Monday, May 31, 2010

Concert Tomorrow

I'm outdoing myself this week by taking my wife out on the town.  It'll be a romantic night out as we enjoy the likes of Korn!  The Laredo Energy Arena is hosting the event and it's sponsored in part by Jagermeister.

I don't know if the locals will get hopped up on the stuff and raise a ruckus.  I just hope everyone enjoys themselves and rocks this mutha out.

Park Vandals


Recently the LMT, El Manana, The Laredo Sun, KLDO, and KGNS have all talked about vandalism at our local parks.

Repairs total in the thousands of dollars.  It's a never-ending battle trying to stay ahead of those who do harm to public property.  

Unfortunately at Slaughter Park (near my house) it's no different.
My son and I have taken to riding our bikes at the park and today we noticed broken cinder blocks on the walkway that encircles the area.  The building materials are being used to build bathroom facilities.

And on the other side of the park, a piece of fence has been taken out.  The problem with the soccer field area is that only two entrances exist and they are spaced widely apart.  To save some legwork, somebody took the liberty of making their own entry/exit. 

This park is widely used by soccer, and little league, enthusiasts.  I hope this is the worst of the damage.

Clint Eastwood turns 80!


Wow! Happy Birthday Clint Eastwood, a name I keep having trouble pronouncing (It always seems to come out as Cleent).

Throughout this Memorial Day there has been a Clint movie marathon of his oldies but goodies on TurnerClassicMovies. Later tonight, TCM will have a special on Clint called "The Eastwood Factor" which airs at 9:30pm.

Clint has made so many movies in his career and many have become classics, not to mention all the music he has composed for the films, which is outstanding and very moving.

I'm a big fan of his more recent works from the late 90's to now: Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, A Perfect World, Mystic River, and every girl's favorite tear-jerker/love story The Bridges of Madison County.
Photo courtesy of TCM.

Memorial Day In Laredo

I hadn't posted anything regarding Memorial Day simply because I didn't plan anything in advance (story of my life).  And I thought that posting something on this little blog would seem a bit disingenuous.  It would be like putting a yellow ribbon decal on my car and convincing myself that I had done my parts for the troops.

The contributions of those who have served in the military are not lost on me.  Like most people, I can personalize the day's significance.  I can draw from the experience of several family members who have sacrificed greatly for their country.  My father-in-law served in Korea; my father served in Vietnam; my brother-in-law served in the first Gulf War and recently did a stint in Afghanistan; and lastly, my cousin's son has been in Afghanistan for about three weeks. 

I'm proud of these men for their efforts.  But any attempt to recognize their struggles, I think, would not carry the weight that these brave men deserve.  The proper tribute would not resonate greatly from the comfort of my chair.

I'll leave the photo ops for the politicians.  For those who are close to me, I'll try to honor their service the best I can.

Webb County Golf Course

Now that the idea of building a race track at the current site of the Webb County Golf Course is off the table due to legal reasons, the county can now focus on renovating the grounds.  Two surveys also gave the commissioners court some direction as to what the people really wanted, and that was to fix up the existing golf course, instead of buidling a new one.  Why they didn't take these (surveys) into consideration before waiting for legal to advise them is unknown. 

At any rate, it looks like the golf course is staying and it's going to get a facelift.  I've never played a round of golf in my life but this place has been around forever.  It holds a lot of sentimental value for a lot of people.  For me, it's just this place we used to drive next to on our way to the lake.

If I remember correctly, the old lake road was this bumpy two-way strip that had the airport's chain link fence on one side and a low wood fence on the other.  You had contrasting worlds separated by a road.  My eyes usually settled on the grassy location with the occasional tree that acted as a road marker.  As a kid I figured that this was where grown-ups hung out for recreation.  If I was going to have any part of it, it was only going to be the view. 

The old lake road started across the street from the Paul Young dealership on Saunders.  I don't know if most of the road still exists since the public can now access Lake Casa Blanca through the loop.  I would like to take a stroll down memory lane (no pun intended), if at all possible.  If I took a trip on it, my mind could possibly conjure up images from the past. 

So I guess in a way, I'm glad the old golf course is staying.  It's existence gives me some reference to my younger days.  But now the hard part comes.  Webb County officials have the task of dealing with this troublesome property.  Money, of course, is going to be an issue.  But if done right, it can be an asset to the county and the community.  At least, that's what the developers are saying.

Commissioner Jerry Garza voiced his concern at last week's meeting:
I don't want this to be a money pit -- that we do $700,000 for something that we're going to take a huge gamble on.

 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

DJ Air Drumming

Some say wedding DJs have no talent. Not true. Here a wedding DJ adds performance art to a LaSanbe favorite. (not so) Late drummer Phil Collins would be so proud of what became of his art.

J.C. Martin Talks Local Politics

One man.  One way. 

Patron politics would be the order of the day.  That is until it all came crashing down, and Bill Moyers was there to tell it.

Spillover? Really?

Boaters have been robbed on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake near Zapata, TX.  The Zapata County sheriff calls it spillover, but how can it be when it's happening on the Mexican side?

Hahaha

This cartoon appeared in today's op/ed page.  Like it.  In the top frame, the mayor sorta looks like Beldar of The Coneheads.

Primo illustration, btw.

Waste Collection Event This Saturday

The City of Laredo is hosting a trash collection event at the Park & Ride facility on 1800 E. Hillside on June 5, 2010.  You can call 794-1650 for details. 

You can turn in old tires (will be paid .50 each, max of 8 tires) or household chemicals to be disposed of properly by the city.

That's good.  But I can't stand the mascots they use in commercials and ads.  The cutout that's pictured here appears in the latest issue of LareDOS.

