Friday, August 24, 2007

I feel sorry for the Midwest. Not. They are whining that "Mother Nature has been really cruel to our state" as a result of all the flooding. I bet that when Texas was receiving its 38 inches of rain they were saying, "I'm glad its them and not us." When Tropical storm Erin dropped ten inches of rain on my backyard, they probably said, "That's why I would never live along the Gulf."


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is it just me, or do the talking heads on the the TV news seem depressed that Dean missed the United States? As late as yesterday morning, one San Antonio weatherman was still saying, "Once Dean gets into the Bay of Campeche anything could happen and the storm could come our way" even as all the computer models were predicting landfall in Mexico.

And on the morning news, one reporter almost moaned about how weak the storm was when it came ashore, "For the resorts, Dean was just a windy rainstorm."

Are they actually hoping for catastrophe and municipal inefficiency on the scale of Katrina and the City of New Orleans? Apparently so, only Texas news outlets seemed to report that Governor Rick "Merck" Perry sent 1000 school buses, hundreds of fuel tanks, and the National Guard to the coast to prepare for a possible landfall. Instead, the national news was reporting that the levees in New Orleans will still overflow, but only in the poor areas of town.

Oh, and they squeezed in news that Prince William was back with his Girlfriend and trying to ditch the media. Good luck with that, Willie.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back to local politics.

With the "No Chains on Main" ordinance sure to pass, I began wondering about a strip mall at the edge of town. They are doubling the size of the mall, and I wonder what is going in there. Could it be a chain? Something to get the locals to abandon Main Street so the tourists could have free reign?

While there is no doubt in my mind that tourism has been good for Fredericksburg, it has also been bad. Habitat for Humanity homes were built for $40,000, and appraised for $125,000, meaning that affordable housing in Fredericksburg is becoming an oxymoron. Our "beloved" mayor campaigned on getting more affordable housing. He said he would get Realtors (who don't make as much money selling affordable housing) and builders (who don't make as much money building affordable housing) to form a committee to investigate affordable housing. That's like putting a committee of foxes in charge of investigating chicken coop security. At his second Town Meeting (which he said he would hold regularly, which, apparently meant once a year) he said, "There is no affordable housing in Fredericksburg. Next question." Nice to see a politician live up to his campaign promises.

Tourism brought in people who wanted a piece of the Hill Country bad enough that they would pay any price to have it. One bedroom one bath homes with no heat or air routinely sell for a quarter of a million dollars in the historic district. Then they are remodeled into 30,000 square foot "Fuck You" homes. (A "Fuck You" home is a house two or three times bigger than the surrounding homes that push property values into the stratosphere. We also have "Fuck You" subdivisions at the edge of town. One of them is a gated community, 'cause Fredericksburg crime is so rampant.) A recent report showed that 60% of the Hill Country Memorial Hospital employees do not live in Gillespie County. Why? Too expensive. It's cheaper to live in San Antonio and commute 2 hours each way to work than to live in Fredericksburg.

The other thing tourism has brought us is a Main Street geared to tourists. Where to the locals shop? At the edges of town, where chains are allowed: Wal-Mart, Bealls, Walgreens, Blockbuster, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Mr. Gatti's, Dominoes, Game Stop, and more. I'm sure the CVB would happily make people move from Fredericksburg so there would be more homes to convert to B&Bs and guesthouses for the tourists to use.

As we make Fredericksburg more and more of a tourist destination, I have to wonder, what is left in town for the citizens? High tax rates and minimum wage jobs kowtowing to tourists who, because they're on vacation and you serving them, think they're better than you? More people who move from Houston and Dallas and commute to jobs in San Antonio and Austin who spend a lot of their time telling locals that if things were more like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio or Austin, Fredericksburg would be a better place to live, and who think they are better than you if you disagree?

Lord, I hope not.

I miss my hometown.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Are you Autistic? Here's a quiz to find out. The higher the score, the more autistic tendencies you have.

I scored 27 out of 50. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. . .


Monday, August 20, 2007

Thank Bush! (Since he is the source of all evil in the world, if what I read on the Internet is true. And I am thanking him for causing Global Warming. If Gore had been President, we wouldn't hear about Global Warming. Just like we stopped hearing about Homeless people while Clinton was in office, and they suddenly reappeared when Bush was elected. But I digress.)

Global Warming sent a tropical storm Erin to Texas which had the added benefit of thwarting the Stingray Invasion of the Gulf Coast that has seen 14 people injured. With the coming of the storm, the stingrays are moving out to deep water.

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed on September 4, 2006, the first casualty in this global invasion. On October 18, 2006, an 81 year old Florida man survived a stab to the chest by a stingray. Then on November 29, 2006, the stingrays made another drive towards Australia, stabbing a third man in the chest. In January of this year, a New Zealand man was stabbed in the arm.

To paraphrase Kent Brockman of The Simpsons: One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the stingrays will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new aquatic overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted blogger, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underwater food caves.