Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All Politics Is Yokel.......

Okay, I think I may have stolen the title here - from one of my heroes......from one of his Texas Monthly columns. But I'll deviate here, and rather than follow Kinky's storyline, try to show how the title he chose for his piece, is undoubtedly applicable in the little microcosm that is Victoria, Texas. Far be it from me to interfere with the aims or aspirations of would be candidates in the world of Victoria political hopefuls, but I can't help but laugh out loud at the joke a few of the Advocate bloggers are playing on each other and their riveted readers. It seems that the diminutive dark one who calls himself Bigj, has agreed to debate on camera, another blogger, whom I know very little of, but based on the small amount of his posting I have read, is as least, educated, articulate, and showed up when they taught spelling, literature, grammar, and speech. It also appears at this early juncture, that both aspire to public office in the Crossroads area.
Now while I must plead ignorance on Matt Ocker, I will say that I have what I think is a pretty good grasp on the public persona that is big.....er.....little j.
For the life of me, I cannot actually envision such a debate ever taking place, because I feel that if j has a lick of sense, he will never follow through with showing his face, or filling out any forms required for candidacy for any office, that requires using his full name and address and making that public record. I say this because if I had just spent a year plus, name calling, belittling, and threatening a host of total strangers, in the illiterate, grammatical disastrous suicide manner that he has, I'd already have moved to Montana, to start a dental floss farm, under a name worthy of the witness protection program........

Don't get me wrong. Seeing this proposed debate on viral video, linked to one of these backwater blogs, with bigj being filmed trying to verbalize the ignorant, illiterate, hateful shit he cranks out in print, is a wet dream come true for me......and many others I suspect. At this point, I would have to say that their plan to do this, is a joke or a fantasy at best. I seriously doubt that even the Victoria Advocate, and it's Facebook Twitteranian editor would be in any way party to airing such a farce as this. Jesus, I hope I am wrong...........in a way.........If a video of bigj's antics ever hits YouTube...........who knows. It's a pretty strange world we live in. And if I think it's strange, well............
What we have here.........is failure t'c'mmunicate. For some reason, this little troll has been inspired by seeing a reasonably educated black man with a line of bullshit a mile long, with a Muslim name actually chosen over a white war hero as president(that says a lot for what Bush left in our hearts and minds, huh?) to fantasize that he, totally unaware that he is a bigjoke, and actually might despite his horrendous command of the English language, have any grasp what so ever of the way government works, and actually get on a ballot.......sheesh.

Deep Six Club........

.......nah, not time yet. She told me about it later, when I asked her what possessed her to...... at sixty feet (three atmospheres) no less. I Googled it as "deep six club", to an array of results, none remotely close to my own experience. All I know, is that despite my education and understanding of gas laws, and the physiology of diving, somehow, I didn't emboli, pneumothorax, or suffer any ill effects, other than a momentary elevated heart rate. I told my friend and dive buddy Rafael about it later.....to his disapproval(circumstances best left out here). I eventually would have told Captain Felix, but the son of a bitch drowned on another trip to the rigs before I had a chance to.......damn shame, because he was just off balance enough to have appreciated my experience. Sometimes you have to take a chance......and sometimes you fall on your face, then others things come out o-Kay. A recent trip to the South Pacific has made me long to dive again.......with my young sons though. I think I will chalk this one up as a once in a lifetime, "you had to be there"(but I'm glad you were not) story..........

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Generations of Music - The More Things Change.....

........the more they stay the same huh? Now, please allow me to qualify what I am about to say. These are the words of an old rock and roller, and a seasoned concert goer since the bands touring were groups like Strawberry Alarm Clock, and ZZ Top was still known as The Moving Sidewalks. I grew up on be-bop late fifties and early sixties pop. When I as my son now has, became enamored with anything that had a steering wheel and four tires, I was fortunate enough to be swept up in the Southern California born hot rod and surfing craze and the music that accompanied it - Beach Boys, Jan and Dean sufr pop, and the real deal as well, which was Dick Dale, the Chantays, and the Ventures. Mind you, I grew up in coastal Texas shrimping country, so my teen pop and rock, was seasoned with a dose of a then flat topped Willie Nelson, with a salt and pepper sprinkling of George Jones and Charley Pride. My first live shows were local garage bands, who worked their butts off learning Van Morrison's "Gloria" or "St. James Infirmary", or they were beer joint Saturday night country cover bands. I suppose I was fortunate to have fled Victoria for Austin in time for the '70s music revolution. My tribe arrived there about the time The Armadillo opened, which coincided with the arrival of the "Cosmic Cowboy" phase of music, which thrives there to this day. I doubt the Austin-Dillo bunch honestly thinks they coined the sound of country rock, as with most other innovations those days, it came first out of Cali, with the young genius and Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons leading the charge, and being the driving force that launched the Byrds, The Flying Burrito, Emmylou Harris, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks.........just to name a few. That said, I think the genre of music was, and still is being tuned, tweaked and perfected in Austin Texas, and was all started by Eddie Wilson and Jim Franklin, and the bunch at the old AWHQ, and the groups like Michael Murphey, Willie, Greezy Wheels, Jacky Jack Walker ........

