Deux Amis—Amenez s’il vous plaît votre chéquier

September 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Nov. 3 -10 Exhibit Showcases Friendship Built through Art

When internationally renowned artist and sculptor David Adickes happened into Justin Garica’s contemporary art studio, neither artist knew that four years later the two would be working together to bring Houston an exhibit that celebrates friendship between artists—the relationships that inspire creativity.

“Deux Amis — Amenez s’il vous plaît votre chéquier,” a joint art exhibition featuring the newest works of both Adickes and Garcia, will be on display November 3 thrugh10 at Scultpturworx, located at 2500 Summer Street in Houston.

The public is also invited to the opening reception from 6-9 p.m on Saturday, Nov. 3, and the closing reception from 6-9 p.m.on Saturday, Nov. 10.

“The key to why we’re doing this show is the respect we have for each other’s work,” Garcia said. “After we met, had lunch and sort of measured each other up, we realized we saw eye-to-eye on a lot of the same things, which with artists, doesn’t happen often. We respect each other in this industry and the people we are outside of art.”

“Deux Amis” (Two Friends) will feature paintings by Adickes’ and Garcia’s Exploration series, which both focus on a their reverence for architecture. “We’re both trying to feel out the actual places we’ve been in our art,” Garcia said.
Garcia uses lots of textures to create an old world feel in this series. “I used to see buildings for use — you come in and you go out. But once I began to travel extensively, my eyes were opened to their grandness,” he explained.

The show will include a few new pieces Garcia has created that feature Adickes’ sculptures.

“I’ve always viewed David as an icon for his art but also as an entrepreneur and for his business ethics,” said Garcia. “A few of my new pieces communicate my respect for what he has accomplished.”
Born in Huntsvile, Adickes art career as both painter and sculpture spans six decades. His works have been featured in numerous one-man shows as well as in many museums, corporate and private collections.
The artist is well known for his grand-scale concrete sculptures of famous musicians, heroes and U.S. presidents. His 72 foot high statue of Sam Houston in Huntsville is visible for miles around. His paintings feature groups of figures, landscapes and still lifes. His signature figures, dubbed “the Adickes men” by biographer A. Cantey were later described as “stunning canvases that are painted with virtuosity that is compelling” by author James A. Michener.
A native Houstonian, Justin Garcia began painting murals for clients at the age of 12.  His signature style combines oils, acrylics and textures on canvas. He sees his art as the doorway to discovering the answers that lie behind our innate curiosity.

His works have been installed in corporate collections including Chevron, Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and St. Lukes Hospital – The Vintage in Houston, Westin Hotel – Memorial City in Houston, and the Mayor’s Conference Room at Houston City Hall. Garcia is currently represented by Wade Wilson Art Houston and Wade Wilson Art Santa Fe.

Garcia often donates to local charities such as the Arthritis Foundation, Artists for Haiti, San Jose Clinic, The Leukemia Lymphoma Society and The Houston Ballet. In 2009, he was created an art program for the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference where he taught abstract expressionism to more than 75 teenagers.
For more information about David Adickes, visit For more information about Justin Garcia, visit


September 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Are you alive? Are you sure you’re alive? Not if you are one of 72,000 Texans officially declared taking a dirt nap, bought the farm, expired, dead as a strip club in Waco. But this is just one of many problems Texans are having right now in trying to vote. Bring back the poll tax or the whites-only rule. (In 1927, Texas passed a law allowing each party’s state executive committee to determine who could vote in its primaries.) At least they were honest blockades between voters and the ballot box.

Let’s start with our members of Congress. A federal court has thrown out the transparent gerrymandering of Texas’ Congressional districts. You remember Tom DeLay’s successful attempts – until now – to re-draw our districts so that Dems would be defeated and GOPers would win. That plan formed districts running from Austin to Houston, from Dalhart to Fort Worth. Travis County is in three different Congressional districts. (The new plan would divide that county into four districts.) We also got four new Congressional seats. Anyway, that federal court’s ruling overturned a lower court’s affirmation of the appeal of the, uh, wait. I’m lost. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott lost, too. Who should we vote against? But the next time you write your member of Congress, copy the others.