The cowgirl has this dainty look to her and I wouldn't be surprised if the artist included a tramp stamp on her lower back.  Of course, all girls around here look like that, or perhaps the artist wishes they would.

And then there's the guy.  Burt Reynolds anyone?  This is the idea of a local man:  masculine, and mustached, but meticulous enough to stay in the know by reading the newspaper.

Couldn't we just be given puppets instead? 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Metal Works

I spotted this truck in the Heights area.

Why this person replaced the truck's tailgate is not important.  He/she is obviously a fan of The Green Lantern and that's alright in my book.

Sanchos

Bordertown Blues writes about the new sex sting that took place on San Bernardo Ave.
the native "West Side" was the focal point of the originally entitled "Operation John."
Ten men were taken to the Webb County Jail for soliciting sex.

That's good and all, but could law enforcement come up with a better name for the job they're doing?  As you can see above, Bordertown Blues makes a crack about the sting's title.  I think they could've chosen a better name like, "Operation Mustache," or "Operation Burt Reynolds," because almost all the men have some type of facial hair thing going on.

My better half suggested using "Operation Pancho Villa," but I don't want to turn this  post into one that plays on stereotypes.  Besides, Burt Reynolds played the character, "The Bandit," in a couple of movies of my youth so I'd rather much prefer that.

But I'm not married to those titles.  The sting could be called "Operation-I-don't-read-the-paper-or-watch-the-news-enough-to-know-that-people-are-busted-for-hiring-hookers-on-San-Bernardo."

It's amazing.  Apparently men here are so sex-deprived that they have to risk being arrested by the fuzz.  It's sad, but for media outlets and bloggers alike, this stuff is gold.  No, it's a shame.  No really, it's awesome to cover this.  No....... 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pop Culture Casualty

(A friend once referred to me as a pop culture casualty.  I thought this was the appropriate time to use that phrase.)

One thing that I've become annoyed with lately is animated characters being featured in dance sequences in movies.  We've had penguins dancing in Happy Feet; a lion dancing in Madagascar; squirrels dancing in The Chipmunks; and the most annoying and unnatural of all, dogs dancing in the new movie, Marmaduke

Now, the gopher in Caddyshack danced a little at the end of the movie to Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright," but that was OK.  That little furry thing shook his booty for all of ten seconds; it could hardly qualify as bothersome.

Don't get me wrong.  I like Disney flicks.  And I don't mind animals having dialogues with humans in movies (think Underdog).  I just don't see why they have to have a choreographed scene take up part of the movie.

Commercials are different.  We get talking animals but the spots are so short that they don't lend themselves to animal inline dancing.  But then I saw this new Kia commercial where we see mice grooving along to a song.  They dance a little but for some reason I find the ad mesmerizing.  I can't explain it.  Perhaps it's the song's funky beat.  Or perhaps it could be that the mice look more like mascots than anything.  Whatever the reason, I can't get enough of this Kia commercial.  Check it out. 



It's weird, but this ad also reminds me of the old movie, The Food of the Gods.  Creepy.

Perception

What exactly do people think about Laredo?
I telephoned Mayor Raul Salinas of Laredo, Texas to ask how citizens there were surviving.

Stands

I spotted this produce display table on the city's west side.  I'm going to guess that these residents sell fruits and vegetables in their spare time.

The City of Laredo wants to start a farmers market somewhere in the central part of town, but participants are hard to come by.

I'm starting to think that people want to do their own thing on their own time. 
Que Fregados and Bordertown Blues have certainly mentioned this in recent posts.

LaSanbe Talks With Dr. James A. Garza

Dr. James A. Garza discusses his book, The Imagined Underworld: Sex, Crime, and Vice in Porfirian Mexico City, with LaSanbe.

The book details how the government and the media portrayed and treated crimes in late 19th Century Mexico City.

The people living in the rural areas were considered dangerous, and naturally corrupt.  Those living in the urban areas were educated, moral, and not to be criticized if they partook in deviant activity.

Sit back and enjoy our latest podcast with Dr. James A. Garza.
        

                       
   
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One topic that I didn't include in the podcast was that of the pulquerias.  These basically were dives where pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant, was served.  Common in the outskirts of Mexico City, these joints had a particular aroma to them, probably from the pulque itself;  it was made with "adulterated," or untreated, water.  Yuk!  People usually suffered from intestinal maladies after drinking this stuff.
But Dr. Garza adds that these establishments displayed wonderful works of art -- works that probably have been lost through time. 



Dr. James A. Garza was born and raised in Laredo, TX and graduated from Nixon High School.  He earned his PhD from TCU and is currently a professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Need Top Kill Of Our Own

One thing I like to do in my yard is use old leaves, grass clippings, branches and other assorted garden refuse to make my own compost.  Part of the reason is that I don't want all this organic matter to end up at the landfill.  It can be put to good use in any household landscape.

A couple of my neighbors are really good about supplying me with this stuff (pictured).  I mix up the different plant materials and spread 'em around my plants, especially the younger ones.  This homemade groundcover provides shelter for the roots and locks in the moisture that I provide with infrequent waterings. 

The soil is also conditioned with this improvised process.  With time, the soil is more ready to absorb water rather than having it run off and contribute to erosion.  As it is, I'm really stingy with the water I use outside.  The compost helps me avoid having to water all the time.  So when I saw the story about this little water spill going on somewhere in central Laredo, I almost shed a tear.
the draining won't stop anytime soon.
City crews are busy repairing some old water pipes.  As a result, they have to keep a hydrant open and let the water flow into a nearby drain.  Wait, wait.  I can feel the tear coming on again.