Now I will get to my story, for those of you still reading.........

I have been going to rock shows since 1966. I love music, it is a gift I have received and given many times. I couldn't count the number of shows I have seen, songs I have Audiogalaxied or Napstered, if I wanted to. As much as I enjoy listening to music though, the real joy for me is seeing it performed, preferably by the person who wrote it. I heard Shawn Phillips probably do the best job of putting it into perspective. He was referring to recording and performing his songs, and he said "I can go into a studio, and given the time and money, make a perfect record every time". If you have heard his music, I think you'd be inclined to agree. But then he said "the real trick is to be able to stand in front of an audience and reproduce that sound live"......again, I know for those of you who have been fortunate enough to see one of his shows, and hear a beautiful thundering orchestral crescendo drop yo you could hear a pin drop silence in the blink of an eye, you know what I mean........

I think one of my favorite aspects of seeing truly amazing concerts, was the evolutionary process of the music of the chosen few who made it big. Like those who were fortunate enough to see The Beatles do a club show in Liverpool, and now greying, go back and see a jaw dropping Paul McCartney show. By comparison, my early years were seeing The Moving Sidewalks in Port Lavaca, then ZZ Top at Sun Valley, then to see them be picked up as an opening act for the Stones, and finally to see them sell out an arena as headliners. The most consistent place I was able to watch the evolutionary process begin, was without a doubt at Armadillo World Headquarters Give the performances there a look, then browse the whole website. You are in for a treat. Those lucky enough got to see a struggling, but powerful New Jersey Band there before a whopping crowd of about 175. Next time I saw Bruce Springsteen was just a couple of years later at the Erwin Center - stuffed to the rafters......I could give you such examples forever, but I'll cut to the chase here.

I think my nightclub of choice for the present, has changed from the bars, to now being Austin City Limits - then catching the acts I saw first there, when they do the arena or stadium shows. That would be the change to which I alluded. The "staying the same" part, is what validates my love of music and live shows. The gal pal and I, and my boys 12 & 14, went to see Coldplay a few weeks ago - at The Woodlands. For me anyway, the joints have been replaced by a glass or two of chardonnay(hey, at least my shirts don't get holes burned in them by exploding, flaming seeds), and while stomping and clapping for an encore remain in fashion, now a sea of cell phone lights have replaced the Bic lighters as the visual display of approval from a crowd. The shows are amazingly unchanged, in that eye popping visual special effects still mark the high points of shows, only the technology has become exponentially better. Much of the old customs of concert going remain, including all in the car getting revved up listening to a CD(instead of an 8 Track, or cassette tape of the band) on the way to the show. I don't make as many of the shows as I once did, but I do try to take my boys when I go. My girl pal is thirty years younger than I, so when we go to shows with the kids, we are basically three generations of concert goers sitting on a blanket on a hillside, doing exactly the same thing I did thirty some odd years ago at Hill On The Moon, watching Thirteenth Floor Elevators in a field outside of Austin. I can deal with that! What a treat, all of us focused on the same music, grinning ear to ear, and my 12 year old just staring in amazement listening to "Clocks" and seeing the lasers trace the night sky out in the Piney Woods! I am indeed lucky to have seen my tastes in music and performance, remain the same for so long, and even more so, to know that I can enjoy it with two generations of people who mean so much to me at my side.

I reckon that is another thing that's changed - that never could have happened with my dad and I. As much as I owe him for instilling the love of music in me......I just can't imagine ever having gone with him to see Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, or Perry Como or Jim Reeves live........On the other hand, I guess it would have been pretty cool to have seen Chattanooga Choo Choo done live in a smoky bar.....watching the old man beaming like I do when my boys go to a show with me.

That makes for a nice picture in my mind. Far out!

The Law of The Garbage Truck....

Like most of you, I get forwarded e-mails, chain letters and various spam crap in my mailbox on a daily basis. Truly, 99% of it I glance at and nuke on the spot, and I rarely if ever pass it on to ten people, and sit back and wait for the winning lotto numbers to appear in the clouds within ten minutes. This one was a bit of a profound one I thought. I got it from Bird Dog Billy - one of the original readers and commenters on what was very enjoyable and gratifying blog for me to write as part of - The original blogger group on the Victoria Advocate website, before the carpetbagger editorial staff that now runs it arrived.