Then we have our voter ID law. This fight tied up our state lawmakers forever, but we finally got one and, you guessed it, a panel of federal judges has thrown out the law as discriminatory. One problem was Abbott had a hard time finding one single case of voter ID fraud in Texas. And our new ID law wouldn’t touch voting by mail, unless we include our birth certificate, driver’s license and DNA sample. No wonder Abbott lost, again.

Then we have the aforementioned 72,800 dead voters. Last session the Texas Legislature passed a law unanimously – what? Unanimously? They couldn’t agree that Tuesday follows Monday — to clean the voting lists of dead people. So the Secretary of State sent officials of all 254 counties names supplied by the Social Security Administration’s master death file. The county officials, in turn, mailed notices to these dead men walking saying that their names would be taken off the voting lists unless they became alive within 30 days. They were legally moribund until they could prove themselves alert. Motto: “Be alert – Texas needs more lerts.”

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Don Sumners alone sent out 9,018 death notices and received hundreds of testy replies from voters who considered themselves rather alive. Sumners then announced that he wouldn’t implement the purge law until after the election. The Secretary of State’s office fired back that Sumners was violating state law and warned ominously of withholding state funds. After a confusing exchange of insults, the list was whittled down. As Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said, “This is just a mess.”

Even so, it looks like thousands of us are no longer living. I suppose we can show up on election day, put a mirror under our nose and breathe. If the mirror doesn’t fog up, we’re a fraud. Maybe bring a note from our doctor. I’ve got it: we bring a boom box, turn on the Irish Riverdance and jig our way to the booth. Go as GE or Viacom. After all, corporations are people, too, my friend.

All these needless complications are costing us time and money. How much? The AP has looked into the AG’s books – having to file a Freedom of Information Act to determine how much of our money our government is spending on what, which I find outrageous. Here’s what AP found: The Texas attorney general’s office has filed 24 lawsuits against the federal government since President Obama took office — litigation that has cost the state $2.58 million and more than 14,113 hours spent by staff and state lawyers working those cases. That figure includes $1.5 million-plus in salaries for state employees, nearly $250,000 in court costs and the travel expenses of attorney general’s office personnel, and roughly $1 million for outside counsel and expert witnesses. Many of these cases were lost, so we can only hope we win on appeal, which costs even more.

According to the AP, Abbott took office in 2002 and sued the federal government three times between 2004 and 2007 while fellow Republican George W. Bush was president. But under Democratic President Obama, Abbott has sued two dozen times since 2010. Sixteen lawsuits challenged environmental regulations.

So we have hired an army of state lawyers plus outside counsel and expert witnesses. We are attempting to prevent voter fraud only we can’t find any fraudulent voters. Our Congressional district lines are chaotic right before an election. We may or may not have thousands of dead people eligible to vote and not-dead eligible voters who will be turned away. At the same time we have cut billions for our schools, road-building and state troopers. We rank 51st behind every state and Puerto Rico in health services. We have virtually put Planned Parenthood out of business because we already have the nation’s third highest rate of unplanned teen pregnancies and want more knocked-up girls on our welfare rolls. We are the nation’s laughingstock.

Who’s running this state, anyway? Oh, right. Our elected guardians against waste and spending. It’s all a matter of priorities. I, for one, would gladly shell out $2.58 million to lawyers trying to keep some of us from voting and allowing our children to breathe acid air. Besides, for a lousy $2.58 million we could only hire another three or four teachers or perhaps a pollution cop. As for Attorney General Abbott, he wants to run for lite guv or the governorship itself. On what slogan? Maybe, “I’ll put the goober in gubernatorial.” Or: “Ambulance chasers without ambulances — no place but Texas.” “Greg Abbott – Texas’ Attorney Generous.”

I’m not so interested in voter fraud as I am in candidate fraud.