If this purge continues for several more weeks, I'm going to have to spring into action.  What I'll do is get my hands on as many water jugs or gallons as I can and hop on over to the "leak" site to recover some of the water.  I'll then transport it to my pad and use the wet stuff (hate that term) to water my plants.

Seriously, this water can't go to waste.  Summer is upon us and the days are only going to get hotter.  We've been cruising along in the mid 90s so far.  Watering right now hasn't gotten as intense as it gets in July and August, but some people have recently added plants and grass to their properties and they need water.  We have to make smart use of every little drop.

So if anybody has a plastic container they can do without, let me have it.  I'm on a mission.  (don't say it)  The water will be mine!!! 

Wolverines!!!

Spot The Difference



This is a picture of a sheriff's department truck that I posted nearly two years ago.  A squad car is parked close behind.  I took the pic because there were several units in the HEB parking lot that day.  It struck me as odd.  Now here's a picture of a similar truck featured in the LMT today.



Fake deputy bust

Imposter uses truck, uniform to attempt smuggling
By César G. Rodriguez
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Thursday, May 27, 2010 2:19 AM CDT
U.S. Border Patrol Laredo Sector agents busted a smuggling attempt of 1,000 pounds of pot Wednesday when officials spotted a fake Webb County Sheriff’s Department pickup, manned by a fake deputy.

This imposter was spotted by Border Patrol agents working near Freer, TX.  They quickly noticed that the person who was driving the truck was wearing a fake uniform.  And the truck wasn't fitted with a laptop or radio. 

Props to the BP agents.  You have to wake up pretty early to get one past them.  Fake decals and a round deputy's badge are not going to cut it.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

La Banda Del Animo

Long before I became a member of the Martin High School Band (Summer of '84), a tradition was already in place for the "it" club at Laredo's  largest high school.

The band was known for its rousing performances and its inimitable school spirit.  Under the direction of Mr. Roberto Botello, the group garnered respect and praise.

One thing that band members from an earlier era fondly recall is the chance to perform in front of a big crowd at Texas Stadium.  It was a regular occurrence for some.  I, unfortunately, never got to experience that.  The trip to Dallas was not something that was continued in the late 80s.  Nevertheless, we heard the stories from upper classmen.

I enjoyed moments of success with the Martin Band.  And while the memories might not match those of past eras, the experience is one that I will cherish forever and never forget.

 

Biking

San Antonio is looking to improve its roadways to accommodate bicyclists.
San Antonio and Bexar County could add 350 miles of bike lanes just by restriping pavement, without impeding traffic or widening roads.
Kudos to them.  Although, I don't know that I would feel all that safe with just having streets restriped.  If bike lanes were going to be added here, I would want a considerable amount of space dedicated to bikes.

Locally, I like to use the bike trails that the City of Laredo has provided for us.  People refer to them as sidewalks.  And I do that only because of the safety factor.  I have more peace of mind when I'm riding on a separate plane from that of car traffic.  But as Que Fregados has documented, sidewalks can present their own set of limitations.

I've used the sidewalk along Chihuahua street to access the downtown area.  Apart from a bus bench, or light poles, or the occassional detour sign blocking the sidewalk, it's a pretty easy and safe way to get from one point to the other.  Making these sites more wheelchair-accessible would be of great benefit.  On a bike, you can easily jump the curb.  But that depends greatly with how agile you are with your ride.

This video makes the case for having bike lanes separated from roadways.  You want lanes that are safe enough for kids to ride on.

Things Are Looking Up

Positive early signs
Broncos selling more season tickets
By DENNIS SILVA II
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:27 AM CDT
With their 2010 season opener just a day away, the Laredo Broncos have been rejuvenated on the field with a team of pitching, defense and young players hungry to make their mark in the world of professional baseball.
In the offices, however, the spirit is just as high.
In spite of an offseason of turmoil and uncertainty, the Broncos have more than doubled the amount of season ticket holders from last year.

It looks like the little stunt that city council pulled (offering the new stadium to be run by another organization) has proven beneficial for the Laredo Broncos.  To be fair, not all councilmembers voted against the Broncos. 

Hopefully the increase in ticket sales means that the locals want this team to succeed and improve their position in town.  Luck to you, Broncos.

New Tabs

The Laredo Times announced its new Multimedia web page on its print edition today. It includes an LMT YouTube Channel. I guess we're going to be seeing more video from them in the future. Also, reporter Zach Lindsey and editor Diana Fuentes return with a blog post. But the fresh addition to the site has to be Julie Daffern's podcasts. Ha! Take that KGNS re-design!

LMT news update 0526

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recycle Everything

One man's old horseshoes are another's vanity plates.

Work it.

National Guard Troops Coming To The Border

But this time it's a little different.
"They could go to the local sheriff (departments), they could be assigned to DPS, and they could be assigned to Border Patrol.

The Golf Course Stays

Green renewal

Court may revive Casa Blanca course
By Zach Lindsey
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 5:55 AM CDT
A poll that suggests most golfers want to save the Casa Blanca course could spell the end of plans for a new county green and force the Laredo Race Park to look elsewhere for its horse racing track — but it could also mean significant repairs to the current course.

It appears that the public has spoken.  In two polls, people favored keeping the golf course near Lake Casa Blanca and renovating it.  However, county officials are now going to be faced with the task of funding the work needed to give the course a facelift.  One estimate states that the work may cost up to $2 million for the irrigation alone.

Good luck with that.

Piece Of The Pie

Lucy Ornelas writes in to the Laredo Times Editorial Page voicing her disapproval at how Mexican nationals come and lay claim to our jobs.  According to her, immigrants make up most of the workforce or hold the cards when they start a business.  Ladies and gentlemen, Lucy Ornelas:
Why shouldn't people from Mexico buy on the U.S. side?  They are the ones holding many of the jobs - legally or not.  Either that or their Mexican counterparts coming into the United States become prosperous, build a business and then hire their own Mexican families, brothers, sisters, their compadres and comadres and then whatever is left over is for U.S.-born citizens.
I guess what she's trying to convey is that we get the scraps. 

