Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Denying tumblers a spot in the parade

Fiesta time is almost upon us. Festivities, fun, and frivolity will reign, but you can bet one group of people won't be all smiles the whole time. Especially during the Fiesta Flambeau parade.
One group is upset they've been denied a spot in the Fiesta Flambeau parade and said they haven't received a firm answer as to why their request was denied.

The Texas Wolverine All-Stars, a nonprofit gym for cheerleaders, boxers and tumblers, were denied entry into the parade, but gym managers said they've been given multiple reasons about why they weren't allowed to march this year.
(from KSAT-12)

Really? A nonprofit gym for cheerleaders? Who knew such things existed? I mean, besides the Wolverines, obviously.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Ex-Soviet leader turns green in San Antonio"

Gorby was in town. And guess what? He was scoldin' us.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was in San Antonio, pushing for the city and the state of Texas to invest more in green energy, and get away from fossil fuels.

“Together, we must invest in the green economy. It’s the safest, best way forward.” he said through an interpreter.


Gorbachev is pushing solar energy, which he says is clean, renewable and available. His group says the current worldwide economic crisis needs solutions that will help the Earth, while acknowledging green energy is more expensive and lacks critical infrastructure.

(from KENS-5)

Hmm. I wonder how well Gorby's arguments to "get away from fossil fuels" fly back home.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Making it easy for the police

Picking up hookers in San Antonio is getting more difficult and costing the johns more.
A bizarre chain of events led police to a home on the city's west side where at least two people had been held against their will.

Police said it all began when a man in his 50s picked up a woman he thought was a prostitute early Friday morning. According to police, she brought the man to a home at 1139 Lombrano St., where police said he was beaten, tied up, and robbed by three men.

"They robbed him of his car keys, ATM [card], got his pin number, and while he was tied up inside, went and took some money from his ATM," said Officer Joe Rios with the San Antonio Police Department.

Sometime during the night, the victim was able to free himself, run from the house and call police for help.

"The officers went to the location, found two suspects Friday morning, asleep," Rios said.
(from KSAT-12)

Sometimes the bad guys almost turn themselves in. Think about it: These thugs concoct a scheme where they kidnap a woman (revealed later in the story), force her to pose as a prostitute, and then lure at least one man back to a house where they beat and rob him. But they fail in epic proportions when, first of all, they bring the guy back to their own house! And then, while they are gone cleaning out the john's accounts, the man escapes, and when they return they do not consider, Hmm, that guy may go to the police and report what we have done. Perhaps we should go on the run. Instead they think, Hmm, that guy escaped. Oh well, we've got his money, and I'm tired. Let's go to bed.

I'm just glad the police took the john's story seriously.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Telling us what it is

In this Express-News story about the State Board of Education's wrangling over how to teach evolution, board member Ken Mercer from San Antonio argued for keeping in language that would require teaching about the "weaknesses" of Darwin's theory. That clause was eventually tossed out, but the news story included this quote from Mercer, which I have pasted here verbatim:
“There are questions about evolution…(ellipsis). There are weaknesses,” he said.
There you have it. If you have ever wondered exactly what an ellipsis is, now you know, (comma) thanks to the Express-News. (period)

(screen capture)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Banning kids from the day

I'm not so sure this is a good idea.
Bexar County commissioners are considering a daytime curfew for juveniles.

A proposed curfew would affect minors under the age of 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The idea comes on the heels of the existing nighttime curfew, which was enacted in 1995 to deal with gang-related crimes. The curfew requires teens under 17 to be off the streets between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Monday through Friday.

But rapid growth in the county has prompted officials to consider making changes in an effort to crack down on juvenile delinquents.
(from KSAT-12)

I hope this curfew applies to school days only. The nighttime curfew may have been successful, but I would think some well-considered exceptions need to be written into this new code to ensure everyone under 17 in the county is not locked inside their homes during the day throughout the summer months. That's sure to cause more problems than it solves.

Your former city government, getting ripped off

Poor Henry Cisneros. Bad things just seem to keep finding him.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A long-time friend of former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros has pleaded guilty to stealing $473,000 from Cisneros' accounts.

Fred L. May III pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court on Wednesday. He was a long-time friend and former college classmate of Cisneros, who was a HUD secretary during the Clinton Administration and previously served as mayor of San Antonio.
(from WOAI-TV)

Nice friend to have.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Your city government at work

What are members of San Antonio City Council to do when the scourge of graffiti catches up to them? What would you do?