Ashby is alive at



Disney Cruise Line Arrives in Galveston with Texas-sized Fanfare

September 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

GALVESTON, Texas (Sept. 22, 2012) – Today, the Disney Magic arrived in Galveston, kicking off the Disney Cruise Line inaugural season sailing from the Port of Galveston. To salute its arrival to the Lone Star State, the Disney Magic donned a Texas-sized cowboy hat on the ship’s funnel as crew members and Disney characters waved from the upper decks of the ship. In 2012 and 2013, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Galveston on a variety of itineraries to the Caribbean and Bahamas, with some cruises taking guests to Walt Disney World Resort and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.



A joint art exhibition featuring David Adickes and Justin Garcia

September 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

WHEN:  Opening reception 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3
Closing reception 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday Nov. 10

WHAT: The exhibit will celebrate friendship between artists — the relationships that inspire creativity. Internationally recognized sculpture and painter David Adickes and contemporary painter Justin Garcia will exhibit their newest works at Sculpturworx, Adickes’ studio and gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

WHERE: Sculpturworx, 2500 Summer Street Houston, TX 77007.

Page Parkes new location

September 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs

Page Parkes Center of Modeling and Acting has opened another location in the Northwest area of Houston, Texas.

Page Parkes Corporation, the largest model and talent group in the Southerwestern United States, is pleased to announce they will be offering classes in Northwest area of Houston, Texas (home of Page Parkes currently). Classes are scheduled to begin in November 2012, with registration taking place now. Acting classes will be at 14149 Westfair East Drive- Houston, Texas 77041.
The Page Parkes Corporation keeps a home office in the galleria area of Houston, Texas which opened in 1981. The corporation presently includes Page 713, Page Parkes Center of Modeling & Acting, Page Parkes Management, Page Parkes Center of Modeling & Acting-Dallas and now offering acting classes in Cypress.
Page Parkes is one of the most respected model and talent agents in the United States and since the opening of her first office in 1981 has discovered, developed, and/or represented household names such as: Alexis Bledel, Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Eric Balfour, Jason Lewis, Brooke Burns, Hillary Duff, Tyson Beckford, Rebecca Romijn, Shantel VanSanten, just to name a few.
Page Parkes has been featured in the reality television show “Scouted” on the E! Entertainment Television network, where Page guides her models careers’ from the beginning and presents the models to top clients and agents in New York.


September 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

THE BED – From some far off distant land, before sunrise, there is a strange noise, a wail, a non-stop wakeup call. Oh, that’s my phone ringing. It is conventional wisdom that the phone never rings in the middle of the night with good news. So this must be information of something terrible. Maybe my children have been arrested, caught in a John Deere bailer, named Mister Tattoo of Texas or, even worse, are moving back in. “Happy birthday!” It’s one of my brothers. I glance at the clock, which reads 6:54, that’s in the a.m. The pre-dawn.

Like some people, I prefer to sleep late. This admission brings a condescending sneer from others. “Oh? (raised eyebrow) Stay in the rack till noon? How niiiice.” Or when the phone rings at dawn (my dawn), and the voice on other end questions, “Sorry. Did I wake you?” Sarcasm drips through the receiver. “Not really,” I reply. “I had to get up to answer the phone anyway.” The unspoken accusation from others is that those of us who consider midnight as lunch time and noon as reveille are worthless slug-a-beds who get more sleep than others; we are going beddy-by while the worker drones make the world go ‘round. That is a feel-good, self-pitying thought, but totally untrue. We all-weather night fighters get not a second more doze time, we simply take it at differing periods than most.

But how much sleep do we need; how much do we actually get? It depends on which study is studied. The National Sleep Foundation (yes, there is such an organization) says newborns up to 2 months old need between 12 and 18 hours sleep a day, although most new parents would say 15 minutes is the norm. Going up the age scale, the sleep experts recommend infants get 14-15 hours, those 5 to10 years get 10-11 hours, teenagers 8.5-9.25 hours and adults 7 to 9 hours.

But equally expert researchers at Mayo Clinic say school-age children, and they include teenagers, need more than 8.5-9.25 hours, but a good 10 to 11 hours. No doubt with the advent of iPads, e-mail, Tweeks, twitters and blogs, the average teenager gets by with a half hour’s sleep, usually taken during algebra class. The aforementioned National Sleep Foundation determined that just 25 percent of Americans get at least eight hours of rest on weekdays and that 60 percent of women say they often sleep poorly.