Ms. Ornelas, having worked 47 years in the import/export field, wants a job to keep herself busy.  Her father imparted this little nugget of advice:  "Use your mind don't let it rust."  But she's quickly finding out that employers are not quick to hire someone who is "hearing-impaired, old or inexperienced for some type of work."  Her frustration, however, seems a bit misguided.
Politicians are so naive that they say these prosperous Mexican people contribute to the economy.  By hiring their own?  Now legalized, maybe.  They don't hire someone with a hearing disability, but they hire Mexicans not knowing English.  That is a disability, so to speak.
 
Oh, and not only do the workers she mentions don't speak English, but they also don't come cheap as they work for upwards of $50 for the five hours they put in every day.  You're better off staying at home.  We stand no chance against this Spanish-speaking juggernaut of a workforce.

But even as Americans struggle to find work, there are some jobs that we will avoid at all costs.  Senate candidate Sharron Angle:
His small business was a motel And so we did those things as a kid growing up that Americans don't do.  We cleaned bathrooms and made beds and swept floors, did laundry, those kinds of things.
Stereotypes, racism, and bitterness aside Ms. Ornelas and Ms. Angle are citing a work ethic of their own that is valued so much in society.  Ms. Ornelas put in her many years contributing to society but now she has nothing but disdain for those who are trying to do the same.  The fact that they don't look like her or sound like her justifies, in her mind, her ill-conceived attitudes about those who come here to work.

Ms. Angle, on the other hand, props up her early work experience, but in the process derides just about everybody -- Americans, especially, for not wanting to get their hands dirty.
I'm not going to negate the fact that's it's tough for most people to find work nowadays.  We are facing competition on a global scale.  Our skills need to be up to par.  But if push comes to shove, some of us are not scared to pick up a broom or shovel to do what it takes to hold our own. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Day Without Mexicans

Mexican citizens were asked to stay home today and boycott the United States as a response to the Arizona immigration law.  Chamber of Commerce officials on the Mexican side wanted to send a message to people on this side that discriminatory practices were not going to be tolerated.

Joe Rutland (LMT) interviewed local businessman Les Norton to get a sense of what was happening on the ground today.



KLDO spoke with Miguel Conchas, Director of Laredo's Chamber of Commerce.  He said that we've always had a good relationship with our neighbors to the South, and that the law passed in Arizona really doesn't have anything to do with us.



People who cross into Laredo to come work on a daily basis probably did so like they've always done.  They can't be taking part in any silly boycott.  They've got families to support and bills to pay.

What would be more interesting to find out is if locals even knew about this boycott possibly taking place.  

It's Monday

...but we can still dance.  Enjoy the cool sounds of DJ Kickback.
(full disclosure:  he's my brother)

   106 Electro Mix 18 (May 14, 2010) by DJKickback

Menso, Not Mensa

Juvenile detention officer arrested on DWI charge

By César G. Rodriguez

LAREDO MORNING TIMES

Published: Monday, May 24, 2010 5:58 AM CDT

A Webb County Juvenile Detention officer was arrested after authorities spotted him swerving in the southbound lane of Interstate 35 on Saturday morning.

In our recurring segment where we like to showcase individuals who are three tortillas short of a fajita plate, we'd like to bring you the case of one 33-year-old man who was caught driving while intoxicated.

I guess he figured he could elude authorities by driving in the shadows of Interstate 35.  Nobody would ever see him there!
This guy must've been driving so bad for somebody to actually call the cops with a description of the car and its license plates.  Even the policeman saw him driving erratically on the road.

The driver refused to take a breathalyzer test.  Big surprise.  I wonder if the cop responded in this manner:
That's OK, sir; we have dash cam video of you swerving on the street, and your eyes are bloodshot.  Also, your speech is slurred, you're not wearing any pants, and you just pissed on my boots.
I also wonder if the driver's speech was so slurred that he sounded like ol' Gabby Johnson.

I Left My Glasses In D.C.

Mayor Salinas was "invited" to Washington D.C. last week to take part in events where Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, was the featured guest.  Meetings were supposed to take place Wednesday and Thursday.  So my question is:  Why did the mayor arrive back in Laredo yesterday?



Mayor Salinas had this to say:
"we made real progress on the bus center and met folks interested in investing money the bottom line we need to create jobs get industry going."
No, what you need to do is come back two days earlier than you did.  From the contented look on your face, it looks like you had a nice weekend in D.C. 

And what's with all the sudden interest from people wanting to invest in our city?  There was interest in the Portal project.  There was interest from people in Cental America.  And now D.C. is looking towards Laredo?  Exactly who are these people who want to invest in Laredo?

Employment might be down a bit, but that has more to do with the recent doughnut rush that required a large pool of bakers to work around the clock.
Excuse me if I don't share in the mayor's enthusiasm.  A trip out of Laredo can do wonders for anybody's mood.  If I was gone for a long weekend, I'd be more chipper and upbeat.  Now if you please, I'd like to see all your receipts.

Oh, That Thing

With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico being one of the hot topics of the day, we've forgotten about, or rarely mention, the two occupations the U.S. is currently embroiled in in the Middle East.
Worse, many who cheer for our wars enjoy that most intoxicating and distorting reward:  cost-free benefits, in the form of vicarious feelings of strength, purpose, nobility and the like, all from a safe distance.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tangles

A common sight in the barrio:  trees planted directly under power lines.

Mature trees are all deformed from the hack job done by those who tend to the lines above.

