Although I'm a devout agnostic prone to aggravated depression during the Holiday season, I don't reflexively loathe all Christmas music. I loathe only about 80% of it. As with any musical form, I prefer my Christmas/Holiday music on the odd side. I treasure the Holiday CDs of Brave Combo, Barenaked Ladies, and Phil Spector's friends. Hearing "Merry Christmas from the Family" by either Robert Earl Keen or Jill Sobule is a true delight; the one with Rosie O'Donnell and the Dixie Chicks, not so much.
This past weekend produced some exquisite musical moments. First, I participated in the four December Rose concerts at the MATCH with International Voices Houston. (Yeah, henceforth I'll remember to promote our shows on this here blog.) It was a joy to present a mix of overt holiday music, implicit holiday music, and music about persisting through adversity that has little or nothing to do with the December holidays.
Second, there was the music on the sound system Saturday morning at Generic Kroger: It was all bland pop Christmas tunes, except somehow the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" started up just after we walked into the store. Maybe "Blitzkrieg Bop" is a Christmas song now, like "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie?
On with the bloggage.
Off the Kuff posted some extremely long and boring spreadsheets full of statistics that nobody except a few political consultants in Harris County could possibly give a shit about.
SocraticGadfly took a skeptical look at the Betomania 2020 Kool-Aid, one of dozens of articles about the phenomenon that shows no sign of ebbing. O'Rourke himself has marveled at his rock star hysteria, teasingly suggesting "it's a great question" whether he is ready for a run at the White House. As he rose in the early polling, many Democratic activists began questioning his progressive bona fides. (You will recall that PDiddie answered that for himself last January.) The NYT dug out--and published in October--the story behind his family's shady real estate deal in El Paso, and the Segundo Barrio residents who never forgot his role in it.
PDiddie at Brains and Eggs exposed the oozing neoliberalism of Houston mayor Sylvester Turner in two posts: the first excoriating his interference in the developments surrounding HISD's legacy African American schools; the second, reminding Houstonians of the only consistent talents Turner has demonstrated over the last three years: his leadership void and political courage deficit.
Democratic infighting over whether to monetize voter data for 2020 spilled out into the open.
In more 2020 musings, John Coby at Bay Area Houston declares who shouldn't be running for the Democratic nomination. Tip: they're all well to the left of him. David Collins had the counterpoint, using Beto-Bob as the repetitive example, which centrists like Coby just can't understand.
Kyle Kulinski at Secular Talk deconstructed Julian Castro's announcement of presidential exploratory committee formation.
The Dallas Observer's Stephen Young snaps some of the corporate media (and associated sycophants like Frank Luntz) back to reality with their weird infatuation over Ted Cruz's beard.
Better Texas Blog updates the status of public school finance one month away from the next legislative session. And Progrexas wishes to remind you that it can't be fixed until everybody agrees on the definition of the word "fix."
Texas Leftist notes the worries of the Texas Vietnamese community in the wake of the latest Trump administration deportation threats.
Texas Standard read a DHS report and noticed how a portion of SpaceX's south Texas launch facility will get cut by Trump's border wall.
A child speech pathologist who worked with elementary school students for 9 years in the Pflugerville Independent School District (which includes part of Austin) lost her job after she refused to sign an anti-BDS oath, reports Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed in federal court, alleging a violation of her First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.
San Antonio had a week of swirling political winds; read more about them at the Rivard Report.
The critics of Texas Central, the bullet train between Dallas and Houston, want the Lege to administer more oversight of the project via limiting the use of eminent domain, writes Matt Zdun for the Texas Tribune. (But in a Republican, pro-business, "less government is best" environment, there is probably not much appetite for that.)
Emotions ran high at a public hearing on the coastal spine proposed along the Bolivar Peninsula, as residents and property owners decried the massive project. It's intended to protect Houston and Galveston from future hurricanes and storm surges, but the concerns are that it will leave the sparsely-populated Galveston and Chambers County vacation and fishing communities surrendering their livelihoods. Areas north and east of where the "Ike Dike" would end would also be unprotected.
Texas Vox celebrated the closing of the filthy coal-fired Deely plant, on the southeast side of San Antonio and operated by CPS Energy.
Joe Nick Patoski at the Texas Observer asks if Texas' overcrowded and underfunded state parks are being loved to death.
Somervell County Salon followed up on an obscure comedian's strange take about Trump's sniffling being a symptom of his crushed-Adderall snorting habit.
Elise Hu reported on brain-machine interfaces at the University of Houston.
The Bloggess presents the Ninth Annual James Garfield Christmas Miracle.
Swamplot has the perfect gift for the Astrodome-phile in your life.
Millard Fillmore's Bathtub re-visits Banksy's seminal modern Nativity portrait, and alludes to Trump's border wall.
Dan Solomon at Texas Monthly ponders the demise of the breastaurant.
And Harry Hamid's story moved ahead to 3 a.m.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.