Would you get your fence painted at the taxpayers' expense?

That's what KENS-5 is saying Sheila McNeil did.

Neighbors in the Sunrise Subdivision on the Eastside say tagging sprouts like weeds in the spring. So, who cleans it up? Homeowners are supposed to make the repairs. But some are complaining city councilwoman Sheila McNeil got city crews to clean up hers.

McNeil claimed a harship, as city crews re-painted her fence Monday. But KENS-5 could find no record of chronic tagging problems at her home.

Her neighbors, on the other hand, have been cited by code compliance for their graffit[i] problems. They say it's not fair.

It's absolutely not fair. If this allegation is true, it's definitely an abuse of city resources, and McNeil should be ashamed that she did this. But, then again, I recall that McNeil was the only councilmember who had no problem with using city funds to pay for her trip to Obama's inauguration, even after she was called out on the expenses.
Last month [January 2009], Councilwoman Sheila McNeil flew to Washington, D.C., on questionable city business, attended the presidential inauguration on the taxpayers' dime and wondered why everyone made such a fuss.
And, she's running for mayor.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Chupacabra or hairless wild pig?"

WOAI-TV has finally picked up on the furor over the chupacabra/mangy coyote that has been spotted running around the Northwest Side of San Antonio. Oddly enough, WOAI is the only source I have seen so far that doesn't consider this animal might be a canid of some sort and instead speculates that it might be a pig.
NORTHWEST SAN ANTONIO -- Jaime Garcia sent the photo of a strange-looking animal. Immediately, the image of a (mythical?) chupacabra leaps to mind.

Garcia says he took this photo about eight months ago. He and his boss have seen the animal since then as well. At the time of the photos, Garcia says it was about as large as a "medium-sized dog." In profile, the creature's head is shaped a bit like a horse's.

Garcia wrote to News 4 WOAI that “...the nose looks like a pig. Heis hairless on most of his body... except on the spine he has the hairof a wild pig (javalina).”


Pig or “goat sucker?” Take a look at the slideshow and you decide.
WOAI's slideshow is here.

For the record, I think it's a mangy coyote. But that doesn't mean you can't put it on a T-shirt!

Young and gay

They were that way at the Ursuline Academy many years ago. Alan found an album cover that proves it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Teen suspect attacks costumed tax service worker"

A bad day to be Ms. Liberty.

A man dressed like the Statue of Liberty, working for a tax service, is recovering after a group of teens ambushed him last night, with one teen body-slamming the unsuspecting man on to the concrete sidewalk.

According to police, two suspects approached the victim and began to talk to him. While they did, a third suspect, 19-year- old Justin Marshal ran up, grabbed the man and body slammed him to the ground causing the victim to begin to convulse.

While the first two suspects ran off, the third was chased by a good samaritan into the Wal-Mart off of Military Drive and Interstate 37, where he was held until police could arrive.

(from KENS-5)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Your city government at work

Our fine San Antonio city councilmembers want to get re-elected. Or do they?
SAN ANTONIO -- Lourdes Galvan's signs are up all over District 5, but it might be all for naught. Her application for city council is being questioned. News 4 WOAI obtained a copy of her application to run for city council before it was altered. In small writing it says ‘District 3’ and not ‘District 5.’

And in the revised version the number ‘3’ is crossed out and the city clerk's, Leticia Vacek, initials are next to it.

Vacek admits “that was my error. It was not the candidate's error. It was a clerical error.”

Because the lettering is so small on this portion of the application, Vacek says Galvan asked her to help out. And when the mistake was pointed out to Vacek about a week after it was filed, she called the Texas Secretary of State's office.
(from WOAI-TV)

Really, if you were running for elected office -- especially re-election! -- wouldn't you pay just a bit more attention to your paperwork? Why would you leave it up to a city employee to fill out the papers for you? Or do you think she thought it was the city manager's contract and was waiting for Justin Rodriguez to read it?

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Councilwoman, Residents Fighting West Avenue Strip Club"

Well, this sounds like a poorly run establishment anyway.
A strip club most recently in the public eye for on suspicion of allowing a minor to dance topless has become the target of nearby residents as well as a city councilwoman.

Club Babylon, whose 37-year-old manager, Manuel Alvarado, was arrested and charged with allowing the sexual performance of a child last week, has been visited over and over again by San Antonio police for various calls, said District 1 City Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros.