Residents should do more to maintain their trees at an appropriate level.  Some uniformity would lessen the eyesore.

LOST farewell tonight! :'(


"If we keep our pride, though paradise is LOST
We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost"
Excerpt from "Bravado" by Rush (1991)

The end is here for one of my all-time favorite shows: LOST. When it first started in 2004, I was one of the ones that said "How are they going to make a show out of this? They crash on an island in the middle of nowhere, and then what?" I normally like supernatural or sci-fi stuff, but I didn't start watching Season 1 until ABC started rerunning it for that Summer, and I was hooked!

It's been a complicated show full of surprises, and I really grew to love it. The writers are ultra intelligent in their manner of connecting characters, plot twists, time traveling, and flashbacks! Even the writers know why people that don't watch the show say "Why do you watch that show!?! It doesn't make any sense!" Haha! But he journey has been unbelievably fascinating to this true LOST fan.

The pre-show starts at 6pm with a 2 hour review special to absorb everything the loyal viewers have come to learn on the show. The finale starts at 8pm on ABC! And after all the sadness and bittersweet feelings, I will get some comic relief from Jimmy Kimmel, who will have the LOST cast and some alternate endings on his show tonight at a special time after the news.

Here's some more comedy: A Sally O'Malley clip with the Sopranos of all people discussing LOST! Enjoy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Music

Local promoters have done a bad job of bringing down a variety of acts.  However, most bands probably wouldn't be a good fit for the Laredo Energy Arena.  One Laredoan would like to see The Black Keys (so would I) play here but his comment to the Pro8news reporter says it all:
...that's not going to happen.
The Black Keys are going to appear in Texas later this year at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.  They could be brought to Laredo but a smaller venue would be more practical.
 
I'm making plans to see Rush in San Antonio this September.  I'm going to have to miss one day of work and shell out money for a motel.  Bummer.
Someday somebody is going to have to step up to the plate and change musical attitudes around here.

Rand Paul. Really?

It's Good to Be the King

This video of Italian Prime Minister humping in the streets is making the rounds..

Reminds me of something I saw somewhere way back when..

Bono in the hospital

Maybe it was too much partying after his recent 50th birthday, but U2 frontman Bono injured his back yesterday while making preparations to restart their tour. He need emergency back surgery, and is now recuperating in a Munich hospital.

For now the beginning of the tour will be postponed until further notice. Luckily I saw U2 on the first launch of their tour back in October in Houston. Get well soon Bono! Your fans need you back. We need you to kick! You're 50!
U2 Live at Reliant Stadium-Photo by Piper Maru

Friday, May 21, 2010

Problem Solved

I finally got some plumbers to come and look for the problem with my pipes.  I posted about this recently.

The first plumber never came back after replacing the boiler.  The second plumber told me he would be here at a certain time Monday.  I waited for four hours.  I went back to work and that's when he calls the house.  Gimme a break.

These (third) plumbers were actually early.  I told them to be here at 10 a.m. and they were here at 9 this morning.  It's a good thing I hadn't left.  I was going to go do something really quick but as I was heading out, they showed up.

They tore a hole in the wall behind the boiler.  After some inspection, they found the joint leaking slowly.  When I turned on the valve above the boiler, the joint sprayed, as you can see from the picture.  I was so glad that the leak wasn't below the floor.

Anyway, they replaced that little joint and we were good to go.  I am happy to report that the floor is dry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pac Man Fever Friday


There goes the work day. Goto www.google.com and you can play Pac Man using your keyboard arrow keys. Click "insert coin" and away you go..

Xochitl Mora Recruiting For St. Peter's


St. Peter’s Summer Camp to Provide
Academics, Fun and Food

(Wednesday, May 19, 2010)—If you are one of the countless parents out there who tries to find a summer camp that develops your child’s mind, body and spirit, then your prayers have been answered!  St. Peter’s Memorial School 2nd Annual Summer Camp has all that and more.  Starting Tuesday, June 1, 2010 and continuing until Wednesday, June 30, 2010, this month-long program will be a perfect balance of school and play, making both parents and kids happy.

The summer camp will be open to all students, not just those who attend St. Peter’s, and will be offered for students from K-3 (three years old minimum and must be potty-trained) to those entering 8th grade.  The day will start at 8:30 a.m. and run to 3:30 p.m., with a jam-packed schedule that will offer all students free breakfast and lunch.  Subject matter that will be highlighted will be reading/phonics and  language development, for those students for whom English is a second language, as well as art and math classes, drama/dance, writing, and science classes, and a mini daily basketball camp to help provide a well-rounded learning experience. Last year’s favorite class, the cold cooking class, is back as well and is perfect for young hands who want to learn how to help in the kitchen.  The day then ends with story time.  However, for those parents who work until 5:00 p.m., there will also be after-camp care offered.

Come one, come all!” says Dr. Linda Marie Garcia Mitchell, principal of the school.   “The St. Peter’s Memorial School summer camp will be educational, fun, and exciting, and most importantly parents: your children will be well cared for, and they will learn a tremendous amount of information,” she concluded. 

The cost for the month-long program, which runs from Monday through Thursday, is only $300, and only $260 per second child.  The after-school care will be $6 per day, flat-fee.

For more information about St. Peter’s Memorial School, located at 1519 Houston Street, or registering your child for the summer camp, call 723-6302.
# # #

Thanks,
Xochitl Mora Garcia
M:  956-337-3639

Emilio Martinez Decides To Run For Office

And he has one main goal in mind.
Martinez says his number one goal is to lower taxes for the residents of Laredo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Got LOST earlier


Tonight was the special LOST event at theaters across North America, Times Talks Live: LOST. It was a pleasure to watch. It was kinda like those extras on your DVD's that you may or may not watch.

