Monday, May 30, 2011

Remnants of the past

It's not that unusual to see some old building in the middle of downtown San Antonio, even one that has no particular historical significance. Though you're sure there is some history attached to the structure, it's obvious that it is not significant enough to warrant an actual restoration or refurbishment of said structure.

But then you look closer, and then you suddenly find yourself wanting to know more of that history. Wanting to know some of it.

Please, just a little bit of history. Or at least a little story.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Memorial Day
San Antonio, Texas

Glad I could help, too, I guess

Nice. Alan at Blogonomicon gets referrals to his blog that come from search strings about the freshness of cheese. What do I get? Hookers.

Let's hope this knowledge seeker from Carlsbad actually reads the link he got referred to, and let's hope he remembers it when he comes to visit San Antonio. Hunting for hookers can be dangerous.

High 5

It's French, but it features someone who hangs out in San Antonio a lot, and it looks a little strange.

We may not be able to watch it in the States, but you can see the trailer here. (Pay attention to Mia's intro; it looks like they may need to update their animation.)

(Hat tip: WOAI-TV)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leaving the children in the car

You know, I remember what it is like to have two small children with you when you're driving around. And I know how frustrating it is to not be able to stop and grab a soda, something for dinner, or the birthday card you forgot to buy earlier in the day without having to haul out a stroller (or a baby carrier) and maneuver that thing through a small store while herding the other, sleepy child with the other hand and still make your purchase without dropping your money on the floor and forgetting your change when you leave. I know. I remember. It kinda sucks.

But never once did I think it would be OK just that one time to leave the sleeping kids in the car while I ran into the store. And here's why:
San Antonio police said a man stole the woman's car with her children, a 9-month-old and a 3-year-old, asleep in the back seat.

Police said the car was stolen around 11 p.m. Wednesday at a convenience store on the 5900 block of Rittiman Road.

Police said the mother had stopped at the store to get a soda when she looked outside and saw that someone had taken off with the vehicle.

The woman screamed for help, but the driver fled. Police issued an Amber Alert for the children, then received an anonymous call saying the children had been abandoned at a Dollar General Store on Walzem Road.

The children were safely returned to their mother around 3 a.m., police said.


And although the children are safe and back with their mother, police told KSAT that the mother could face charges of endangering a child.

"As far as the mother goes in this case, it's not advisable to leave your children unattended in a vehicle, let alone leave the keys in the ignition," said Sgt. Chris Benavides, with the San Antonio Police Department.
(from KSAT-12)

And never once did I think it was OK to leave my kids in the car with the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked! Inconvenience sucks, but sometimes it needs to be borne.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Snake oil -- now in pod form

Hey, look who got KSAT to do their advertising for them.
The device works like a sauna. Light emitting diodes -- or LED lights -- inside the pod raise your core body temperature. Users often use special creams and wear special suits to make it even hotter.

Cyntha Gans, owner of Planet Beach Contempo Spa, said the temperature starts at about 158 degrees and goes to about 180 degrees.

"The SlimLine capsule actually is a machine that tricks your body into thinking that it's working out," she said.


She also said the benefits go beyond weight loss. She said LED lighting helps combat the effects of aging on the skin and also has therapeutic benefits.

"I have some clients over the age of 50 that have osteoarthritis, and I myself had a torn meniscus and started getting into the machine and after two months, I'm back on the roads running again without any kind of surgery or therapy, except for using the Slim Capsule," she said.


Right now, Planet Beach is the only place in town with the SlimLine Capsule. Memberships cost about $80 a month and include use of various spa treatment devices and services.
(from KSAT-12)

Weight problems (with no need to exercise!), wrinkles, arthritis, torn cartilage -- it seems there's nothing this little capsule can't fix! I don't know why I'm not going down to Planet Beach right now to plop down $80 a month for this privilege!

Oh, wait -- there's this: "... the temperature starts at about 158 degrees and goes to about 180 degrees."

