Sunday, October 31, 2010

Car crashes into house

Remember, it's all alleged until there's a conviction.
SAN ANTONIO -- A 24-year-old driver allegedly slammed his car into the front of a home in the 400 block of Clark, on the city's east side, police said.

He then attempted to run from the scene. The crash happened around 2 a.m. Sunday.
(from KENS-5)

"Allegedly slammed". Classic.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Seen in this KENS-5 slideshow about the new B-Cycles.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Asking my opinion, part 3

Here are the final eleven questions on the survey sent to me by some group using Charlie Gonzalez's name:

Do you favor withdrawing troops from Iraq?

Absolutely. When they're done. But I will support whatever troops are serving overseas, and, in all reality, we will probably have some kind of presence in Iraq there for many years to come. Remember Bosnia-Herzegovina? Kosovo? Korea? Italy? Germany? Japan? Still there.

Do you favor toll roads in the San Antonio area?

Here's one question where I wish I had more than just the YES-NO option, because I honestly, truly, and unabashedly don't care about the existence of toll roads. They don't offend me, and they don't make me feel good, either. So I checked both.

Do you favor Off-shore [sic] drilling?

I said YES.

Do you approve of the bailouts of banks and other corporations?

I said NO, and I wish there had been a more forceful way to check that "NO" box.

Do you approve of the stimulus package passed by the U.S. Congress?

I said NO, and I wish there had been a more forceful way to check that "NO" box.

Do you favor the legalization of marijuana?

Here's another one where I wish I had another option. I don't think legalizing pot would be necessarily a bad thing, but there should be some reasonable regulations. I ultimately checked the "YES" box, but it wasn't a strong "yes."

Do you favor the legalization of cocaine?

Again, I feel somewhat the same as the answer I gave above, but I'm a bit more wary of cocaine than I am of pot. I eventually checked NO.

Do you approve of President Obama's health care program?

I said NO.

Do you favor cap and trade?

I said NO.

Do you favor the mosque being built near the trade center [sic]?

I said NO.

Do you approve of Arizona's Immigration [sic] law?

I said YES. And I approve of our federal immigration laws, which it is based on. I just wished our federal government enforced those laws enough so that states like Arizona didn't feel like they had to pass a similar law just to protect their own border.

Well, that's it. I hope somebody uses my answers for some benefit. I don't hold out any hope that Charlie Gonzalez will actually see them, but perhaps someone influential to him will, and perhaps my responses will at least give them something to think about.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Yuchnitz Charged With Solicitation To Commit Capital Murder"

Say it ain't so!
Mike Yuchnitz, the owner and pitch man for My Econo $39.95 Optical was arrested Saturday night and charged with solicitation to commit capital murder.

San Antonio Police Department officials said Yuchnitz attempted to pay someone a $5,000 down payment to hire another person to kill his wife.

If you've lived -- and watched TV -- in the San Antonio area for the past couple of decades, you've probably seen Mike Yuchnitz. Remember him? He was the guy who started his eyeglasses business and then began a series of constant advertisements featuring himself. At first, Yuchnitz was kind of fat, and he wore a white lab coat in his ads as he extolled the virtues of cheap spectacles. He seemed like an honest-to-goodness optician, and he always made sure to include "Retired USAF" on his titles bars in the commercials.

And then later he dropped some pounds, and he took to wearing colorful Nehru jackets and fedoras. But his eyeglasses were still $39.95, and he still promoted them eagerly on television. Eventually his son opened up some tattoo parlors, and there were even some locations in town that combined the My Econo $39.95 Optical with the tattoo shop under one roof. It was a unique and thoroughly strange partnership, but it was one that seemed to work for the Yuchnitzes.

It doesn't seem to be working so well now, though.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Asking my opinion, part 2

Here are the next ten questions on the survey sent to me by some group using Charlie Gonzalez's name:

Do you approve of English as the principal language for the U.S.?

Doesn't matter what I think, it already is the principal language of this nation. English is not the official language of the United States -- which I think is what the writer of this survey was trying to suggest -- but it is the chief and foremost (hence, principal) language in the land. And, I just happen to like it as well. So, YES, I do approve of English. In general.

Do you approve of Texans maintaining their right to select judges by a direct vote of the people rather than change to an appointment process created by the Legislature?