San Antonio police found a 16-year-old girl dancing topless inside the club last week.

The club, located on West Avenue, has had 140 calls for service since opening in July 2007, including those for assault, theft and other misdemeanors. A taco vendor was also killed near the club in 2008.
(from KSAT-12)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

H.R. Pufnstuf

He's from San Antonio.

Did you know that?

I'm a regular reader of another local blog called Blogonomicon, and the author there, Alan, is something of a vinylphile. He has many old LP albums that he has been ripping to his computer, and some of them are rare, curious, or strange. As he digitizes some of the more interesting ones, he does blog posts explaining how he got them and what the music means to him. This all makes for fun reading, but I recently learned something new about an old television show I used to watch.

The show was "H.R. Pufnstuf," a strange Saturday morning live-action puppet show featuring a dragon in cowboy boots and a boy with a magic flute. (Read more about it here, if you like.) I barely remember the show, and most of the people I mention it to do not recall it themselves, so it was refreshing to read that Alan remembered it and that I wasn't just some crazy person who made up memories about cowboy dragons. In fact, Alan has the original soundtrack of the album, and he recently ripped it to his computer and wrote a blog post about it.

I enjoyed reading about the album and the show, but imagine my surprise when I read one of the commenters on the post claiming that Pufnstuf had his origins in Hemisfair '68, the world's fair that was held in San Antonio! I was intrigued, so I consulted the vat of all human knowledge known as Wikipedia and discovered that the dragon and his flute-toting friend were indeed a product of the Alamo City!
After creating costumes for characters in the live-action portion of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, Sid and Marty Krofft were asked to develop their own Saturday morning children's series for NBC. The plot was recycled from Kaleidescope, a live puppet show the Kroffts had staged in the Coca-Cola pavilion of the HemisFair '68 world's fair in 1968, including several key characters from this show, such as Luther the dragon and a silly witch[4].
There you go. One more strange thing from San Antonio.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Woman 'In Pain' Arrested In Meth Seizure"

If you wish to go into the drug trade, perhaps you might want to make sure you're in good health first.
A neighbor concerned about a woman who sounded as if she was in pain appears to be the key to police making an arrest and large seizure of money and methamphetamine early Thursday morning.

San Antonio police arrested a 52-year-old woman from her home at the Enclave Apartments at 1550 Jackson Keller Road after finding about $250,000 in cash, seven ounces of meth and a gun, investigators said. Some of the drugs and money were packed into small bags, they said.

The woman, apparently a diabetic, was on probation for possession of drugs with the intent to deliver and felony possession of a firearm, said SAPD Chief Bill McManus. One of the woman's neighbors called for help when she thought she heard sounds of somebody in pain, McManus said.
(from KSAT-12)

If she goes to prison, at least she will have access to health care, thanks to the taxpayers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Same mangy coyote, but this time it was reported on by KSAT-12:
A San Antonio resident claims to have seen the mysterious four-legged animal we know as the Chupacabra.

This time, it was caught on tape on the city's northwest side.

The animal was also hit by a car going 40 miles-per-hour, said an e-mailer to KSAT 12 News.

It was dazed and confused before it suddently [sic] popped up and darted away.
Video here. And I like this screen cap for the story:

How cute! Someone got that poor animal a blanket to lay on. Of course, some mange medicine would be better for him.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

"Porn addiction may cause brain damage"

Thanks, WOAI. This is just the ammo our City Council prigs need to cut back on sexiness in the Alamo City.
A porn study done in San Antonio found that watching pornography is as addictive as cocaine, meth, and alcohol. It can also lead to social problems in teenagers.
Dr. Donald Hilton, Jr. with the American Board of Neurological Surgery was one of the researchers. He discovered the frontal lobe of the brain shrinks in people who are addicted to porn. Dr. Hilton says that is the same thing that happens in drug addicts and alcoholics.
But what does it do to people who study porn?

By the way, I should note that WOAI does not link to a copy of Hilton's study, so readers cannot easily find the original document to see if this is exactly what the doctor claims. I doubt this claim, and I doubt this study actually exists. I'm not even sure where WOAI got this story. The only other reference to Dr. Hilton and brain-shrinking porn that I could find is on an obscure blog. The entry here is full of odd, strange language that makes little sense, and the closing line suggests that Dr. Hilton is more of an evangelist than a scientist.

