Saturday, February 17, 2007

Courville's Wednesday Night

Strap them kids in
Give 'em a little bit of vodka in a cherry Coke
We're going to Oklahoma to the family reunion for the first time in years
It's up at uncle Slayton's 'cause he's getting on in years
You know he no longer travels but he's still pretty spry
He's not much on talking and he's just too mean to die
And they'll be comin' down from Kansas
and from west Arkansas
It'll be one great big old party like you never saw

Uncle Slayton's got his Texan pride
Back in the thickets with his Asian bride
He's got a Airstream trailer and a Holstein cow
He still makes whiskey 'cause he still knows how
He plats that Choctaw bingo every Friday night
You know he had to leave Texas but he won't say why
He owns a quarter section up by Lake Eufala
Caught a great big ol' blue cat on a driftin' jug line
Sells his hardwood timber to the shipping mill
Cooks that crystal meth because the shine don't sell
He cooks that crystal meth because the shine don't sell
You know he likes his money he don't mind the smell

My cousin Roscoe Slayton's oldest boy from his second marriage up in Illinois
He was raised in East St. Louis by his momma's people
Where they do things different
Thought he'd just come on down
He was going to Dallas Texas in a semi truck called from that big McDonald's
You know the one they built up on that great big ol' bridge
Across the Will Rogers Turnpike
Took the Big Cabin exit stopped and bought a couple of cartons of cigarettes
At that Indian Smoke Shop with the big neon smoke rings
In the Cherokee Nation hit Muskogee late that night
Somebody ran a stoplight at the Shawnee Bypass
Roscoe tried to miss 'em but he didn't quite

Bob and Mae come up from little town
Way down by lake Texoma where he coaches football
They were two A champions now for two years running
But he says they won't be this year no they won't be this year
And he stopped off in Tushka at that "Pop's Knife and Gun" place
Bought a SKS rifle and a couple a full cases of that steel core ammo
With the berdan primers from some East bloc nation that no longer needs 'em
And a Desert Eagle that's one great big ol' pistol
I mean .50 caliber made by badass Hebrews
And some surplus tracers for that old BAR of Slayton's
Soon as it gets dark we're gonna have us a time
We're gonna have us a time

Ruth Ann and Lynn come down from Baxter Springs
That's one hell raisin' town way up in Southeastern Kansas
Got a biker bar next to the lingerie store
That's got them Rolling Stones lips up there where everyone can see 'em
And they burn all night you know they burn all night you know they burn all night
Ruth Ann and Lynn they wear them cut off britches and those skinny little halters
And they're second cousins to me
Man I don't care I want to get between 'em
With a great big ol' hard on like a old bois d' arc fence post
You could hang a pipe rail gate from
Do some twisted sisters 'til the cows come home
And we'd be havin' us a time

Uncle Slayton's got his Texan pride
Back in the thickets with his Asian bride
He's cut that corner pasture into acre lots`
He sells 'em owner financed
Strictly to them that's got no kind of credit
'Cause he knows they're slackers
When they miss that payment
Then he takes it back
He plays that Choctaw Bingo every Friday night
Drinks that Johnny Walker at that Club 69
We're gonna strap them kids in give 'em a little bit o' Benadryl
And a cherry coke we're goin' to Oklahoma
We're gonna have us a time
Gonna have us a time

I guess that pretty well sums it up.

East Texas, I mean, not Courville's on Wednesday night.

The song is Choctaw Bingo. It was written by James McMurtry, but it was sung by Ray Wylie Hubbard.

Did I mentiuon that it was Ray Wylie Hubbard at Courville's last Wednesday?

Well, it was. And, as always, the food was good and the show was better. But this time, it was even better than usual, because Hubbard had the band with him this time, and they're a very good band. Gurf Morlix plays a mean guitar.

Don't forget, Ray Wylie Hubbard and a host of others will be playing at Crystal Beach in April at Hayes Carll's Stingaree Music Festival. You know, we'll have us a time. We're gonna have us a time.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Last Call for Gordon Lightfoot!

Gordon Lightfoot, one of my all time favorites, will be appearing at Verizon Wireless Theater in Houston on Sunday, June 24, 2007. Tickets are on sale now on Ticketmaster or at the Verizon Theater box office.

I saw him several years ago at the Woodlands. His voice wasn't what it used to be, but it was still a very good show. Definitely worth the drive and the $45 per ticket(plus the $8 for parking and Ticketmaster's $5 "order processing fee" and $10 per ticket "convenience" fee).


I'll be in Section 102, middle of row B.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Winning the Global War on Terror

I think I've finally figured out GWB's secret strategy for winning The Global War on Terror.

It was right there in his post 9/11 address to the joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001:

Americans are asking "Why do they hate us?"

They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

I don't know why I didn't see it earlier. He's trying to make them love us.

(A note about the picture.)

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Boston Legal

While looking up the Massachusetts statute on "hoax devices," I ran across a few other amusing laws that are still on the books in the Bay State. I think that Boston Legal ought to do a show where a crusading prosecutor brings the lawyers of Crane Poole & Schmidt to justice for the crimes that they commit on a regular basis. For instance, there's a whole lot of this going on:

§ 18. Fornication.

Whoever commits fornication shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months or by a fine of not more than thirty dollars.

ALM GL ch. 272, § 18.

And I'm pretty sure there's some of this too (surely someone on that show is married, or seeing someone who's married):

§ 14. Adultery.