I said YES. The list of judge races on the ballot may be long and tedious to go through, but it's not a burden. And I don't like the idea of taking away any direct vote of the people already in place to simply turn it over to the politicians to let them decide what's best. They're not really smarter than us, you know.

Should the people have the right to enact laws themselves through the process of initiative and referendum. [sic]

I said YES. Many other states do it, and, like I said above, the representatives in Austin are not, as a class, smarter than the people that put them there.

Do you favor penalties for people who cheat on welfare?

I said YES. Nothing exorbitant, mind you, but I don't see anything wrong with fines for misconduct, especially when it involves tax dollars.

Do you favor Abortion [sic]?

I said NO. It may be necessary in some cases, but I certainly don't favor the procedure.

Do you favor a Federal Sales Tax [sic] rather than Federal Income Tax [sic]?

I said YES. Rather than, though. Not in addition to.

Would you vote for a candidate who is supported by the trial lawyers association?

I said NO. That's all.

Should the inheritance or "death tax" be abolished?

I said YES. Fewer taxes are better than more taxes.

Would you support efforts to stop illegal immigration?

I said YES. Legal immigration is fine with me. Illegal immigration isn't. Enforce the laws.

Should the procedure known as partial birth abortion be banned?

It already is. And, yes, it should.

More to come.

Part 1 to this survey is here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Asking my opinion, part 1

Charlie Gonzalez -- or at least some group using his name -- asked my opinion on several items related to the election. It came in the form of a large card with several hypothetical and real races ranging from president to county court at law judge along with thirty or so questions about whether I approve or disapprove of several hot-button issues, and topping them all was the phrase, "If you were to vote today -- how would you vote for the following?"

Now, Gonzalez is my representative, and I'm not particularly fond of him. But it's not often that a political entity asks my opinion in such a way that I think they might actually pay attention to it. The card was postage-paid, and it urged me to remain anonymous in my answers, so I think it was a legitimate survey with a more-than-decent chance of getting its results counted. Whether or not Gonzalez actually sees the results may be another concern, but I think someone will be paying attention to my answers.

So I answered it, and sent it back.

I won't get into all of the actual who-would-I-vote-for scenarios (although my favorite was a hypothetical four-way race for president that featured Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee), but I think I would like to talk a little about the approval questions. As I said, there were about thirty, so I won't address them all in this one post, but here are the first eleven:

Do you approve of President Obama's performance as President?

I said NO. I'm not a Republican or a Democrat, but I can't stand it when a government gets spend-happy. I wasn't happy when George W. Bush started the whole bailout wagon train just before he left office, and I absolutely hate how Barack Obama has taken the reins and steered that train into an orgy of stimulus spending.

Do you approve of the performance of the U.S. Congress?

Does anybody? I said NO.

Do you approve of Senator John Cornyn's performance as U.S. Senator?

I said YES. I don't know Cornyn that well, but I can't remember anything he's done that's turned me off to him.

Do you approve of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson's [sic] performance as U.S. Senator?

I said YES, but just barely. Her Senate tenure is getting close to twenty years, which I think is a bit long in any one office. It might be time for her to go.

Do you approve of Governor Rick Perry's performance as Governor?

I said NO. I don't have anything against Perry, but I've never been completely impressed by him (except for that time he took out that coyote!). Meh.

Do you approve of Susan Reed's performance as District Attorney?

I said YES, but only because there was not an option for I'm-kind-of-in-the-middle-but-I'm-sort-of-leaning-one-way-more-than-the-other.

Do you approve of Amadeo Ortiz's performance as Sheriff?

Who? Seriously, I don't think I've heard anything significant from this guy since he took office. I said NO because I have nothing to judge approval on.

Do you approve of Julian Castro's performance as Mayor?

I said NO. Castro and his brother are career politicians, raised to be that way by their mother. The longer politicians are in office, the more I am suspicious of them, and these twins have been groomed for office since they were kids. Julián would have to really impress me with something to think otherwise.

Do you approve of Nelson Wolff's performance as County Judge?

I said NO. See explanation immediately above.

Do you approve of the performance of our City Government?

Hahahaha! Prigs in council? NO.

Do you approve of the performance of our County Government?

I said NO.

More next time.

Finding any excuse not to vote

Early voting in Texas makes it incredibly easy to actually vote! So it must take a special kind of effort to find some way to hinder yourself from, you know, voting.

Sabra found just such an effort.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Poo-power: SAWS cashes in on your gas"

Some stories write themselves.