Lyndon B. Johnson was said to have only needed about four hours sleep a night, but he would nap. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was another non-sleeper. It was reported that the Iron Lady would sit up in bed late into the night reading official dispatches and reports, then would tick them off at cabinet meetings the next morning. When conducting experiments, Thomas Edison liked to brag that he slept little, but didn’t mention that he would take naps in his lab. (Little known fact: in the days before Edison invented the light bulb, people slept 10 hours a night. No kidding.)

Winston Churchill was a night owl, starting to work about 11 p.m., but he, too would nap, declaring, “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a notorious late sleeper. When someone observed that the early bird gets the worm, FDR shot back: “I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”

Here are a few facts to know before we doze off: when it comes to individual hours of sleep needed, the amount is as different as fingerprints. Also, we can save up or catch up on sleep on a regular basis. I have a friend who gets by on very little sleep Monday-Friday, then sleeps for hours during the weekends. Sleep deprivation can make you fat – your appetite increases the less you sleep – and increases the risk of diabetes and heart problems.

On the other hand, some research has found that long sleep durations (nine hours or more) are also associated with increased illness, accidents and death. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. So avoid watching TV, using a computer, reading or making model submarines in bed. Here’s a bulletin: “If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.” “Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.” Did we pay for these studies? Incidentally, you heard about the guy who dreamed he was eating giant marshmallows, and when he woke up his pillows were gone.

Back to those of us who sleep late, or try to. It seems that society frowns on such slackers. Outside interferences constantly intrude on our late morning snoozing: jury duty, doctor’s appointments, school buses with horns putting out decibels equal  to the QE II on a collision course, and garbage trucks. Is there anything on earth as loud as those diesel beasts? Garbage trucks produce engine noises that would put an Abrams tank to shame. They pick up cans, loudly dump them, then slam the cans down on the street. For good luck the trucks grindingly compact the last two blocks’ trash into a lump the size of an ice chest, and always do it right in front of my house. I know if I complained, the driver would ask, “You were asleep? How niiiice.”

One study found that night owls are more creative. Artists, writers, and poet laureates typically are on a high at night, only to crash near dawn and awake at the crack of noon. In one study, “evening people” almost universally aced a standardized creativity test. Their early-bird brethren struggled for passing scores. I liked that study, which I cited during my Nobel Prize for Graffiti award ceremony. Early worms in the audience approved.


Ashby snores at



September 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Sober up from the Olympics and turn to some real competition: the race between the Democratic and Republican parties to see who can stage the most boring national political convention. The nominees have already been picked, the platforms – which will be totally ignored – have been hammered together, the meaningless speeches of platitudes are written to say as little as possible, and 95 percent of the voters have already made up their minds. So why pay any attention? Because these two clambakes are the funniest circuses we put on every four years.

First, we must address the sites. The 2012 Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Florida, starting on Aug. 27. The thinking goes that whatever candidate is nominated in whatever state gives that candidate a boost there. It’s why the GOP chose Florida, the Hanging Chad State. Tampa strip clubs are bracing for a major business. An industry survey of previous conventions shows the Republicans (motto: Family Values) outspend the Democrats at flesh pots three to one — $150 to $50.)

The Dem gathering is set for Sept. 3, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Tar Heel state wasn’t picked at random, either. President Obama won the NC’s 15 electoral votes by just 13,692 votes out of more than 4.2 million cast. He needs a repeat performance. TV networks would prefer that both parties stage their conventions in the same town. It saves on moving those caravans of equipment and hair blowers.

Now let’s look at the conventions themselves. The first one was held by the anti-Masonic Party in 1832, which has, of course, maintained its stranglehold on American politics ever since. The longest was the Dem convention in 1924 which lasted 16 days and 103 ballots. During JFK’s 1960 campaign, he cited the dilemma of the Massachusetts delegation at that convention when making light of his own campaign problems: “Either we must switch to a more liberal candidate or move to a cheaper hotel.”

