Over the Back Fence by Randy Mankin
It seems some legislators prefer an uninformed electorate
January 17, 2013
With the Texas Legislature now in session, there are already hundreds of bills filed for consideration.
Included among those are criminal sanctions for texting while driving, a proposal to make “sexting” a misdemeanor and a bevy of others. So many others, in fact, that it seems as if most legislators spend most of their time dreaming up stuff to introduce. That way they can feel productive and they can tell their constituents “Look at what I did!”
Of course, many of the bills will be consolidated while others will never see the light of day, much less make it out of committee. But there are some bills in the hopper that seem to been filed with little thought and even less consideration about the unintended consequences they will visit upon the people of Texas.
One such bill rears its ugly head every legislative session. And, this biennium is no different.
The Idle American by Dr. Don Newbury
Persons of a certain age waxed melancholy recently upon the death of a musical icon, Mitch Miller. He of “follow-the-bouncing-ball” fame, along with his orchestra, was much in the nation’s entertainment spotlight with a weekly TV show on NBC in the 1960s. Miller died a year shy of his 100th birthday.
My Uncle Mort, who just turned 98 years of age, remembers a lament associated with the popular musician. A half-century ago, Mort made this observation: “In the days of my youth, my life was one of wine, women and song.
Nowadays, it’s Metrecal, the old gal and ‘Sing Along with Mitch’.”
Huey has had a lot of hits
Huey P. Meaux (pronounced Mo) lives in Winnie. He went there as a barber years ago and later got into music, which has been his passion since his daddy played accordion for him when he was growing up. Huey played drums with small bands, but he says he wasn’t very good. “I had to keep dodging those beer cans, but I wanted to be in music some way, so I became a record producer.”
After doing radio shows in Port Arthur and Beaumont, where he played his beloved Cajun music, Huey built recording studios in Pasadena and Houston where he developed some innovative echo chambers using oil field tanks. “I put a microphone in one end and a speaker in the other,” he says. “It created a unique effect. It was pretty cheap. I’d go to record companies and they’d want to know how I got that sound. I wouldn’t tell them.”
Obama’s Ground Zero Dodge
President Barack Obama’s ringing statement in favor of the ground zero mosque had a gaping escape clause: He didn’t necessarily support the mosque.
Not that he bothered to spell that out for his entranced listeners at a Friday night iftar dinner at the White House, or to his supporters who rushed to hail the “finest moment” of his presidency. “Moment” turned out to be the right word. Less than 24 hours later he was telling reporters he hadn’t taken a position on the “wisdom” of the mosque project, only on the organizers’ “right to build a place of worship and community center on private property in lower Manhattan.”
Obama managed to stake a brave stand on a principle no one seriously contests -- the legal right to build the mosque -- while voting “present” on the question that matters: Whether they should or not. This is high-toned dodginess, insipidity masquerading as incisiveness.
My cup floweth
I have discovered that I may well be the lamest parent on the planet. How is it possible that I have been the mother of four boys, the oldest of which is 27 years old, and I don’t know the first thing about athletic cups?
My oldest boy was in soccer until his kicking toe got an ingrown toenail, but either he didn’t need an athletic cup or my husband was recruited for that purchase. But that was 17 years ago! I can’t be expected to remember that when I have trouble remembering my kids’ names.
However, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make that purchase because I would have remembered it. When my thirteen-year old needed one last week, I was stumped.
Texas Tales by Mike Cox
Remembering Mertzon's Windmills
Last time I drove through Mertzon, it sunk in on me that the windmills were gone.
West Texas still has plenty of Aermotors cranking away, and on many mesa tops giant wind turbines are popping up like rain lillies, but Mertzon used to depend on wind power long before it was the green thing to do.
With a little editing, here is a piece on Mertzon in the 1960s from “Red Rooster Country,” my long out-of-print first book:
“They look like a field of iron sunflowers in the distance, but they’re windmills – literally scores of them scattered all over Mertzon.