But this was a LIVE Q&A session with a NYTimes reporter which also included some audience questions. And there were some surprise guests **** SPOILER ALERT*** (lol!) Ben and Hurley appeared on stage along with the show's writers/producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. There were some clips shown and even one from Sunday night's big finale, which the audience was informed will have Star Wars-esque stuff in the beginning!!! Cannot wait!

This photo I've included depicts a major character on the show: John Locke. It comes from the pilot episode where Locke is eating a slice of orange after surviving his plane's crash landing on the island. What would he do? Better yet, WHAT HAS HE DONE!?!

I'm still on Team Jacob on this one. Live together, die alone.

Tom Herring Sr. Passes

Posada founder passes


By Nick Georgiou
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010 3:25 AM CDT
Tom Herring Sr., well-known La Posada Hotel entrepreneur, died Tuesday of natural causes at his home in Kerrville.

He was 83.

“My father’s signature on the community was … La Posada Hotel and what it meant to the tourism business,” said one of Herring’s sons, Tim Herring, on Wednesday.

 “He was very much a believer in what Laredo could be — not what it is, but what it could be.

“He always believed the town had a great future.”

Tom Herring, born and raised in Laredo, founded La Posada Hotel in 1960 after leaving his father’s business, Herring-Price Lumber Co., where he had worked since 1954.




Take The Test

See if you can guess who plays that drum fill.

Mayor's Reaction

Mayor Salinas Reacts to President Calderon’s Address to Congress


Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas, as a guest of Congressman Henry Cuellar, was present in Washington today when Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivered an address to a Joint Session of Congress. Mayor Salinas stated: “I am so grateful to Henry Cuellar for making it possible for me to hear this very refreshing address by President Calderon. President Calderon not only talked about what Mexico needs to do to make our joint border more secure, but he was equally frank that the US bears its own responsibilities for border security. More than 75,000 U.S. manufactured weapons are in Mexico today and the drug cartels are funded in no small part by our nation’s appetite for drugs. We owe our neighbors in Mexico a better effort in stopping the southern flow of weapons and dollars.”

Mayor Salinas continued: “I strongly agree when President Calderon says that Mexico and the United States are stronger together than we are apart. We live that message every day in Los dos Laredos. The stronger the economy of Mexico is; the stronger our economy in Laredo. The more secure the quality of life is in Mexico, the more secure the quality of life we have in Laredo.”

Mayor Salinas concluded his remarks: “I am so proud that President Obama is standing with President Calderon as he leads Mexico in its transition to a safe, economically stable and practicing democracy. I also agree with these two Presidents that every resident of America, both north and south of the border, must not only have the opportunity to live the American dream, but also that they should not have to leave their home country to achieve it.”

What?

Chase ends on the roof

By César G. Rodriguez
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010 3:25 AM CDT
A woman is behind bars after police say she carjacked a man at knifepoint and then led officials on a chase through south Laredo that ended on a rooftop.

This is wild.  Police took the lady, and I use that word loosely, to the hospital for treatment because they suspected that she was hopped up on something.

Really?

Was it because she's 21 and she's pulling a knife on someone?  Maybe.

Could it be that she evaded police and eventually ended up on a roof?  Perhaps.

Or is it perhaps that she stole a 1990 Toyota Corolla?  Bingo!
Girls, knives, and rooftops are pretty standard, but stealing an old compact car?  That's insane and we're going to need a urine sample.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WBCA

Some more footage of days gone by.  Enjoy.

Logos

Que Fregados posted this picture of some political signs up on a wall near the Three Points area.  The logo on Gene Belmares' sign looks like I've seen it somewhere before.  
I did some snooping and the best I could come up with was this example.  I know it's not even close but if somebody could help me out, I'd be mucho appreciado.  What say you?  Have you seen the patriotic logo somewhere else?

Roel Hernandez Retires


This gentleman has lived near my mother's house for as long as I can remember.  We would always catch him walking by on his way home.  He was recently honored for his 39 years of service to the City of Laredo Public Works Division.  Mr. Hernandez is now retired.

Press release courtesy of Xochitl M. Garcia

“The longevity of your tenure highlights the character, integrity and hard work that must be your strength, to have served your fellow citizens in such an important job,” said Salinas. “I am so proud to honor your work like this and only hope that you can serve as an example to your co-workers and all City of Laredo employees about getting the job done,” he concluded.


Hernandez started working with the City of Laredo with the Street Department (as the Public Works Division was known back in 1971), where he did everything from garbage collection to pot patching, paving, assisting with construction crews, including the night shift for the downtown crew. According to Ofila, Hernandez worked on many projects and was great asset to the city, always willing to help.

“Roel, or ‘La Pancha,’ as he was known to his co-workers, was never late to work and never missed, even though he walked three miles to work every day of this life. As a heavy equipment operator, he was always willing to learn and never said no to anything. He was a great example of a great employee, everybody enjoyed working with him. Hernandez saw the Public Works Division develop and become what it it is today, handling many major projects for the City of Laredo,” concluded Orfila.

Hey, Baby!

We've all probably heard the story about the bus driver from San Antonio who found a toddler sitting in the middle of the street one night last year.  Somehow, the little girl managed to get out of her house. 

When I was in Head Start, my little brother (two years younger) knocked on the door of my classroom.  He told my teacher that he 'was there to pick up his brother.'  Awwwwwwwwwww.  How cute.  As far as I know my mother wasn't arrested or anything.  That was back around '75.

Anyway, this bus driver story reminds me of Dave Chappelle's story.  Check out the video where he talks about waiting in a limo late at night and seeing a baby out all alone.  Enjoy.

