Archive for January, 2007

Weingarten strikes again with the closing of another Houston institution

I know it’s silly to take things that a corporation does personally, but man do I feel like the Weingarten bastards totally have it in for me.

First they try to close down the awesome Alabama Theater (see the Save River Oaks Shopping Center and Alabama Theater petition here).

Now I just found out that they refused to renew the lease of 18-year-old Tien Ren, one of the best restaurants (vegan and otherwise) around. Healthy, clean, friendly staff and absolutely ecstatically wonderful food. I am devastated. It’s geeky I know, but it was the ultimate comfort food and now (as of January 7th) it is suddenly gone. Sad.

So tell them how you really feel. And then maybe add some new veggie-friendly restaurants on our Houston Vegetarian Restaurant Platial map.

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck probably doesn’t get near the attention it deserves, which is just fine for those of us who don’t like to share. Where else can you hear the best acts in Folk, Irish, & Americana music with a pint of Guinness or Murphy’s? Nowhere, that’s where. If you’ve never been to this venue, it’s not too late to add another New Year’s Resolution. Look for upcoming shows by Bruce & Kelly Robison, Bob Schneider, The Greencards, Mary Gauthier and Ruthie Foster.

Here’s a video from YouTube of Idgy Vaughn, Erin Condo, and Sofia Gray doing a great Vaughn tune “Mr. Wrong.”

If you’re into Irish, er, I mean Celtic music, it doesn’t get any better this side of the Atlantic than the Wednesday night Irish session. Here’s another video from a devoted fan.

Power out, highway closed… bikes win

Behold the power of the bicycle!

When Highway 6 between West Little York and Highway 249 was closed today from a downed power line, it caused confusion, congestion, and elicited more than one horn blown in anger. The entire area was without power as police stopped traffic in both directions….


…through all the turbulence and temper… a lone cyclist rode peacefully down the road. Nice!

Kentucky blogger/social artist visiting Houston

Artist Ashley Cecil will be in Houston from Jan. 25 – 31 and is visiting various organizations in an effort to capture and express a sampling of Houston’s activist community. Ashley Cecil documents social issues not with a pen or a camara or a microphone, but rather a paint brush. She travels to different locales and uses her brush to tell a story about how people rescue dogs, buying organic food, and various other topics of social interest. On her visit, she’ll be heading over to The Rose, GHASP, Urban Harvest, and ArtBridge. You can reach Ashley by email at ashley dot cecil @ gmail dot com.

It was a bright & sunny afternoon…

Okay… so what the hell happened to the winter weather? Crap! I was looking forward to getting at least another week’s worth of wear out of my sweaters. I must admit Houston, one thing I miss about living above the Mason-Dixon line was the glory of winter. As it turns out, we only get to experience Winter-Lite. Hey… I’m not complaining here, I’m just pointing out the obvious (which is what I do best).

So I was out driving around last Sunday with my girlfriend (and my camera) when we stumbled across…

The Church of Highly Concerned Anti-Abortionists.

Oh boy… check out all those crosses. I wish I could have framed a better shot so you could see the scale of just how many crosses there are. Each cross represents 1,000 abortions and are lined up by year… starting with 1973.

After snapping a few shots of the church crosses thing, I continued down a back road and was enjoying the scenic country drive. Houston may have a crappy excuse for winter, but I love the idea of quickly escaping the big city to find tranquility in the countryside. Besides tranquility, you may also find…

Joe Dirt's Home
An “office” for the local dirt yard.

While I understand the concept of a dirt yard, it still sounds goofy. Imagine you are in the market for some dirt and you find yourself in front of Ye Olde Dirt Yard:

Customer: Good morning, I would like to buy some dirt.
Dirt Yard Manager: Sorry, we’re sold out.
Customer: Sold out? Can’t you go out back and dig up some more?
Dirt Yard Jefe: Nope.
Customer: Why not?!
Dirt Yard Boss-man: We have to wait until next week.
Customer: Next week… Why?!
Dirt Yard Kingpin: Gotta give the dirt some time to grow back before we dig it up again.
(rim shot)

Not too many miles away, I found an icon of serenity:

Look deep into the photo.

Can you hear the birds chirping? Can you feel the wind softly blowing around you? Can you hear the cows in the distance, lowing? Can you hear the shotgun of the farmer who is yelling at you to get off his property?

And even further down the road…

Forgotten & Unforgiving
This was a depressing yet interesting site.

It sits a few hundred yards away from the BP plant in Texas City. Yes, the same BP site that experienced the tragic explosion a few years ago.