In a seminar on the impact of pornography on the brain damage, nerve surgeon's Hospital San Antonio, United States, Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD said that adiksi result in the middle of the front of the brain called the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) physical decline.

Depreciation brain networks that produce dopamine (chemical trigger happy feeling) that, according to him, cause workplace disruption neurotransmiter ie brain chemical substances that act as the sender of the message.


According to Hilton, brain damage due addicted pornography is the most weight, more weight of the cocaine addicted.

However, he said, there is now hope that brain damage can be restored to near normal with the various methods of healing.

Therapy that can be used to restore the addicted brain damage as a result, according to him, among others, the personal motivation to drive the spirit of people to liberate themselves from the addicted, and the creation of a safe environment for the habitue drastically reduce access to pornography.

Besides, he added, with the formation of support groups and counselors therapeutist therapy increased spirituality and its impact is also very meaningful in the recovery effort.

"Research shows religious spirituality of any kind, will speed the recovery process," he said.
Weird stuff.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Threatening a deputy

If you're planning on visiting violence upon a member of the law enforcement community, by all means, please, announce your intentions. It saves everyone a lot of trouble.

A disagreement over an impounded motorcycle has landed a man in custody Friday after witnesses said he planned to retaliate against a Bexar County Sheriff's Deputy, officials said.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Michael Johnson, 28, outside his home in the 12000 block of Netherwood Lane on Friday and charged him with retaliation, a second-degree felony, Sheriff's Department spokesman Ino Badillo said.

Deputies obtained a search warrant for Johnson's home after witnesses reported he was trying to find out the address of a sheriff's deputy involved in a case that impounded Johnson's motorcycle.

Johnson said he wanted to send a package to the deputy's house, and witnesses said Johnson had knowledge of how to make pipe bombs.

(from the Express-News)

Thursday, March 05, 2009


On Tezel Road!

Chuck McCollough of the Express-News reports:

As I drove out of my Northwest Side neighborhood around 4 p.m. Thursday I saw a group of neighbors staring at something a short distance away.

They kept their distance for good reason. It appeared to be a mange-covered coyote, and it was roaming the area just as school children headed home in the Tezel Road area.

Look at the photo and see what you think it is.

Some might think it is a chupacabra! T-shirts, anyone?

Car crashes into house

This time, it wasn't too far from home.
SAN ANTONIO -- A man accidentally drove his SUV into his own home on the Southeast Side Tuesday evening.


The man accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and crashed into his house.
(from WOAI-TV)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Random photo art selection ?

Here is a strange enough story from WOAI-TV:

Bexar County commissioners, San Antonio council members and mayors in surrounding towns all got the same email threatening their lives.

The writer of the email claims to be a contract killer who is getting paid to kill the person receiving it. It says things like "My men are monitoring you..." and "Someone wants your whole family dead."

County Commissioner Kevin Wolff was one of dozens of local leaders who received the email Friday. All of them are board members of the Alamo Area Council of Governments. But Wolff says he doesn't know why they were all targeted by the email.

Bexar County Sheriff's say the email is a phishing scam out of Nigeria.

Odd enough, sure. It was even a story on WOAI last year. But what's stranger is the choice of photo art to illustrate the story. Here is a screen cap:

What? Death threat spam is being sent to local political leaders and the best WOAI could do was post a generic picture of hands on a keyboard with a totally unsuitable caption from another TV station?

It must be sweeps month.

Cleaning the hippo exhibit

Not quite something you would expect to see when looking for hippos in the zoo, but I suppose it needs doing from time to time.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Dead in a parking lot

I would say this counts as an unusual occurrence: the finding of a dead body in a grocery store parking lot.
A 46-year-old man was found dead in the parking lot of an H-E-B supermarket Sunday at 721 Castroville Road on the city's west side.


"Apparently, there was a female who saw another female trying to revive the man. When that female called 911, the female in the truck fled the scene, and we haven't been able to locate her," said Sgt. Joseph Barcena of the San Antonio Police Department.

Barcena said he hopes the woman who left the scene will come forward and shed some light on what happened.
(from KSAT-12)

Drugs may be involved.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Crashing horses

This doesn't happen very often, does it? I'm not much into horse racing, but I don't recall seeing too many stories like this.

It was a tragic scene at Retama Park Saturday night after a few horses collided during a race.

Witnesses say that at least two horses were killed after the crash and two jockeys were injured.

(from KENS-5)