A married person who has sexual intercourse with a person not his spouse or an unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with a married person shall be guilty of adultery and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.

ALM GL ch. 272, § 14.

Heck, it appears that under Chapter 272, § 26 of the Massachusetts General Laws, you can go to jail for up to a year for going to a bar with the intent to score.

But here's the one that they'd get Alan Shore with:

§ 36. Blasphemy.

Whoever wilfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.

ALM GL ch. 272, § 36

And they think Texas is backward because we still have the death penalty.

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Someone should go to jail for this.

As I'm sure everyone's heard by now, a terrorist organization known as "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" shut down Boston by placing bombs at major transportation hubs. Fortunately, the ever-vigilant authorities put the city on lock down until the situation could be diffused and the culprits arrested.

When the feds were trying to decide how to reorder things for The Post 9/11 World, my brother, who is an airline pilot, was forced to break the nail file off his nail clippers before he was allowed to take them on the airplane he was flying. Apparently, there was some concern that he might threaten himself with the fearsome, unsharpened inch long blade and force himself to fly the plane to Cuba or into a building or something. Or perhaps the concern was that a hijacker might break into the cabin and wrestle the nail clippers away from him. Whatever the case may be, the authorities in Boston have proved that they can be just as stupid as the feds.

Here's a picture of one of the "bombs":

Here's another:

And here is a video of the planing and execution of the crime:

And here are the perps expressing remorse appropriate to the heinousness of their actions:

As you might notice, these things are actually lighted signs. These signs are about a foot high. That thing at the bottom contains the batteries. You'd think that would be fairly obvious to anyone looking at these things, even from a distance. It should certainly be obvious to the bomb disposal guy who "disarmed" the first one. And having learned that the first one was not a bomb at all but a lighted sign, you might expect that they'd recognize their mistake and call off the bomb scare. But apparently they didn't, deciding instead to err on the side of caution.

Up to this point, the Boston authorities had merely demonstrated their stupidity, but that seems to be par for the course in all levels of governments' responses to the alleged threat of terrorism. But they couldn't content themselves with a bit of posturing about the need for extraordinary caution in The Post 9/11 World. They actually arrested the guys who put up the signs and charged them with a felony--planting "hoax devices."

Since the signs in questions are obviously not bombs and are obviously not intended to appear to be bombs, and are obviously not intended to instill fear in people of normal intelligence not suffering from mental disorders, it seemed impossible to me that hanging them from bridges or buildings or whatever could possibly violate a law against “hoax devices.” But just to be sure, I looked up the law, and here it is:

§ 102A1/2. Possession of Hoax Device.

(a) Whoever possesses, transports, uses or places or causes another to knowingly or unknowingly possess, transport, use or place any hoax device or hoax substance with the intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons shall be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "hoax device" shall mean any device that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such device is an infernal machine. For the purposes of this section, the term "infernal machine" shall mean any device for endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both, by fire or explosion, whether or not contrived to ignite or explode automatically. For the purposes of this section, the words "hoax substance" shall mean any substance that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such substance is a harmful chemical or biological agent, a poison, a harmful radioactive substance or any other substance for causing serious bodily injury, endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both.

(c) This section shall not apply to any law enforcement or public safety officer acting in the lawful discharge of official duties.

(d) The court shall, after a conviction, conduct a hearing to ascertain the extent of costs incurred, damages and financial loss suffered by local, county or state public safety agencies and the amount of property damage caused as a result of the violation of this section. A person found guilty of violating this section shall, in all cases, upon conviction, in addition to any other punishment, be ordered to make restitution to the local, county or state government for any costs incurred, damages and financial loss sustained as a result of the commission of the offense. Restitution shall be imposed in addition to incarceration or fine; however, the court shall consider the defendant's present and future ability to pay in its determinations regarding a fine. In determining the amount, time and method of payment of restitution, the court shall consider the financial resources of the defendant and the burden restitution will impose on the defendant.

ALM GL ch. 266, § 102A1/2

As I see it, there are two insurmountable obstacles to prosecution in this case:

First, there is no reason to believe that the devices were placed with “the intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons.” It's not even plausible. These things are signs.

Second, these things don’t remotely qualify as hoax devices. In order to qualify as a hoax device, it would have to be something that “would cause a person reasonably to believe that such device is an infernal machine.” The key word there is “reasonably.” The fact that the authorities in Boston chose to behave like a bunch of frightened schoolgirls (with apologies to frightened school girls everywhere) does not mean that a person could reasonably believe that these signs were “infernal machines.”

But, of course, the authorities could not admit that they were guilty of an absurd, hysterical overreaction and they had to blame someone. God forbid that a government official admit that he made a mistake. (Or maybe they just figure they can use the baseless prosecution as leverage to extort money out of Turner Broadcasting or the ad agency.)

But it’s one thing to fume about how the Cartoon Network was irresponsible, and how such things are inappropriate in this Post 9/11 World and all that nonsense. Arresting people and charging them with a felony they clearly didn’t commit is the only real crime here. At a minimum, whoever’s responsible for this gross abuse of power should lose his job.

But if there's any justice, the prosecutor who brought the charges should be disbarred and both he and the police official responsible for ordering the arrest, and whatever other decision-makers were involved in the decision to make the arrest should be fined $5000, spend the next five years in the state prison, and be personally required to pay all the expenses incurred by the city in responding to the "hoax." In other words, those responsible for this malicious abuse of power should receive the maximum sentence for the crime they falsely accused others of committing.

Too bad there's no justice.

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