Funny, as I read this, at some point, it quit being words on a page to me, and became the voice of my brother-in-law telling the story, as he has said the same thing to me a few times before, just with different words. However you take it, it is hard to argue with the logic............

The Law of the Garbage Truck By David J. Pollay

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving
in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space
right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and
missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his
head around and started yelling at us.. My taxi driver just smiled and waved
at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you
just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the
Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full
of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.
As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes
they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and
spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom
line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the
people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't..

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!
Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

Thanks Billy - I needed this. I have been having such issues with the folks who jacked my daily paper. Hopefully I can learn some patience from these words.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good Vibrations - Or Pre-Conceived Notions?

We just got back from a short vacation in southern California.....like a month after just getting back from a vacation in Maui...... I must say, that both were a bit of an eye opener for me. I guess I should say that reluctantly, because a few years back, the same scenario occurred for me after a couple of trips to New York.....Manhattan, to be more precise. You see, I as probably many of you, embarked on all of these adventures, eyes wide open, but laden with stereotype images of each place I visited, and while this post only deals with California, I must say, that in each case, the images in my mind, were not only dispelled, but shattered. Do not get me wrong, I love my native Texas, but the bubba mentality and perception of California, at least as has been my experience, could not be farther from what I found.
Yeah, yeah, I have heard the jokes......"Cali is like a bowl of granola - full of nuts, fruits and flakes".....uh has anyone read the Victoria Advocate lately?......or The Chronicle? Or The Dallas, New Jersey Morning news? I rest my case. There are freaks, geeks, cheats, tarts, old farts, young turks, and televangelists everywhere. Simple as that. You want traffic? LA has it......at the far west end of the Katy Freeway.........you want a ghetto? Take your pick - East L.A., East Houston, East St. Louis.......

Now may I brag about what I found in Orange County, on the beaches from NewPort to Huntington Beach, to San Clemente?(no, Tricky Dick was nowhere in sight). What I found was one of the healthiest, most alive places I could have imagined. All buff bods, beach babes, and golden haired surfer dudes? Hardly. I found an Austin with an ocean. Fat guys catching waves on their forty year old longboards, alongside teeners ripping it up on short boards, skateboards, and moms and dads with the brood in tow, just down for a day in the sand and sun. I saw myself renting and riding a Pee Wee Herman style coaster bike ten miles on the boardwalk, and just like on the Seadrift seawall, I saw Mexicans tossing cut bait out for anything that would bite that could be taken home for dinner, and I saw gringo fishing "scientists" with big bucks rigs, hoping only for sea bass, and halibut(or maybe they said they were just fishing for the "hell of it" (the surf was loud).

The fact of the matter, is that despite the preconceived notion I had in my mind about California, that it was after all, a validation of all of the dreams and images in my mind I had as a fifteen year old, listening to Surfin' USA, and Little Surfer Girl, and Little Deuce Coupe on my transistor radio in Seadrift or on the bus to ball games. The city is the city.....which like most big cities, sucks out loud. But the place the girl and I chose to visit, was everything we had hoped for, and that I dreamed it would be, and more. It just dripped healthy, wholesome, and friendly, and the locals and the storekeepers, innkeepers, and everyone else we encountered, were anything but O.C., pretentious, Hollywierd types.........will I go back? You bet, as soon as I can, with my kids in tow next trip. Hell, who knows? If they are as smitten with the place as I was, maybe they'll move there, and I'll have a place to crash when I go out to surf and ride my bicycle a decade from now.........

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Past and Present Cross Paths........

Thanks to bigj, I actually believe. After I posted my last little jab at bigj and his host site, the Victoria Advocate, and published the piece, I got an advertisement by Google on the next page, for "insults" at Laugh.com.

Briefly years ago, in my travels, I crossed paths with the rock group "Spirit", and got to know their road manager, a fella named Marshall Berle. Nice guy, and there is a much longer story to that one, but I'll save that for another time. Many years later, I contacted Marshall, and discovered that he had started his own website for comedy, called "Laugh.com".......Marshall called me later and told me of the drowning death of Randy California, in the rescue of his child from a riptide on the surf off Hawaii. Still saddens me to recall hearing that news. I liked Randy and his step dad, drummer Ed Cassidy as well. That's it, I just found it ironic that after a whiney assed post about a couple of obnoxious insulting blowhards, a website ad for an old friend, Marshall Berle should appear in my view and make me smile. As an afterthought, I would be willing to bet Marshall's uncle would be very proud of his nephew's contribution to comedy. You might have heard of Marshall's uncle - Uncle Miltie.........yup Milton Berle.