Where the delegates are seated is of prime importance. Obama’s home state of Illinois will be front row at the Dem convention. In honor of Romney, the Republicans will use their front rows for delegates from the Cayman Islands. Delegates from Texas, so red that politics is considered a spectator sport, will be lucky to even get into either convention hall. Funny hats and signs will abound. In Tampa, expect to see mittens – as in Mitt — like those We’re Number One foam hands they keep waving at sporting events. The donkeys will be waving Hawaiian birth certificates.

There are some tell-tale events and scenes to watch for. Who gets prime time TV spots? Obviously Obama and Romney, but who else? Not Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. Candidates in tight races who need the TV exposure back home will make a tape of their speech that will be shown 1,287 times in local commercials. George W. won’t be speaking. He won’t even attend the convention, which lets the GOPers off the hook. I mean, showcasing a person who left the Oval Office with 20 percent approval rating is a downer. LBJ didn’t attend the riotous, literally, 1968 Dem convention in Chicago. The party had quite enough on its hands what with Mayor Richard Daley’s cops beating the idealism out of anti-war protesters. I love the smell of tear gas in the morning.

Look for the time overruns. Officials at these conventions know the main reason we even have them anymore is the dwindling TV audience. So schedules are important, remembering the1972 Dem convention in Miami Beach which ran so long that presidential nominee George McGovern gave his acceptance speech at – get this – 2 in the morning. Snore. Look for Dan Rather being hustled off the convention floor, again, while yelling, “But those Air Force documents were genuine!” And note that every delegate will be texting, tweeting and staring at their iPad.

These conventions are a far cry from the old days. Television started covering the conventions in 1952. The six-inch black and white DuMonts would show Speaker Sam Rayburn pounding his gavel and running a well-organized program. Same with the GOP. It was “gavel-to-gavel coverage,” the networks boasted. And everybody watched, because often there was real tension in the air, and fist fights on the floor. We witnessed expectation, surprises and last minute deals.

Then, gradually interest waned. The states started having primaries earlier and earlier, so the candidates were pretty well chosen by the time the conventions rolled around. Like this year. Less and less prime time was given by the networks to the conventions. In recent years, the major networks have crammed the entire day into one hour. Still, no doubt C-SPAN will cover everything, while MSNBC will be all over the Dem convention and Fox will treat the GOP function like a space shot propelling Ronald Reagan.

Sometimes the speeches are so boring that the networks need Program Helper to pad out the dullness, so they turn to filler tapes: “Let’s look at the early years of the mayor of Minot.” Or the anchor cuts away to interview, uh, another journalist. “Tell us, Sherri Lou Betty Sue, what’s the sense on the floor of the Idaho delegation about the Chinese military buildup in Yellow Sea?” “Well, Brian, most of those said they didn’t know and didn’t care and were just here to party. Like me.” That’s what we’ll be seeing.

I’ve covered many a national nominating convention and quickly discovered that most of the delegates can’t hear the speeches. Meanwhile, the media are not in the press section in the main hall but in the press room, watching the proceedings on C-SPAN. The view is better, the drinks are stronger and the laptop is closer. It was in the press room at the Republican gathering in New Orleans in 1988 where we watched nominee George H.W. Bush speak, then we all jumped to our almanacs and GOP guidebooks while asking one another, “What’s a Dan Quayle?”


Ashby is conventional at














September 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

THE DEN – Being a current affairs junkie, my TV is tuned to the news channels most of my waking hours. This time of year the shows are all about hurricanes, which is only proper when your house is underwater, and not in the mortgage sense. Officially, the hurricane season starts on June 1 when the Red Cross tosses out the first doughnut, and runs until the end of November to make way for Andy Williams’ Christmas Special.

I don’t want to sound shallow – OK, bad choice of words — and uncaring, but isn’t this all getting a bit repetitious? First we have the breathless announcement of a low pressure area just west of Africa. We follow it until Hurricane Aarika slams into Scotland at which point we take up with Hurricane Baczkowski heading for Cape Town.

