Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Baby born on a city bus

Stories abound about the odd places where women have given birth, but have you ever heard of a baby being born on a bus?

From KTSA's script:



Now that's going above and beyond the call of duty.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Junk Yard Dog is complete

Bob Wade's sculpture of a dog -- made out of car parts -- is done. Scott Huddleston has the story.

[previous entry here]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Who's bigger than Bigfoot?

In the Texas gubernatorial race, apparently no one.

We'll get back to Bigfoot in a moment. First, let's talk about two columnists.

Ken Rodriguez writes opinion columns for the San Antonio Express-News, our mainstream daily newspaper. Dave Maass writes for the San Antonio Current, our lefty weekly newspaper. And Maass seems to hold Rodriguez in contempt, so much so that he vents in a column about some recent work by Rodriguez. And, if Maass has a point other than he doesn't like Rodriguez, it is lost in his own words.

Now, some background:
The Texas governor's race is about par for the course for politics in the Lone Star State. The current governor, Rick Perry (R), faces opposition from Chris Bell (D), Carole Keeton Strayhorn (I), Kinky Friedman (?), and James Werner (L). So far, Kinky has been getting a lot of press (because he's strange), and Strayhorn has been getting a fair amount herself (primarily because of her opposition to toll roads). Bell, though running on the Democratic ticket, can't seem to turn anyone's head.

Earlier in October, Ken Rodriguez wrote a piece about Bell's lack of name recognition. He began that column talking about "somebody from the Chris Bell campaign freak[ing] over an unscientific MySanAntonio.com poll" (click here to read it all), and he finishes the piece saying, "The race is crazy. So crazy that back in July, a few Bell supporters with busy fingers and time to blow made an all-out attempt to win a local dot-com poll."

Fair enough. Rodriguez is an opinion columnist, and commenting on political antics is to be expected. But Dave Maass (who apparently disagrees strongly with Rodriguez's analogies and comparisons, even when light-hearted) took exception to Rodriguez's characterization of Bell as an unrecognizable candidate. Maas especially found this excerpt to be rage-worthy:

On July 21, the Web site asked readers: Who's your pick for Texas governor?

After two days, Rick Perry had garnered the most votes, Bell the fewest. That should have surprised no one since A) Perry is the Republican incumbent, and B) more people had heard of Bigfoot than Bell, the Democratic candidate.

Maass seemingly found the whole sasquatch comparison to be abominable, because he then devoted an entire column to trying to prove that nobody is bigger than Bigfoot. And, he seems to think that personally asking pollsters a bunch of questions is actually a scientific study.

Three weeks ago, Rodriguez penned a column explaining how politicians react to polls, illustrated by gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell’s spasm at his poor results to the daily’s online poll. The columnist wrote: “That should have surprised no one since ... more people had heard of Bigfoot than Bell.”

Huh? We called him on it.

“It was a one-liner,” Rodriguez said.

“It was a two-liner,” we corrected him.

“It was a joke. It wasn’t anything that was scientifically backed up. As you know, I write opinion. I am a columnist. I couldn’t get away with writing that if I were writing a news story about the gubernatorial race,” he blustered.

“But even as a joke,” we explained, “it doesn’t make sense because you can easily say more people have heard of Bigfoot than Rick Perry.”

And so we set about proving it, meticulously and scientifically, by canvassing the pollsters on our lists about Bigfoot’s name recognition. Here are our results. [emphasis added]

At first, I thought Maass was being humorous himself. But, he told me himself that he thought the Bigfoot comparison was ridiculous and that the Express-News editors should be watching Rodriguez more closely. So, I take him at his word that he thinks Rodriguez is ugly and full of shit. And, I can only wonder what he hopes to accomplish by actually calling pollsters with a question that asks who has more name recognition than a mythical creature.

For the record, here is who Maass contacted with his "meticulous" poll and how they responded to him (according to him):
Gallup - wouldn't comment
SurveyUSA - "I'm trying to take you seriously ..."
Zogby - "Bigfoot wins out over everyone but Superman."
Rasmussen - wouldn't comment
Blum & Welprin - Bigfoot's bigger
Opinion Analysts, Inc. - Bigfoot's bigger than Rick Perry
Baselice & Associates - wouldn't respond

Maass then rounds out his research with a Google search, counting the number of hits generated by "Rick Perry sucks" and "Kinky Friedman blows". And then, somehow, he takes all of his collected data, analyzes it, and comes to the conclusion that Ken Rodriguez "is a tool".