As it was still early on Sunday morning, we drove into Houston proper and decided to see if we could pop in for a quick recording at the Story Corps camper. Thanks to Katya fo da heads up on this project!

Unfortunately for me, their schedule was full for the day with no cancellations. But I’m glad that Houstonians are taking time to tell their story.

Feeling lost for something to do, I wandered around the Museum District and noticed a bit of graffiti from the Knitta Please Posse.


Revolting! What a disgrace!!!

And look, even more tragically violent knitting action!


Dudes, I was getting tired of all this exploring and photos and stuff. So I decided to have a sit down and ponder all that I had seen.

Sigh……. I still dream of Edna Gavito.

New source for local news


The web has given birth to another site that encourages citizen journalism. is a site that lets you type in the name of your neighborhood or zip code to pull up news that is relevant for you. The site seems reminiscent of another site that was mentioned here a while back ( I love archives ) called I like a bit more just because it doesn’t seem as cluttered. You can add your blog so that your stories can help power the site. I suppose the big news item that’s worth mentioning is the sun finally came out!!!!

It was a dark & stormy afternoon…

Good afternoon Houston.JPG

… so I decided to play hooky from a conference on carbon emissions trading and drive around my beloved city.

Of course, what better way to fuel up on a soggy afternoon than with some spicy Thai food! Ready?


This wonderful mecca of yumminess is family-owned and features the best Thai food in Houston. These guys will kick the tom yum out of Tony’s Thai or Thai Cottage any day of the week. Since Kanomwan is family-owned, they keep non-traditional hours. Better call ahead to make sure they’re open before you venture out. But let me tell you Houston… this place is worth it.

Afterwards, I needed some caffeine, so I went directly across the parking lot from Kanomwan and picked up a mocha from Bohemeo’s.


After a few sips, I couldn’t believe my luck! Excellent Thai and now excellent java!? What gods must I offer sacrifice to for so much good fortune? Not only does the place offer great coffee, but they also feature a micro-cinema night, poetry reading, and artwork from area artists.

Speaking fo art… now that I was all revved up, I decided to go check out the Commerce Street Artists’ Warehouse. The place doesn’t have “regular” exhibition hours… so if there’s not an event going on, then you just show up and hope someone is around that will let you in. If you get tired or angry of waiting around for someone to open the door, then you can check out the boxing rink/gym next door. Dude, I’m serious. Go check it out if you think I’m lying.

Anyway, each artist has their own studio to do their “thing”. Here’s the door to Jo in Nine G Hell!


And here’s an instillation of “Surge” by Katalin Hausel.


So what is this piece about? Hint: Ms. Hausel has a thing or two to say about the imminent “surge” of troops going to Iraq.

Okay… gotta look busy at the office. Ciao!

Looking for a Good Houston Auto Mechanic


My relationship with my car is something like a father’s with an adolescent daughter. Please God just tell me everything’s great cause if it’s not I just don’t think I can handle it. So on this, the six-month or so anniversary of the ominous arrival of the check-engine light I’m ready to seek professional help. The thing is, who to turn to? I have no idea. So as an experiment who better to turn to than the collective power of the Metroblogging Houston crowd? Anyone? Anyone? I prefer to local mechanic somewhere in reasonable proximity to Rice Village area. The comments are open.

Rainy Day Fun?

I’m not clear on what’s “fun” about freezing rain, but it seemed like everyone was preparing for the worst last night. In Sugar Land, for example, trucks dropped sand on the main roads, and commuters hurried home so that they could be someplace safe when the storm hit. I stayed awake most of the night waiting for the sound of rain, but nothing came.

UH may possibly be closed tomorrow depending on the weather, and I’m sure other colleges may follow suit. Although I didn’t hear about any district closings, many private schools were closed today. A day off never hurt anyone, right?

The College Football Shuffle: Graham Leaves, Briles Stays


As college football coaches look and act less like teachers and more like CEOs, the conclusion of football season is seeing a lot more hiring and firing than in years past. For ambitious coaches, revitalizing a losing program is sometimes less an investment than a stepping stone. After one year with Rice, first year Owls Coach and Conference USA Coach of the Year, Todd Graham has parlayed his success into the head job at Tulsa, where he coached prior to taking the job at Rice. It’s a bitter loss for Rice, who just signed Graham to a contract through 2012, and also lost offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to Alabama.

A little to the East, University of Houston head coach Art Briles, who lead a rejuvenated Cougar team to their first Conference USA Championship reportedly turned down an offer from the Minnesota Gophers in the wake of their unseemly firing of Glen Mason after his team gave up the biggest comeback in bowl history to Tech.

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