Monthly Archives: April 2012

Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag

Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag

When I think of ’60s protest songs, I think of this one, by Country Joe & the Fish. Not some of the sappier, more soulful songs. But this anthem to the absurdity of the moment. To be young and draftable in the mid-to-late 1960s was to live with the gamble that, one day, against your better judgment, you’d be wearing green and carry a rifle in the jungle. It was a time of serious debate, sober analysis and much study about why we were in Vietnam.  Not that it  mattered. So, sing along with Joe:

‘And it’s one, two, three, what are we fightin’ for?

Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn

Next stop is Vietnam

And it’s five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates

Ain’t no use to wonder why, whoopee we’re all gonna die.”

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April 27, 2012 · 9:51 pm

The Problem With Journalism

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Advisory: Do Not Urinate On the Alamo. It Really Irritates People

Man is accused after Alamo defiled

By Eva Ruth Moravec
Updated 07:09 a.m., Monday, April 16, 2012


An El Paso man was released from jail Sunday morning after being arrested by security guards the previous night and accused of urinating on the Alamo.

Daniel Athens, 21, was intoxicated when he was detained in front of the Alamo around 9:25 p.m., a member of the Alamo Rangers said.

Athens was arrested on two Class C misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and urinating in public. A Class C misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $500.

Melinda Navarro, the Alamo Committee chairwoman with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, said Athens walked around the olive tree in front of the shrine, then ducked under a chain and urinated on the nearly 300-year-old limestone façade.

One of three rangers guarding the shrine Saturday night saw Athens, Navarro said.

There were numerous visitors also on the grounds at the time.

“The ranger started running toward him, but the guy had already done his thing,” she said, adding that the ranger tackled Athens. “So he took him inside the gates and waited for the San Antonio Police Department.”

Athens was released from jail around 8 a.m. after sobering up, Bexar County officials said.

He was ordered to appear in municipal court May 14.

Navarro said an Alamo curator and a preservationist will take samples from the façade to determine how the limestone might be cleaned.

Their conclusions will also be sent to the Bexar County district attorney’s office, which could charge Athens with a state jail felony of damaging a public monument. That type of felony is punishable by up to two years incarceration and a $10,000 fine.

“This is such a shame, and so disrespectful,” Navarro said. “You’re desecrating the Shrine of Texas Liberty. It stood there for freedom, and to have someone deface it like this is just awful.”

The last arrest for urinating at the Alamo was in January 2009, according to published reports.

The act was made famous by heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who relieved himself on the nearby Alamo Cenotaph in 1982 and then boasted about it during a concert at the HemisFair Arena. The City Council soon barred Osbourne from performing at any city-owned facilities.

He returned to San Antonio 10 years later to perform in a county-owned facility and gave the DRT a $10,000 donation.

A phone call and email to the Texas General Land Office, which has assumed custodianship of 4.2-acre Alamo complex, were not immediately returned Sunday.

Twitter: @EvaRuth

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Pogo Meets Daddy Romney

Like father, like son.

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I’ve Gone Global

To my new readers in Egypt & Colombia – both of them – I extend a big, sloppy hug of welcome. I’m not not sure how cats, Texas politics, Civil War battlefields and my missing mustache translate. I mean, really, I don’t understand. Feel free to say, “Hi” and explain.

OK, world, I’m ready for you.



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You Say You Want A Revolution…

Don’t give up. Don’t forget to vote (It’s gonna be all right.)

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Family Fun Night: O’Malley the Cat Is Easily Bored

ImageIt was his idea to wach TV.

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Reflections on Texas Politics

Considering that the Texas Legislature has cut $5.4 billion from Texas schools, cut state services, pushed through Voter ID and now forces women through an invasive and unnecessary medical procedure, not to mention we’ve had Rick Perry as governor for 10 years, I’d say Pogo got it about right.

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Waiting for Easter Bunny

Waiting for Easter Bunny

He likes bunnies. Finds them tasty.

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April 7, 2012 · 7:40 pm

Further Adventures in Journalism: Junipero & Me

Early in my journalism career, I did not specialize. I was part of that species known as a general assignments reporter. A story idea came into the newsroom – press release, public agenda, the publisher’s wife – and an editor farmed it out to one of us to craft into deathless prose. Which would then be hacked into shape by editors to fit the space available.  I did my share of Rotary luncheons, ribbon-cuttings, Chamber luncheons, and birthday fetes for withered old souls who had turned 100 years of age. It was a living.

One Saturday morning, I rolled in hungover and in desperate need of coffee. The weekend city editor,  a genuinely nice guy named Jim, walked over, tossed an assignment card attached to a press release. “We need a news feature out of this,” he said.

This, according to the release, was a meeting of the Sierra Club. Well, it was typed as Serra Club, but Jim has inked in Sierra. Editors do things like that.

“See if you can get some environmental angle or tree-hugger quotes or something,” Jim added helpfully. “About 12 inches.” The meeting started in less than a half hour. Off I went.

I drove to the West Side Catholic church listed in the release, walked into the rectory and was directed to a small room where the meeting was under way. There were four elderly Latino men sitting around a table, and a young priest sitting nearby. They all turned to stare in puzzlement as I walked in, pen and pad ready to take down the details. One man, thin and neat with the tidiest mustache I had ever seen, was in the midst of his presentation. He cleared his throat and asked solemnly, “Has anyone come across any accounts of miracles?”

OK, I was lost. But the conversation continued as the four men bandied about possibilities of a healing or two in California or maybe something odd happening with a cancer patient in Houston. One of the men took copious  notes. I looked at the priest. He looked back and smiled pleasantly.

The discussion of miracles ended and the four then launched into the possibilities of a fund-raiser, which degenerated into a fierce debate over a Fiesta-like carnival or a spaghetti supper. Finally, they stopped. The man with the tidy mustache turned toward me and asked, “Can we help you?”

Well, I said, I’m with the Express-News and just wanted some details on what the local Sierra Club was planning.

The four stared, shaking  their heads, lips pressed tight together. One muttered something under his breath. The priest finally spoke. “This isn’t the Sierra Club,” he said. “It’s the Serra Club.”

Sweet Jesus, I thought, what in the hell is the Serra Club? I said, “Huh?”

The priest explained that this was an organization dedicated to seeking sainthood for Father Junipero Serra. Oh, crap, I thought. “Father who?” I asked.

It appeared to be the right question. The four club members, amazed at my ignorance and intellectual sloth, regaled me with tales of Father Serra, a Franciscan friar who founded a boatload of missions in Spanish California in the late 1700s and died there. Over the years, his fans had sought evidence for his sainthood. I soon knew more about Father Serra and the intricacies and tricky shoals of sainthood in the Catholic Church than I ever desired. By the end of the hour, we all parted with smiles and thank yous and I drove downtown  with thoughts of how satisfying it would be to strangle Jim.

As I walked into the newsroom, Jim looked up from his terminal and asked, “What ya got?”

I allowed that I had crap since he had sent me to a Catholic men’s sainthood rally. “Do you really want a goddamn feature on Sainthood for Junipero?” I asked.

Jim chortled, then said, “Naw. Give me 10 inches on the club meeting.” He then turned back to his editing.

Thus, I learned that everything – and everyone – has a story and that journalism, if there is sufficient space and a slow news day, will find room for it. I also learned that editors are crazy. It is a lesson that remained true forever.

UPDATE: My sole experience with the Serra Club was sometime in the mid-1970s. On September 25, 1988, Father Serra hit the next step toward sainthood when he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Hang in there, Junipero.

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