At least, if you can believe him. Maass's piece might be an attempt at humor or parody. But, either way, it is poorly researched and poorly conceived. I'm not sure what he's trying to communicate other than inquiries about Bigfoot, when posed to people who conduct polls, might hint at stupidity in Rodriguez, but I don't think he even accomplished that. He simply showed that pollsters don't like to be bothered with silly questions.

If this is the fare that the Current truly offers as an alternative to the mainstream media, then the publication has slipped into utter vacuity. That's too bad, because they have a great music section.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Man crashes into house

Usually I will point out media reports when a car crashes into a house, mainly because it seems such incidents happen fairly often in this town. And I find that strange.

But, as WOAI reports, this time it was just a person who crashed into a house, with tragic results.
The man laid the motorcycle down on the street and hit a car. He was then thrown from the bike and hit the house, authorities said.
The 26-year-old man was killed in the accident.

UPDATE: The Express-News reports that the man hit a car, not a house.

Monday, October 23, 2006

"2 Men Accuse Deputies Of Forcing Them To Eat Marijuana"

I guess making them flush their pot down the toilet wasn't good enough.

"US bans Vegemite"

Because the stuff contains folate, Vegemite has been banned from the United States. It appears that only breads and cereals -- and not yeast extracts -- are allowed to contain added folate, which is why the Aussie treat is banned from our borders.

But, what's a bit strange is that this piece from The Courier-Mail in Australia somehow found a U.S. businessman that was flummoxed by the ban, and he makes his living in San Antonio:

"I was flabbergasted." Paul Watkins, who owns a store called About Australia in San Antonio, Texas, said he had been forced to stop importing Vegemite six months ago.

"We have completely stopped bringing it in," he said.

About Australia's Web site is here. The only other location for this international store is in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Perhaps that's where Mr. Watkins hails from.

A bit more on this at Overlawyered. At that site, I learned that you truly can buy anything on Ebay.

UPDATE: Ted Frank at Overlawyered thinks this might be an urban legend in development.

UPDATE II: Snopes has debunked the ban. It is an urban legend.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Man Slashed with Machete, Almost Loses Arm"

And, the man's buddy did it.

Richard Villaneda, 40, was cut about three a.m. Sunday at a home on Santa Monica, northwest of downtown, authorities said. Villaneda was been [sic] hanging out with 41-year-old Jerry Garcia. Garcia then pulled the blade and cut Villaneda, police said.

Officers arrested Garcia at his home next door early Sunday. Garcia had been sleeping.

Wait, I thought he was dead.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Public Toilet Collapses under 300-Pound Woman"

Even if you weigh over 300 pounds, you would expect a toilet to hold you up, wouldn't you?

WOAI reports:

A toilet collapsed under a woman in a public restroom. She's blaming the city for it what she considers a humiliating incident. ...

The victim's attorney says the bowl in question literally crumbled beneath his client causing serious injuries and humiliation. That was in January of 2005. ...

"Poor Ms. Dilworth had to crawl to the door, and ask a security guard who was around the corner to page her mom," said Dilworth's attorney, Hugo De Los Santos. "She was seriously hurt. She's been unable to work up until today because of this."

It's a strange story, but be sure to check out the video link for images of an attractive newswoman putting her hands all over a public toilet. That's beyond strange. That's just icky.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Painting some big boots

Hot dog! They're repainting them big boots in front of North Star Mall. Next, maybe they could give Paul Bunyan a shoe shine.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"Alligators Spotted In East Side Neighborhood"

An alligator sighting in East Texas won't raise too many eyebrows, but it will around San Antonio. As such, some East Siders are keeping their eyes on a nearby creek, as KSAT reports.

Neighbors along Rosillo Creek near Rigsby and Loop 410 have seen an alligator and two baby gators in the area lately. They said they don’t want to see the alligators killed, but they don’t want them around. ...

Officials said that if residents see the alligators, not to feed them, get too close to them or swim near them. And especially don’t try to catch one.

