue to manage this asset with great care, taking into account its history and its future. We do not have a comment on market rumors, and we have no additional information or comments to provide at this time.”

Though, my trusty babelfish interprets this statement as:

“Yeah, we need some time to spin this. In the meantime, how about ‘since we’re based in Houston, we could only have the best of intentions for our fellow residents?’ Oh, and by the way, piss off.”

Yeah, my babelfish is pretty cynical isn’t she? Though, if there’s anything good coming out of this so far, it’s the immediate response by so many Houstonians.

This morning’s KUHF story (including an audio link)
From this morning’s
Petition managed by
Another petition managed by Historic Houston

[photo courtesy of]

Kinkster to stump in Houston this weekend

H-Town gets Kinky!

Houston welcomes Gubernatorial candidate, Kinky Friedman to town Saturday, July 29th at 3:00pm. Join Kinky at Hans’ Village Bier and Vino Haus for a campaign meet & greet. Kinky will speak to the crowd at 3:30pm and campaign merchandise will be available for purchase. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the often-crass, frequently-rowdy, and always-opinionated independent candidate, Kinky Friedman!

Hans’ Village Bier and Vino Haus is located at 2523 Quenby in Houston.

This is the first of several appearances by Kinky in the Greater Houston area, so if you can’t make it out on Saturday, check for all the latest news & events.

Houston No Longer A Potential Bid City for 2016 Olympics

Depending on your feelings toward Houston being a host for sports events, this may be good or bad news. According to the New York Times (registration required), the United States Olympic Committee (U.S.O.C.) has dropped Houston and Philadelphia from a list of possible bid cities to host the games in 2016. Still remaining on the list are Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Although I would like to eventually see Houston host the Olympic games, I don’t want to be anywhere in the area when it happens. Inevitably, there will be a massive influx of visitors that will make traffic conditions unbearable. Also, I’m not sure how many of the athletes will be able to cope with the heat. Summers here (especially July) are difficult even for those of us that are used to the weather.

But then again, it’s not like we can host the Winter Olympics. Unless the Olympic Committee is willing to bring in fake snow…

The Slow Destruction of All That is Good and Dear (or Houston Sucks)

The Houston area is a beautiful metropolis. From beaches to bays, forests to bayous, ultra-modern to beautiful Victorian, Houston has a rich, varied past and is flying towards a fantasy future. Trees and buildings 200 years old stand in our Downtown nestled in with futuristic structures serving the globe’s every need. A hundred neighborhoods divide the five million inhabitants that represent every country and culture in the world. Houston is a vast, grand jewel of America.

Unfortunately, people with the money to make decisions don’t seem to care about any of that. Real estate companies, city planners, urban developers and pseudo-governmental organizations like Metro seem hellbent on the total destruction of everything that makes Houston what it is.

Every time I pull out of my drive way, every glance at the news, every conversation, there is glaring evidence of the rampant gentrification of Houston. One by one, historic homes and buildings are being torn down to build new buildings that look like old buildings. Age old shopping centers are being demolished to make way for the latest and greatest chain store. Houston is becoming the worlds largest suburb. Our culture is being systematically dismantled to make way for blah, standardized, corporate convenience. They call it development, I call it barbarism.

The bad news is: consumers in Houston are the villains. Companies only build because there are people willing to move into townhomes and condos, willing to shop in the new multistory Barnes & Noble/Starbucks #32548. The consumers buy tiny new homes in the Heights built three to a lot for half a million dollars each. The consumers pre-buy lofts in highrises before they’re even finished mutilating the lot. Consumers personally sponsor this crime.

So, what are we going to do? What can we do when votes don’t matter, when nobody asks us before they destroy our landmarks? I guess all we can do is enjoy Houston now, the splendor and history. Show your support for Houston’s culture. Shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and choose places with history. Maybe join the GHPA. Maybe if we do it enough, if we tell others enough, we won’t loose any more culture.

Yates found Not-Guilty by reason of insanity

A jury returned a verdict of not-guilty by reason of insanity in the Andrea Yates case today. Yates had previously been convicted and sentenced to life for drowning her five children in a bathtub in 2001. That verdict was overturned based on false testimony given by prosecution witness Dr. Park Dietz. I had an opportunity to speak with defense counsel George Parnham a few years ago, just after the initial verdict, and was convinced then that Yates was clearly insane at the time of the killings, and that it was unlikely that she would ever be cured by treatment. Given the nature of the killings and the narrow treatment texas law gives the insanity defense, I hardly would have considered todays outcome likely. The reactions I’ve seen so far have been all over the spectrum. Fair outcome, given the circumstances? Comments are open.

Houston Chronicle: Jury Finds Yates Insane, Not Guilty. blogger reaction.

Google Maps Mobile adds live Houston Traffic Conditions


For those of you with internet access on your cellphones, Google Maps Mobile has just added live traffic conditions to help us navigate the mess or at least know what we’re getting ourselves into when we walk out the door on a given morning. Just point your cellphone browser to and hit “7” to turn on the traffic data.

If you don’t have internet access on your cellphone, like me, then you can live vicariously through the live demo on the Google website or just assume the worst.

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