I'ma Let You Finish Kanye, But............

......they's a guy I know of(I think it's a guy - it hides behind photo avatars of everybody from Malcom X, to Superman and even LBJ)....as I was saying though, this boy makes you look like a rank amateur at interrupting and insulting folks. In fact, he won't even offer up a fake apology, as you and Venus are now attempting......

In the course of any given two hour span, he can offer insults, threats, taunts, and merciless name calling on up to five or six different blog subjects and a multitude of other commenters walls. To give you an idea of how smug he is in his tirades, he said and I quote him here: "People's dislike of me increase my confindence."
As you can see, you two have at least one thing in common.......your grammatical prowess and that y'all don't both write pretty good too. If you should care to have a look at his handiwork, hop over to his kingdom, the Online Victoria Advocate. I won't link him here, but you can't mistake his "work" for that of another. A few people occasionally wonder why he is tolerated on that site, but another blogger, EdithAnn I think, probably hit the nail on the head when she surmised that he is kept as a necessary evil, due to the fact that his presence and writing almost makes two or three of the staff writers there, appear to be literary giants.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Career Kamikaze......And a Confession of Sorts

This is one of those stories I can write that might actually be acceptable for my boys to read. I have so many yet "on hold", that they probably need to remain shielded from for a while yet. This one does not involve Texas Rangers, indictments, or a midnight meeting with a boat or a plane. Just a good old fashioned story about learning things the hard way. The other stories will have to wait a while or be told in the second or third person.......

Why DO kamikaze pilots wear helmets? Probably the ones that do, fit the colloquial definitions:(1. said of exploits, missions, etc: suicidally dangerous or 2. foolhardy, reckless), and are safe in the knowledge that while they shouldn't be attempting a particular feat or adventure, that that little voice or driving force is gonna win anyway, so a helmet probably is warranted.

Do any of you have kids that take that approach towards having fun and well, life? I'm batting .500 in that department - .333 if all three of us boys are averaged in...... My oldest is the one who calculates risks and studies possible outcomes. He's the one who, when I am trying to defend my driving, slam dunks the conversation with "but dad, you smacked a train in broad daylight".(he's also the only one of the two who's had a broken bone, but in all fairness to him, the little one gave him the push) Hard to argue with that one.
My baby,(11)on the other hand, is the one who'll grab my hand and jump, no questions asked, and then get down to working on a landing spot and if necessary, "plan B" with me, cool as a cucumber. Mom mans the medicine cabinet and the E.R. transportation,(so far it's been just her driving for the most part - she's only called for an ambulance once - for me after a motorcycle exhibition gone wrong) so consequently, in most cases, she insisted on driving on our family excursions.
Works for me. Freed me up to look out the window with Buford and take pictures.....
I took out my skis this weekend, (I love my skis)in preparation for the next four or five months and some anticipated road trips to the "Land of Enchantment". They looked great, but upon closer inspection revealed some surface rust on the edges. Time for a run to the ski shop for re-edging and a hot wax. That made me think of a time once long ago in Austin. Another "kamikaze" experience if you will....... I have somewhere, an old pair of Bauer or CCM hockey skates I liked almost as much as I do my skis. I worked a second job as a guard on the ice at the Ice Age rink in Northcross Mall, played hockey VERY briefly, and mostly just enjoyed skating. One night after we resurfaced the ice, and even before the door had closed on the Zamboni, I hit the ice nad made a mad dash, at full speed, the length of the rink. My then wife, was standing behind the boards and plexiglass at the opposite end of the rink, and my plan was to barrel up to just shy of the wall and hockey stop about a foot away from her, spraying the glass with snow/shaved ice. What I failed to mention here (and also failed to remember in the heat of the moment and at the height of my testosterone fueled charge), is that I had had my skates sharpened that day. Anyone who has ice skated or played hockey will know that to initate such a spectacular stop, all that is required is a subtle flick of the hips and a lean and a twist into it. What I also overlooked was how fresh edges & new ice act in concert. In so doing, let me just say that in executing the ever so slight hip flick maneuver to pull my stunt, absolutely nothing happened. I hit those boards in an explosion of flesh, denim, hair and plywood in what to anyone looking, had to have all the appearances of a man/boy in a full bore, effort at ending it all right then and there. Oh, and I crumpled and fell like a garbage bag full of vanilla wafers too. As I recall, I then pulled myself up, opened the door and vanished down the stairs rather than take a victory lap in front of the crowd who, if they hadn't seen it, they heard it and came running from as far away as The Drag and Antone's. God, I am so happy that I had the presence of mind not to yell "hey y'all, watch this" just before I pulled the pin on that one. I really do try and impart the wisdom I have gained from incidents like this over the years, to my boys and to any youngsters who will listen. Problem is, when you're under thirty, and the adrenalin is pumping and you really know better, there's always that little voice........."go ahead, YOU CAN DO IT"......