By the time a storm hits the U.S. it has been two and a half months in the news. Warnings on radio and TV plus the guy driving down the street with a bullhorn, all tell citizens to leave. But there are always, always, those who prefer to stay so that, while dangling below a rescue helicopter, they can shout, “I didn’t know it was coming.” Coast Guard and National Guard troops risk their lives, and our tax dollars are blown, in order to rescue the Neanderthals who are suddenly surprised that their house is flooding. I don’t say let them drown, but at least send them a bill. (To be fair, the BP oil spill was a disaster of a totally different type.)

There are several points we need to remember: The deadliest storm to hit Texas in recent years wasn’t a hurricane at all but the lesser version, a tropical storm. In 2001, Allison did $7.1 billion in damages (in today’s dollars) and left 23 people dead. Another matter: What if the GOPers had been partying on Bourbon Street this year as they have in the past? Pat O’Brien’s famous Hurricanes would have been more than a drink. And it will be a long time before the New Orleans tourism bureau makes its pitch to hold national political party conventions in the Crescent City at the height of hurricane season.

New Orleans, the Haiti of Dixie, is still recovering from Katrina. We can’t blame the New Orelansers (New Orelanseans? New Orley? Cajuns?) for being unprepared for the Big K. The dike broke, 80 percent of the city flooded, some places up to 15 feet deep. It was unexpected, especially by the Army Corps of Engineers, so we can’t get too upset with those particular evacuees. About 250,000 Louisianans came to Texas, and a lot stayed. Houston and other southeast Texas cities were praised for taking in the refugees. Not again. With the threat of another massive evacuation from the swamps, Houston and Harris County officials said they didn’t want another crime spree – a lot of crime was blamed on the Katrinians, along with school disorders. The welcome mat was pulled away. I, personally, think that’s a bit harsh, since New Orleans has helped Texans since Sam Houston went there for treatment on his wounded leg after San Jacinto.

It isn’t just non-Texans who race from storms. Fleeing both Rita and Ike, each time 2.5 million Texans headed inland — all on the same roads at the same time. I was in both. You never saw such chaos in your life, with the state government showing almost criminal inefficiency and ineptitude. Gov. Rick Perry still beat Kay Bailey Hutchison by 20 percentage points. Go figure. When the next storm heads towards Texas, the DPS and TxDOT work crews will be out in force. Then again, maybe not. The way our governor and state legislature have cut the budgets on everything (except their own salaries), we might see signs tacked on trees alongside I-10 and US 59 outbound: “Evacuation route – flee for your lives!” “No lifeguard on duty,” or perhaps, “Please line up two by two.” But no matter where you live in the state, it’s your tax dollars at work.

Guaranteed: Because of the hurricane, the price of oil, and the fill-up at your participating dealer, goes up. Another guarantee: Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, will be on TV more than Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Now a word about words. In 1953, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) decided that issuing press statements reading, “Hurricane 129 longitude and 67 latitude (or whatever) is gaining…” was too clumsy. Besides, TV weatherpersons have trouble differentiating between longitude and attitude. So the WMO switched to female names for Atlantic tropical storms taken from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. But  feminist groups including NOW protested that this sexist list suggested only women were tempestuous. (Stop laughing.) So in 1979 men’s names were added. Then in July of 2003, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Dem-Texas) protested that no African-American names were listed.

Wait. On TV some guy is moaning, “This is the sixth time we’ve been flooded out.” Again, not to be callus but year after year these same areas seem to be hit by flooding. How many times are our insurance rates going up and our taxes being spent to bail out, literally, the same places and people? Stop depending on the kindness of strangers, Blanche.

On the other hand, with these annual disasters, someone from, say, New York City, might ask the musical question: “Why would anyone live in such a dangerous place?” To which Jean-Pierre Thibedeaux would reply, “Why would anyone live in a place where you can walk alongside the Empire State Building at 9 in the morning and be one of nine pedestrians shot by two cops who fire 16 bullets at an alleged perpetrator 10 feet away?”

Final guarantee: Because of the end of the hurricane season, the price of oil, and the fill-up at your participating dealer, will go up. The need for heating oil is given as the reason, plus the advent of Andy Williams’ Christmas Special.