 

Lit

The story of firefighter Juan Carlos Gomez is dominating the news cycle in Laredo.  Gomez crashed into a police car back in February and now we find out that his alcohol level was .19 percent.

The LMT has the piece on its website for all to see and comment on.  The Laredo Sun also has the story but they have the date of the incident wrong.

KGNS got a comment from Fire Chief Steve Landin last night and he was none too happy with the coverage. 
I think Pro 8 news did a fine job of bashing the organization three or four days in a row.  Putting somebody over and over in uniform.
Perhaps it is unfair to cast a bad light on the fire department when the car crash happened on Mr. Gomez' own time.  But crashing while intoxicated and being a paramedic/firefighter is pretty ironic.  These guys see the effects of bad judgement and risky behavior all the time.  It's a bad example to set for people.

It's like being an advocate for safe driving and being caught slumped over the wheel of your car, supposedly drunk.  It's like being a cheerleader for abstinence and having an affair with one of your aides.  It's like... (insert Sarah Palin analogy here).
But back to Mr. Gomez.  Let's forget for a minute that he's an employee of the city.  For the sake of this conversation, he's just a 38-year-old member of this community who got drunk one night.  A lot of us will let this sort of thing slide because it's something that's so common.  Local JPs have been caught driving drunk.  I have family members who like to get smashed every now and then.  Brownsville's mayor recently got caught.

But all these people are adults and they probably have kids.  At what point do they grow up?  At what point do you ask yourself, maybe it's time I cut down on the sauce.  Hopefully this car crash will be Mr. Gomez' wake-up call.  For others it will come in the form of a large amount of bloody vomitus.  The community talks a lot about teens driving drunk, cancer awareness, autism, diabetes, etc.  But A.A. and alcoholism gets little press. 

When we're young we act on impluse.  It's unavoidable.  We don't know any better.  But in our middle adult years, it's more than falling out of line, as Chief Landin suggested.  Being lit up at 38 necessitates an intervention.  Also, somebody should say something about beer kegs making an appearance at kids' parties.  Teachers who drink should be called out.  And St. John should not do his radio show drunk.

Local officials always come out advocating for kids.  The "children are our future," as Whitney Houston said.  (I wonder if she gets a royalty every time somebody says that.)  I'd like to see a PSA from Raul Salinas speaking against alcoholism.  He could do it from his favorite spot, Papa Gallos.

It's a serious problem, alcoholism, and one that hopefully gets more attention.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Night Blues

Arlen Specter and I could use a mood stabilizer right about now.  In my case, it has more to do with plumbers not showing up when they say they're going to show up.

Alert

Please be advised that the City of Laredo Health Department, located at 2600 Cedar Ave,  will be closed until further notice due to a power outage. Power company crews are working to bring the power back online. A notice will be sent out as soon as power is re-established. Thank you.

eloy Vega
Fire Captain
Strategic Planner/PIO
Laredo Fire Department
#1 Guadalupe
Laredo, TX 78040
(O)956-795-2150
(C)956-763-4081
(F)956-795-2914
  
This morning, 1490 am was nothing but static.  One reader asked what had happened with with signal yesterday.  All I can guess is that it's weather related.

Service To The County

City: County must pay more for services




By ZACH LINDSEY
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 1:30 AM CDT
The City of Laredo has known for four months that its $600,000 fire services contract with the county would change radically due to financial constraints, but the details of a new contract have remained hazy.

At a City Council meeting Monday, city officials agreed that negotiations will only be constructive if they sit down with county officials before making any in-house decisions — but to get the ball rolling, they will present two possible suggestions.



City council threw around ideas at Monday's meeting as far as what kind of services to provide to the people outside of the city limits.

One idea was to bring in private ambulance companies to help transport people in need of medical attention to local hospitals.  And the City of Laredo would provide fire protection.  The fire department ambulances would be left to cover emergencies within the city limits.


 There was concern, however, that private ambulances wouldn't be able to provide the top-notch service that the Laredo Fire Dept. offers.  Most ambulance providers locally just transfer people to and from hospitals or doctors' offices.  If I'm not mistaken they don't give medications that are necessary in a cardiac emergency situation.

If somebody is having a stroke or a heart attack, time is of the essence.  There are a lot of paramedics that work for ambulance companies on their own time.  They possess the skills needed to attend to any emergency.  The only drawback is what limits they have with their respective employer.  It could be that their responsibilities can be expanded, seeing as how some ambulance companies have been owned by doctors.

Hopefully the city and the county can come to some beneficial agreement.  The services that are agreed upon will greatly affect some of us in the future.  If we are traveling to or from the city, and are involved in an accident, we might have a different system in place, one that hopefully can provide us with the care we need.

Monday, May 17, 2010

El Cantante

...de Las Lomas.

At the beginning of every city council meeting, proclamations, introductions, and recognitions are made, taking up the first thirty minutes of each gathering.  Usually it's some cub scout group that's planted trees in a park, or some little league team that's won some coveted trophy, or what not.  But tonight, my friends, it was Councilman Juan Narvaez's time to shine.

Council actually showcased a video of Mr. Narvaez singing to a group of ladies on Mother's Day.  I knew he sold houses, and rented maquinitas, but I didn't know he could carry a tune.  If he's good enough for city hall's time, then goshdarnit, he's good enough for me.  Enjoy the perennial Mother's Day favorite, Las Mananitas, as best as can be done in a gymnasium.  Take it away! 

Moving


If you are thinking of moving try Laredo Moving and Storage. They are in the yellow pages. Trust me, the moving business sucks. But at least these guys won't try to rip you off.

Auto Theft

We've been recognized yet again.

