Listen up, folks.
August 28, 2016
August 25, 2016

I usually post "Jessica" in the summer. This year, something with Duane.

August 25, 2016

This from the Washington Post: "Hundreds of British Olympians returned from Rio this week to London. The problem is that they had all been given free new suitcases, so 900 of their bags looked exactly the same. Athletes spent four hours at baggage claim digging through the sea of luggage."

August 25, 2016

This morning I drove the lyrically named Herff Road Extension Phase 2—the portion that connects Old San Antonio Road to South Main Street.

It's a nice road. Mine was the only car on it. That's because it doesn't have a purpose yet. But it will, someday.

One purpose will be to help siphon off traffic from all of the new subdivisions east of town. Those people can't possibly stuff themselves into River Road; they have to turn left at Esser/Herff. Thing is, the suburban sprawl is in the early stages out there, and the traffic demand remains moderate for now.

When the traffic does materialize—and it certainly will—the Herff Road Extension (oh, hell, let's just call it Herff Road) will provide an easy connection to South Main, south of the Wal-Mart. The problem is that traffic from the People's Republic of East Boerne doesn't want to go there. There's no reason to go there. Where they want to go is either farther north, at Bandera, or farther south, at the Interstate. So it's a fairly crappy solution to that problem.

Widening Old San Antonio down to Cascade Caverns and improving the Interstate intersection there is on the drawing board. That's the project that the People's Republic really needs. It gets them to and from the Interstate without pouring traffic into central Boerne.

The real reason the Herff-to-South Main connection exists is our city's obsession with sales taxes. They put in the road and zoned the surrounding land for high-intensity commercial as bait for big-box retailers. The city wants a big-ass shopping center down there, and they'll probably get it when the time is right. The time is not yet right.

When the shopping blob goes in, connecting Herff to Main (and then connecting across Main to the new frontage road) makes a lot of sense in a sales-tax sort of way. It's one monster commercial district from Herff Road to the Interstate. Someone's going to make a ton of money.

What will it do for our small-town quality of life? Get real. That's been in the rear-view mirror for a long time.

August 24, 2016

I was watching some Anthony Bourdain last night. He was in Indonesia or somewhere. During one of the meals someone offered a helpful tip. It so struck me that I wrote it down. "When you come across a chewy, rubbery bit, that's fish stomach. "

August 24, 2016
August 24, 2016

We rented a boat in Montana. Everything went fine, but I decided that the person I dealt with had a drug problem. Nice guy, but totally ripped two days in a row. Like heroin/meth/opioid ripped. And he's got my credit card number.

August 24, 2016

When I reserved a car with Hertz for the Montana trip, I chose "large SUV." Hertz said that meant something like a Nissan Armada, which is big, but not gigantic.

When I got to Kalispell, there was a Chevrolet Suburban waiting. Holy Crap, those things are monsters!

I used to drive a Lincoln Navigator, so you might think that the size wouldn't bother me, but I've been driving smaller vehicles for years—currently a 4-door Jeep Wrangler, which is not exactly tiny, but noticeably smaller than Oklahoma. When you tour around in a Suburban, you put one front wheel on the center stripe and the other front wheel on the shoulder. Your rig is as long as a Greyhound bus. You can forget about dirt back roads—that beast is not going to make a tight turn, no way.

It drove like a dream. Quiet, smooth, powerful. It had 4WD and every toy in the world, including a wireless cell phone charger. Awesome vehicle. And, amazingly, it got darn good gas mileage. Better than my Jeep.

I guess a 4WD Suburban would make sense if you had three children, a bunch of camping gear and a big camper trailer. Or maybe not—mine had street tires, which would get stuck quickly in snow or mud. Not much point in 4WD unless you have gnarly tires.

Anyway, I was totally overwhelmed and impressed, but I was glad to turn the thing back in to the rental agency at the end of the week. Love my Jeep.

August 24, 2016

I am shocked that people must pay money to gain access to Hillary Clinton.

More than twenty years ago, when Bill Clinton was running for his first presidential term, my boss decided that he had something important to say to the candidate. The head of Clinton's Texas campaign was a lawyer who did work for me, and he was a friend, so I got tapped to gain access. When I asked about setting up a meeting, I was informed that the first step would be a meeting with Mack McLarty (pictured), who was a campaign honcho and ended up being Clinton's chief of staff. Gaining access to McLarty would require a specific set of donations: this much to this PAC, this much to this organization, this much to this candidate. I forget what the total was, but it was easily $50,000. There was nothing subtle about it; if you wanted to get to McLarty, you had to pay; then, if you wanted to talk to Bill, you would have to pay again.

It was one of those small moments when you realize how the world really works.

August 23, 2016