Isn't that -- isn't that above the temperature required for dishwasher sanitizing cycles? You know, to kill all the germs?

Hmmm. Maybe I'll save my 80 bucks a month for something else.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Undercover police officer injures her hand during chase"

Slow news day today.
SAN ANTONIO - An undercover officer injured her hand during a police sting. It all happened after a man stole the SAPD bait car on Formosa near Commercial Avenue on the South Side. As the officer ran after the suspect, she cut her hand jumping a fence.

We talked with witnesses who tell us they saw everything.
(from WOAI-TV)

Well, I hope one of those witnesses at least got her some alcohol and a bandage. The other day, I banged my knee on my desk. Hard. And nobody came to help me out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


In small towns surrounding San Antonio!
Drake Gafford found one of the odd dead animals along Highway 181 South.

"I threw him in a sack on the bed of my pickup," he said.

Gafford described the animal as having "red eyes, big old fangs and claws coming out, just a sharp as they could be."

Both carcasses beg the question: Are they the vampire-like monsters with the worldwide following?

Gafford says he is convinced.

"Chupacabra all the way," he said.
(from KENS-5)

Do you, like Drake, believe?

Do you want to believe?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Doubled street

Some time ago, I did a post about the unusual doubling of street names in San Antonio, specifically about how completely different roadways, sometimes in completely different parts of town, share name elements (i.e., Wurzbach Road and Harry Wurzbach Road).

But I forgot to include this one. And it's destined to be a classic.

Yes, you see that correctly. That is Whitby Road intersecting with Whitby Road.

Just try giving directions in that part of town.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Walmart juxtaposition

I did not know there was a market for Cookie Monster and Elmo swimming shorts in adult sizes!

I also did not know it was the same market for beer-themed swimming shorts!

Maybe Katy Perry's brother shops there.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Decapitated birds found in south side neighborhood"

Don't worry. It's not as bad as WOAI wants you to believe.
Just down the street, James Wright tells News 4 WOAI he's found several decapitated birds in his yard for the past few days.

The mystery behind the deaths is ruffling some feathers for nearby neighbors.

"It's strange, but maybe somebody... somebody's doing it," says homeowner Melissa Garza [Breathlessly, I'm sure. --ed.].

The San Antonio Audubon Society says the weather may be to blame.

"Right now with the drought so bad, there's a great competition for food and water and bugs," replies Georgina Schwartz of the Audubon Society. "There aren’t as many bugs, there aren’t as many flowers, so right now its not a good time for birds."

In fact, Schwartz adds that birds can get aggressive if other feathered fowls get in the way of their food.

"Grackles are great for drowning baby birds," Schwartz says. "Screech owls are in the habit of have a lot of competition out there. Sex and violence, you got lots of that in the bird world."
(from WOAI-TV)

Relax, it's only sex and violence in the bird world. Nothing to worry about. It's just nature. Circle of life, and all that.

Someone who should have thought a little more ...

... before hitting that SEND button. A whole freakin' heckuva lot more.
An administrator at St. Philip's College is under investigation based on a professor's complaint that she sent hundreds of sexually explicit and racially offensive emails to a handful of employees over the past six years.

Warren Parker, a radiography instructor, claims his boss, program director Donna Laird, sent at least 400 emails from her work account featuring semi-nude women, animals having sex or masturbating, foul language and jokes stereotyping men, women, rednecks and people of all races.

Parker is speaking out now because he believes his bid for tenure is in jeopardy.

He provided the San Antonio Express-News with a sample of about 100 emails he had saved.

When asked about Parker's complaint regarding the emails, Retha Karnes, a lawyer for the Alamo Colleges, said an investigation into the matter is ongoing. She declined to comment further. Laird did not return a phone call and an email sent to her work account seeking comment.
(from the Express-News)

Warren Parker, the offended one, is a black man.

Donna Laird, the offending one, is a white woman. And she's his boss.

Alamo Colleges is the local taxpayer-funded community college district.