Nice bit of advice. Leave the alligator wrestling to the professionals.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Man Discovers Chop Shop In His Garage"

Sometimes, when a man comes home early from a business trip, he finds his wife or girlfriend in the act of cheating on him. For one local man, not only was his woman seeing another man, they were apparently using his property for an illegal business.

From KSAT:

Police said Homer Barrett, 26, arrived early from work, which usually keeps him away from home for weeks or months at a time, to find an unfamiliar pickup truck parked in his driveway, police said.

Suspecting that a burglary was in progress, Barrett called police.

Inside the home, police found Barrett's girlfriend, Gina Beaulieu, 25, and a man, Douglas Ewert, 24.

Police found two stolen vehicles, some motorcycles, including one that was in the process of being stripped for parts, police said.

I bet he broke up with his girlfriend after that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"More than 50 Illegal Immigrants Found in Home"

Wow, first it was 50 cats. Now it's 50 people!

As WOAI reports:

Police were called to the home on Senisa Wednesday after they received a tip about stolen cars, officials said. When they arrived, they saw four people running from the house. They looked inside and found the immigrants — 38 men, 12 women and a teenage girl, authorities said.

“This is a case where we obviously just can't walk away,” Sgt. Gabe Trevino with San Antonio Police said. “We called the federal government to come out here and do their job.”

That's a crowded house.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Shocking the drunks

Electric chairs at a bar. San Antonio Daily Photo has the picture to prove it.

"Russian Roulette Turns Fatal For Teen"

Don't drink and play with guns. And, don't ever play Russian Roulette, even when you haven't been drinking.

From KSAT:

Police said that Juan Garcia, who had been drinking heavily, showed off a partially loaded revolver to several other people inside a home in the 1300 block of Swaying Oak at 2 a.m.

Garcia put the gun to his right temple and fired, but nothing happened, police said.

Witnesses told police that Garcia then put another bullet in the chamber and spun it and fired again, police said. This time, the gun discharged, instantly killing Garcia.

The Deer Hunter is an ugly movie. There's nothing beautiful about it. I wonder how anyone could ever watch that movie and actually think Russian Roulette would be fun.

It's strange, and sad.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The "Grotto" in San Pedro Springs Park

San Pedro Springs Park is the oldest public park in Texas, and the second-oldest in the nation. Established in 1729 by King Philip of Spain, the park has had plenty of time to amass an interesting history, and you can find out more about the park here.

Probably one of the oddest features of San Pedro Springs Park is the "grotto", a strange heap of a building covered in moss and other growth. Here's a picture:

The origins of the grotto are unclear, and the structure is strange enough by itself. But, one day while strolling through the park, I noticed something a little peculiar about the low wall that surrounds the verdant pile. The wall is topped with shallow depressions that are vaguely crescent-shaped, and it took me a while to figure out their purpose, for I believe them to be more than mere decoration.

Take a look at these pictures I took, and see if you can figure out the purpose of the depressions.

Figured them out, yet?

Well, I'll let you know what I think they are, and see if you agree.

They're butt grooves.

Honestly, I think that's what they are. The wall is just the right height to squat down upon, and the depressions nicely conform to one's posterior when seated. Look again:

It's quite odd, don't you think?

Seriously, though, San Pedro Springs Park is one of the gems of San Antonio. You can read more about the place here and here. It's full of history, and it's quite beautiful, too. If you're new to town, I urge you to check it out sometime.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"50 Cats Taken From Local Home"

Wow. Fifty cats in one house.

Investigators loaded up the cats up in cages Tuesday morning from a home on Cartwright Trail in west Bexar County, and said the home had a lot of animal waste inside.

"She cares about animals and she had way too many, and it's just not livable in there", said Det. Jesse Vidal Bexar County Sheriff's Dept.

Phew! What a bad day to be an animal control officer.

"Unbelievable Chain of Events Trigger Chase & Explosion"

A man gets cut. He and his father confront someone at their home. Shooting from the home ensues. Three men from the home bolt in a truck. Father and son follow. Father and son ram the truck. Truck catches fire. Truck explodes. Ammunition in truck goes off. Men in truck exit burning truck. They are on fire. They get taken to Brooke Army Medical Center, an excellent burn facility.

Let's hope they make a full recovery. In the meantime, let's marvel at their adventure.

WOAI has the full story here.