SAN ANTONIO – When most people flush their toilet, that is the last time they ever want to see what they just flushed down the commode.

However, a new process at the San Antonio Water System’s Dos Rios Water Recycling Facility is turning that waste into power that could then be sold back to homeowners.

Partnering with energy company Ameresco, SAWS unveiled a new process Tuesday what will capture the methane gas released by the waste.


For SAWS, the partnership with Ameresco allowed for the gas plant to be constructed at a minimal cost to the utility, and now that the plant is operational, SAWS is scheduled to receive $200,000 a year for the rights to the gas from the solid waste. SAWS estimates 900,000 cubic feet of gas will be created every year from San Antonio’s waste.

(from KENS-5)

That's a lot of stink.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Raising Cain

Ever wonder why people turn out bad? It could be because they have parents like this.
San Antonio police said a man beat his 12-year-old son with a belt, then forced him to fight his younger brother.

According to the arrest affidavit, Robert Martinez, 31, is charged with two counts of injury to a child.

Police said the boy told them that Martinez hit him with a belt, causing various injuries, including bruises and cuts to their arms and back.

The affidavit said the boy also said Martinez forced him into a fight with his younger brother, forcing them to hurt each other.

Police said Martinez admitted to detectives that he had hit the boy with a belt and said he made the children fight to "toughen them up."
(from KSAT-12)

I understand not wanting to coddle your kids, but teaching them to be brawlers by the time they hit middle school might just restrict their options later in life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stripping in shorts and bikini tops

That's what your strippers will be doing, if you decide to open up your strip-club in the wrong place. And if one San Antonio City Councilman has his way.
[District 6 Councilman Ray] Lopez said there are too many loopholes in the current laws and they need to be closed. His biggest concern is that adult businesses may open inside the zoning boundaries of schools and churches.

"We cannot allow ordinances to allow that to happen, even if they are just loopholes," said Lopez.

He said the main problem is that businesses will open claiming they are not sexually-oriented because their performers are covered using pasties.

"Our position is: That still constitutes as nude, " Lopez said.

According to Lopez, that fact puts them in violation. In order to cover the loophole, Lopez said he wants performers to be even more covered.

"What the new ordinance is basically requiring is for the (performers) to wear bikini tops," Lopez said. He added that the performers will also be required to wear something more like shorts.
(from KSAT-12)

Girls in shorts with bikini tops. Sounds sexy, but it's not exactly what you'd expect from any self-respecting gentlemen's club. But, hey, that only happens if you open your club in the wrong zone, Lopez says. You'll be fine if you open your business in the right area, so don't worry.

Until City Council gets around to doing some rezoning, that is.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Confusing the Lone Star flag

Do you think this was caught now only because of the recent publicity surrounding the ordeal of the Chilean miners?
For the past few years, at least, officials in Atascosa County, south of San Antonio, have been sending out absentee ballot packages that include a page with a flag proudly displayed in a wavy motion.

The only trouble is, it's the Chilean flag, not the Texas flag. And it took a Ph.D. candidate to point it out.

Troy Knudson , who is studying in Japan and registered to vote in Atascosa County, was the first to notice the mistake and alert officials.

"Apparently the insert has been used for some time without anyone (voters and staff) noticing," he wrote in an e-mail. "I guess it's funny in some way, but my initial reaction was more disbelief that no one had noticed."
(from the Austin American-Statesman)

Quite possibly, this is an honest mistake. Or, if you're not so charitable, you could disparage the person who designed these ballots for not being Texan enough to know the difference between the flag of the Lone Star State and that of a South American nation. Of course, if you did that, you should also disparage those who've been handling the ballots -- and using them to vote on -- for the same thing. And we don't want to go slinging a lot of blame, do we? Some people might get upset.
Janice Ruple , the elections administrator in Atascosa County, didn't see any humor in the mistake.

"I don't think it's funny," she said. "It's a serious thing."

Ruple blamed the woman who held the job before her for the flag mix-up. The previous elections chief couldn't be reached for comment.

Ruple has been on the job for three years. But she said she had no idea how long the flag of Chile had been there before she took office.
Well, at least a bit more than three years, I think.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Medieval upskirt

Dave catches someone doing something you shouldn't do to a knight of the realm. It's just not chivalrous

Thursday, October 07, 2010

"Nude Dancing Halted At SA Men's Clubs"

You know, there's an easy way around this:
A district judge has issued an injunction restricting nude dancing at two San Antonio gentleman's clubs.