Ashby is drowning at


September 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Still time to register!
Online through October 3
or at Marmion Park in the Historic Heights on Rally Day

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Registration is open for the Houston Heights Association’s 7th Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt, to be held on Sunday, October 7, 2012. THIS IS NOT A RACE. Open to riders of all ages and designed as a casual self-paced ride, participants bicycle a course through the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Riders can choose between the classic 20-mile ride and scavenger hunt, or a shorter 5-mile ride and scavenger hunt for families—OR DO BOTH—starting and finishing at Marmion Park.

Each rider receives a rally map, rally card and scavenger hunt clue list. There will be one combination check point / water station mid-way on the course. The rally card must be validated by a rally volunteer at this check point in order for the participant to be eligible for prizes. Prizes are awarded to the riders who correctly identify the most mystery sights along the route.

After completing your ride, celebrate by joining us in Marmion Park for the Post Ride Party starting at 3:30 p.m. and Awards Ceremony at 4:30 p.m., with entertainment, fabulous door prizes, and great refreshments, including picnic fare, beverages and more!
The first 300 registrants receive a commemorative logo water bottle. Riders of the classic 20-mile route may start as early as 8:00 a.m. The 5-mile Family Ride begins at 2:00 p.m. All riders must finish by 4:00 p.m. to be eligible for awards and prizes, and must be present to win. All Kids riding the 5-mile course receive an award.
Packet pick-up will be at Marmion Park, 18th Street and Heights Boulevard, on ride day beginning at 8:00 a.m. (complete details on website and registration form).

ENTRY FEE SCHEDULE: Credit Cards are accepted.

Before October 3 October 7 (Rally Day)

20-mile Classic Route—$20 $25

5-mile Family Route —$10 $15

(Kids in bike seats are free)

INFORMATION: For more information or to register, call the Houston Heights Association at 713.861.4002, extension 6, or visit the website at or, where the registration form is available. Get answers to questions about the Bicycle Rally by emailing


September 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Not long ago The Wall Street Journal ran this line: “Boehner drew a line in the sand over the debt ceiling.” There was no further explanation in the WSJ about lines and sand, the editors obviously assuming the readers would understand the meaning.

President George H. W. Bush used the term at the beginning of the Gulf War in 1990: “A line has been drawn in the sand.” Then there are the song lyrics, “Long ago, I drew a line into the sand/Jumped across and held your hand.” The Texas Tea Party asks: “Where will you DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND FOR FREEDOM?” Tea partiers must like caps. “Why would the Republicans want to draw a line in the sand?” asked GOP guru Steve Schmidt on TV during the party’s recent convention.

I got to thinking that some sayings, curses and shouts originating in Texas have spread far and wide, while others never made it past the border guards. Take the sand line. If you are new to the Lone Star State, Pilgrim  – demographers say the Texas population is increasing by 1,330 a day! – then a brief explanation about the above quote, which is similar to Crossing the Rubicon. Some say the statement originated in 168 BC when a Roman Consul named Gaius Popillius Laenas drew a circular line in the sand around King Antiochus IV and said, “Before you cross this circle I want you to give me a reply for the Roman Senate.” Maybe, but probably not, since neither Laenas nor Antiochus could speak English.

No, as every Texan knows, the expression came from an action, but not a quote, by the Alamo’s commander, Col William B. Travis. With the mission surrounded and no hope of help from the outside, according to the legend, Travis called the Alamo defenders together, explained that defeat was almost certain. He reportedly pulled out his battle sword, used it to draw a line in the ground of the Alamo, and asked for volunteers to cross over the line and join him, understanding that death awaited those who crossed. All but one of the defenders joined Travis on his side of the line. Moses Rose was the only defender choosing to leave, and, no, he wasn’t the Yellow Rose of Texas.

Today, some deny the story, along with global warming and Hawaiian birth certificates. But as J. Frank Dobie wrote: “It is a line that not all the piety nor wit of research will ever blot out. It is a grand canyon cut into the bedrock of human emotions and historical impulses.” Journalists have a saying, “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.” In other words, if it didn’t happen, it should have.