I've wondered how many people stuck with the LMT after they decided to charge for online content.  They were gracious enough to post the story of the policeman who was busted over the weekend on criminal mischief charges.  29 people posted a comment on that story.  So they must have some kind of following.

Mayor Salinas was quoted today in the LMT on the idea of a farmers market in town.
Salinas suggested the civic center, but also thought it would work well on the banks of the Rio Grande.
That's a great idea!

And I touched somebody's nerve with a comment I made about Mayor Salinas.
he wasn't cracking a joke.  He was asking a question.  Know what you are talking about before making assumptions.
Hehehe.

Ronnie James Dio Dead At 67

The metal icon passed away yesterday.  Full story here.

Bordertown Blues has an excellent write-up on Dio's influence.

Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell is the only album (cassette) we ever owned with Dio on lyrics.  Later I just kept up with him by checking out either early MTV or rock radio.

His stuff was, and is, in regular rotation.  Tenacious D's tribute to the man is proof of the influence he had on many people and to the world of rock.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

THE END is near...


Greetings. Piper here. If you don't know by now, I'm a big fan of LOST. The show is coming to an end soon. This Tuesday is the last regular episode before the grand finale event on Sunday, May 23.

This coming Thursday, Cinemark will be showing a LIVE Q&A with the show's writers/producers at 7:00pm called "Times Talks Live: LOST" and brought to us by the New York Times.

Here's a funny clip brought to us by Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Road Trip

Mayor Salinas is going to D.C. later this week.

Summer's Almost Here

Kristi Gonzalez Places 4th At State Meet

Yesterday, Alexander standout Kristi Gonzalez ended her high school track career with a fourth place finish in the 300-meter hurdles at the state meet in Austin.

Laredo Sports Wire broke the news yesterday on their Facebook page.

Kristi accomplished what she set out to do.  Congrats to her and we wish her continued success. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Making Amends

When I saw the video of the teacher beating up a student in a Houston school, I thought the instructor was probably a substitute or a teacher aide or something.  Now she comes forward to  apologize for her actions.  She seems like a reasonable, competent individual.  A civil lawsuit will change one's attitude, I guess.

With all the news we've heard of unruly students in our local schools, I wonder if teachers would ever come to this point.


Illegal Dumping

Environmental Services Catches Illegal Dumpers

Laredo, TX—May14, 2010—Illegal dumpers beware: The City of Laredo is watching and they will catch you!

Recently, the City of Laredo Environmental Services Department invested $12,000 to purchase some security surveillance camera equipment.  Those cameras were placed at various undisclosed known dumping sites around town, and they have already payed off. 

Multiple individuals were caught illegally dumping branches around town.  One was fined $500; the other’s case is still pending to go to court.  However, he possibly faces a fine anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Another case is still being investigated by the Laredo Police Department Environmental Division, as well.

“What’s ironic is that people can dump their branches at the City’s Landfill for free; the Solid Waste Services Department even picks up these items,” said Jerry Piña, Jr., Environmental Investigator with the City of Laredo Environmental Services Department, who, along with his partner, Mario Sepulveda, also an Environmental Investigator, who are fierce investigators in pursuing illegal dumpers. 

Fight Your Way Toward Health

PCS Fitness Center is setting up shop at the old tire center at the corner of Park and San Bernardo. 

It looks like they're going all out with the place.  Just one complaint:  if you're going to advertise a website for your establishment, please have an actual website to go to.

Into Radio

Nuno from Laredo Sports Wire will debut his show on 99.3 FM at 11:00 today.  Check it out, will you?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lack Of Participation

El Manana reported yesterday that a planned boycott of Arizona's immigration law was met with confusion and reluctance.  The Mexican Chamber of Commerce called on residents of Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo to stay home Thursday to show those yankee bastards the U.S. the impact that Mexicans have on the economy.

Mexican citizens reported that they didn't know of such a boycott.  And even if they knew, they still would've crossed because they work on the U.S. side.  Another person said that products are much cheaper here than they are in Mexico, hence, the necessity to cross the border.

Boycotts take planning.  Perhaps having one on a weekend would be more realistic.  Weekdays are tough.  People need time to plan ahead and make the necessary arrangements, especially when they depend on their jobs.

A protest all along the Texas border is scheduled for the 25th of this month.  It would be neat to see what would happen if people stayed home for one day. 

Tribute To The Fallen

This morning, law enforcement officials paid tribute to those who have died in the line of duty. 

Charging For Online Content

Following the lead of the Laredo Morning Times and the Alice Echo News, the New York Times will start charging for online content in January.

The Race For Mayor Begins

I saw the first sign for the mayoral race at the corner of Park and Springfield.  As it stands right now, Gene Belmares, Joe Valdez Jr. and incumbent Raul Salinas have officially announced their candidacy for the office.

A blogging colleague said that two other people are also jumping into the race.  They are familiar faces.  We'll keep an eye out for their campaign kickoffs.  The election is just under six months away.

As a sitting politician, you have to get a jump on the competition.  And if you can do it by horse, all the better.

Relative Calm

A story in the L.A. Times confirms what I posted about yesterday:  American border communities are safe when compared with their neighboring towns.
Laredo, Texas, has had two homicides this year, neither of which was related to the drug war across the border.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oops

A man arrested for speeding managed to smuggle a gun into the jail in his underwear.

Sheriff Martin Cuellar looked so good the other day when several individuals were nabbed for soliciting (supposed) minors online.  This new incident just drops a big lincoln log on things.

Travel Advisory?

A travel advisory was brought to my attention today by two sources.  One specifically details how a notice was left on a vehicle in a town in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

The notice cautions people who visit the neighboring Mexican city to be mindful of their surroundings, as violence might erupt this weekend.

Word must already be out on the street.  Has anyone heard anything related to this?