St. Philip's College, one of the Alamo Colleges, is a historically black college. It is on the East Side. The East Side is traditionally black.

This is an example of the things Laird was sending: "The emails include a musical slide show featuring scantily clad vaginas, pictures mocking young blacks dressed up for prom as “ghetto,” a woman simulating oral sex on the stick shift of a car, a young man lighting a bottle rocket stuck in his rectum and a satirical exercise program to hire black men to pose as muggers and chase white women."


Just, wow.

Who in their right mind would ever think such things are OK to send via e-mail on a work computer? Especially one that is owned by a taxpayer-funded district?

Folks, be careful what you forward. And remember, government records are open records, at least in Texas. And what you send today can appear in the news tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Joe Ball, the Butcher of Elmendorf

Delaine Mathieu at WOAI-TV recounts the tale of a killer who lived just south of San Antonio early in the 20th Century. And, yes, it is a little strange.
Joe[ Ball]'s story goes like this -- Back in the mid 1930's, after prohibition ended, Joe opened a bar called "The Sociable Inn" on Farm to Market Road 327 in Elmendorf, about 17 miles south of San Antonio. Back behind the bar, Joe kept a pond full of gators and fed them live animals to entertain the crowds. But then, women began to disappear. First, it was his long time girlfriend Minnie Gotthardt. Then, another girlfriend and barmaid at the inn, Hazel Brown.

On September 24th, 1938, when two Texas rangers [sic] went to the bar to question Joe, he put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger. It was the day Joe Ball's life ended, and the day the legend of Joe Ball began.
The legend? That he fed parts of his victims to his alligators. And the really strange part? After Ball died, his alligators were donated to the San Antonio Zoo.

I bet the zookeepers were real careful around them.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Strange in Olmos Basin

Do you ever wonder why paranormal teams never actually find any ghosts?
SAN ANTONIO -- Olmos Basin Park hosts thousands of people on its various athletic fields, but according to many [How many? --ed.], there could be something more than just sports going on in the woods just behind the Olmos Dam. [Hanky-panky, maybe? --ed.]

There have long been stories, many turning into urban legends [how many, and where can I read them? --ed.], about UFO sightings and paranormal activity at the site. Its history of ancient Indian activity has led universities to archaeological digs there.

There is a team of investigators called Paranormal After Dark who recently set out to see if the legends were true, trying to find any sign of paranormal activity.

Their shiny black bus serves as a command center and the investigators use an array of various electronic devices. The team is made up of 13 members: teachers [!], police officers [Why? --ed.], firefighters [Why, why? --ed.] and a psychic [Just one? --ed.].


After their investigations, the team collects data to decide if a return trip is warranted.
(from KSAT-12)

Only if they like the scenery and the sports. Other than that, almost anywhere else should be more entertaining. At least Fiesta Texas has an actual Poltergeist.

Strange in La Coste

Dave, who recently moved out into the hinterlands, came across a house in La Coste that doesn't have to worry about stray automobiles destroying its precious fence.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Not strange in San Antonio

In fact, it's pretty cool, and something the Alamo City can be proud of.
SAN ANTONIO -- The mission to take out Osama bin Laden took months to plan, and we've learned the mastermind behind it all is from San Antonio.

Vice Admiral Bill McRaven, a Roosevelt High School grad, is being credited with planning the U.S. strike that took down the world's top terrorist. He's done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he has written a book on special-ops tactics. Admiral Bill McRaven is the head of the Pentagon's joint special operations command.

The story of the three-star officer begins decades earlier when his father, who flew missions over the English Channel during WW II, got stationed at Lackland Air Force Base.

McRaven and his two sisters grew up in San Antonio. After he graduated from Roosevelt, a track scholarship took him to the University of Texas.

A naval career would follow, eventually leading him to one of the top spots in the Navy.
(from KENS-5)

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Picking your candidate

Early voting begins tomorrow, and there are rafts of candidates out there running for many spots on San Antonio City Council.

Choose carefully, people.