Last March the Alaska Dispatch wrote: “Those who draw the Black Bean will mostly be ‘patriot-types’” anyway…” A political cartoon in 1904 showed potential vice presidential nominees wanting to run on the ticket with President Theodore Roosevelt lining up, blind folded, hoping to draw the black bean to gain the nod. Actually, the potential candidates should have wanted the white, not black, bean because the color of the legumes was the difference in life or death.

Unlike the line drawing episode, we know for sure this actually happened. In 1843 some Texans decided to invade Mexico (this was after 12,000 Mexican solders re-took San Antonio).The group, called the Mier Expedition, was a disaster. Of those captured, 176 escaped but were later recaptured. President Santa Anna, as usual, ordered them all to be executed, but instead a clay pot was filled with 176 beans – 160 white and 17 black beans. The white beans meant marching to prison. The black beans meant death. One out of every 10 was shot — literally decimation. Frederic Remington even painted a picture of the scene, or made a drawing of the drawing. Today most Americans know the meaning of drawing the black bean.

Every time there is a mention of the duties of the vice presidency, John Nance Garner of Uvalde is quoted. Garner had been a powerful Speaker of the House before becoming Franklin D. Roosevelt’s bored and powerless veep. Garner famously described the vice-presidency as being “not worth a bucket of warm spit.” Cactus Jack’s opinion lives on. Among other sayings around here, “All hat and no cattle” hasn’t crossed the Red River very often. “Dance with who brung us” has done better, and everyone remembers the Alamo.After JFK was assassinated in Dallas a Des Moines newspaper ran a cartoon, “Deep in the hate of Texas.” It never caught on. Davy Crockett had a good motto: “I leave this rule for others when I’m dead: Be always sure you’re right — then go ahead.” He also said, “Aw, come on, Travis. Who’d attack a church?”

“Houston, the Eagle has landed” has made the cut. But when the Bayou City gets in trouble, newspaper headline writers can’t resist, “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” Or “you’ve got a problem,” depending on location. If you told a New Yorker, “He was rode hard and put up wet,” you might get a strange look, but you probably made your point. “One riot, one Ranger,” is debateable. We say we are “fixin’” to do something, which has nothing to do with repairing. GTT is understood around here, but has to be explained elsewhere. Does “Who shot J.R.?” qualify?

Lastly, a couple of interesting items in regard to Texana. David Robert Haywood Jones was a British singer who wanted to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees. So David Robert Haywood Jones changed his name to David Bowie, not for the man but for the weapon, which he called “the ultimate American knife. It is the medium for a conglomerate of statements and illusions.” Huh? And the one person believed to have the largest private collection of Alamo artifacts is another British pop singer, Phil Collins. He keeps the stuff in Switzerland.

Ashby quotes at










September 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Benefiting Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy and
Scholarship Programs

Tinseltown – Chaired by: Patti Murphy and Rachel Regan

More than 325 vendors from across the country participate in this 32nd annual holiday shopping extravaganza offering unique gift items for the entire family, including: home décor, gourmet, garden, clothing, toys, candles, sporting, novelties, accessories and more!

PREVIEW PARTY: Wednesday, November 7
7:00 – 10:30 pm


Thursday and Friday, November 8 and 9
10:00 – 9:00

Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11
10:00 – 6:00

Reliant Center, One Reliant Park, Houston, TX 77054


ONE DAY PASS: Tickets good for one day admission only during November 8-11. No repeat admission.

· $13 each at Nutcracker Market

· $12 each at Houston-area Randalls beginning October 15

· Half-price admission three hours prior to closing

· Children under 6 are free

· Group Rate: $11 each for groups of 20 or more (must purchase in advance)

FOUR DAY PASS – $40 each:

Tickets are good for repeat admission all four days and early 9:00 am admission on Thursday and Friday.

Special Events: All Special Events tickets are good for repeat admission all four days and early 9:00 am admission on Thursday and Friday.

* Wells Fargo Preview Party – Chairmen: Katrina Arnim, Gabriela Dror, Caroline Kenney, Pattie Dale Tye and Susan Vick

Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 7-10:30 pm
Tickets start at $175