XTC and Paradise, both owned by RCI Entertainment, have been banned from offering nude dancing.

The ruling came after months of litigation between the city and RCI Entertainment.
(from KSAT-12)

Just call it performance art, and you're covered by the First Amendment.

Banning texting

And another pointless law gets passed.
Hoping to cut down on accidents involving distracted drivers, the San Antonio City Council voted unanimously Thursday morning to outlaw texting while driving.

The new city ordinance makes it illegal to use a hand-held electronic device for anything other than making or receiving phone calls.
(from KSAT-12)

How enforceable is this law going to be beyond the laws already in place against distracted driving? All a person has to do when he's texting and notices a cop looking his way is to slap that phone against his ear and say he was just making a phone call. Not texting, just calling.

It's just another layer of bureaucracy.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Voting badly in the golden years

At first I thought this was a little strange, but then I got to thinking some more, and now I wonder just how much the norm this type of behavior is around here.

An arrest affadavit said Mary Ann Comparin used multiple names to double vote in Bexar County from 2006 to 2009.

Comparin is accused of using her deceased sister's identity to vote in the 2008 General Election.

Bexar County election records show Norma K. Collins voted in the November 8 general election in 2008. The charging document said Collins committed suicide in 1963. Authorities say it was actually Comparin who showed up to vote, and she voted as herself, as well.

The warrant said Comparin's criminal history includes illegal use of credit cards and swindling.

(from KENS-5)

Nice old lady. Don't turn your back on her.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Collecting strangeness at the Alamo

They have a lot of weird things at the Alamo, but don't go thinking they'll accept just whatever you feel like donating. Even if they already have a bunch of cringe-worthy dolls.
A coconut from the Battle of San Juan Hill. A Bavarian candy jar. An Apollo 15 moon flag.

Those are things at the Alamo you might never see. The Texas shrine, which began celebrating the 175th anniversary of the war for Texas independence Saturday, has accumulated everything from the precious to the bizarre among its roughly 1,500 artifacts.

Most are listed, with an estimated value, in an inventory with the state comptroller's office. There's “David Crockett's wallet,” $400; “Santa Anna's cot and chest,” $500.

The collection also includes dolls dressed as Crockett and Jim Bowie that “probably were wonderful in the 1960s, but now look kind of creepy,” said Bruce Winders, Alamo historian and curator.


But for decades, collectors, families and veterans of every conflict from the Civil War to War World War I have wanted items kept for posterity at the Alamo, even if they had no historical link to the site.

“People were giving things to the Alamo even before the D[aughters of the] R[epublic of] T[exas] came” in 1905, Winders said.

That's one reason he can't explain why there's a two-handed Chinese fighting sword at the Alamo.


The Alamo collection is good hands today, Winders said. The Alamo, which charges no admission, hired a designer and museum specialists, and ordered display cases from Germany, in 2005 to create a “professional and modern look” in the Long Barrack, he said. Winders hopes to add similar displays in the chapel and sales museum.

“We still have a way to go, but most people who come back to the Alamo comment on the progress they notice, not the problems,” he said.

For now, space at the Alamo is as valuable as some of its relics.

“We no longer accept two-handed Chinese fighting swords,” Winders said.

(from Scott Huddleston of the Express-News)

In other words, keep your artifacts. There's no room at the mission.

Lisa Krantz/Express-News

Skipping school

Caution, or overreaction?

You decide.
SAN ANTONIO -- More than 1,000 students missed school Monday, and though some may be sick, Northside district officials said others may be sick of violence rumors floating around.

In the wake of two suicides, Northside Independent School District officials have beefed up security at Brandeis and O'Connor high schools. They've reversed [sic] to the dial-back system to reassure parents.

A huge upsurge of texts, tweets and updates took place, warning of violence and weapons being brought to the school.

Officials say the rumors are false and will be questioning students who spread them.
(from KENS-5)

Bonus strangeness: An unnecessary bit of journalistic flourish.
The disinformation has school officials questioning students, tracing back their text messages and facebook updates, alerting parents and beefing up security and patrols.

All to crack down on alleged threats… literally carried in the wind.

Nice attempt to use literally in its literal sense instead of the figurative way that it's often used these days, but wireless communications are not carried in the wind. They are carried on radio waves, microwaves, or infrared waves. No air is required.