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Little Revolution of Sorts

Well, the last couple of days have certainly been interesting for myself and a few other current and former Vicad bloggers. I think in a cranky moment, I probably forced the hand of the questionable "editors" at the "paper"........I basically begged them to pull the plug on me, and they did. That's not all bad, though the behavior I exhibited online with them was like less than acceptable, by anybody's standards. I kinda took the Popeye "that's all I can stands, cause I can't stands no more" tack I guess. I had a long run with them, and for the first couple of years, the format was enjoyable, and the stable of accepted bloggers, was a respectable bunch, with a couple of esteemed writers, a slew of rookies, and a good cross section of readers and commenters, some of whom in time, took the initiative to start their own blogs, and in a few cases, do a damn good job as well. It's too bad the management and editorial staff of the Advocate couldn't hold up their end of the deal, but rather, brought in a really clueless editor, followed by a few of his pals, who in my estimation, turned out to be a bunch of carpetbaggers, with little if any, grasp of the local culture, history, or what their long time subscribers and readers wanted in a newspaper. Basically, they brought in a geek team, with a Myspace/Facebook, freaking Twitter mentality, and supplanted over the course of nearly three years, everything and everybody that had made the Advocate what it was. I suppose we will see in the long run, or sooner, if my estimation of the mess there is accurate. I will say, that as it had finally devolved to, I and apparently some others will say good riddance, to the pitiful new bunch that is sinking the ship, and good luck to the remaining old guard who are in such a cover their own ass panic mode, that they sit idly by and watch the fiasco unfold and cower to the carpetbaggers, because they hold the hatchet. For anyone who questions my assessment of these preppie wannabe newspapermen, I urge you so sit in on some of their sophomoric commentary and clueless to the fact that are being broadcast live silliness, to go here at ten oclock, any weekday morning:
Feel free to monitor these dweebfests and report back to me, and particularly to them. Get involved. It is an interactive netmeeting. I'll be lurking to see......
My task now, is to try to shed this grouchy attitude that came about as a result of this de-evolution of a paper that I was raised reading, and finally allowed to write in on occasion, and try to rediscover the pleasure and gratification I derived from telling an occasional story, or sharing an opinion, and reading the comments and reactions of those who read them.............
The part I will not miss, is some of the johnny come lately jerks that showed up after Mistuh Cobler turned the forums into a free for all wankfest, and instituted a set of rules, then totally disregarded those rules and rode roughshod over the flock, indiscriminately nuking and banning any and all who challenged his horseshit dictator editorial style, and worse yet, took a couple, three of the old guard folks and instilled the fear of God in them, regarding their employment/retirement possibilities, and dragged them down to his level.
I'll be fine......and I will continue to blog here, and hopefully, will give this burr in my ass a dose of merthiolate and forget it all. I will be watching and waiting though, for the day when those Kansas/Colorado boys' "let's hitch our star to the hispanic angle" bunch act finally wears thin and circulation falls to the point that the owners give them the boot. I only hope it happens before they decide that it's a better plan to just throw in the towel and close the doors and turn out the lights.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mistuh Cobler......as J Would Say

Just an FYI. IMHO, this newspaper is a joke, and your comment about being a free agent soon, may come sooner than you think if you and your cronies don't get serious about putting some quality and some THOUGHT back into what graces your pages and if your online circus continues in the direction is is headed. I was once proud to have been chosen as one of the original bloggers to grace the pages here, and hoping against hope that the nightmare of the Myface fustercluck you have created, would eventually raise some flags and scare the owners into reigning you in. Having been removed a second time, is proof enough to me that you are spineless and clueless as far as what sells as news and how to gather and report it without duping your readers into doing the legwork for you. I'd ordinar1ly close with "good luck", but I honestly hope your run of luck runs out soon, and that the Advocate is restored to it's past status as a respected regional publication, rather than continue to be ridden into the ground by a bunch of wannabe internet geeks who come cheaper than actual newspapermen (and women). To have been ousted by your henchmen for a second time feels a lot better than it did the first time. Almost a validation of sorts. Enjoy your little literary circle jerk with your boy who can do no wrong. A token you wanted, a token you got. He'll be the cause of your ultimately being dumped too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kicked Out Of Hell - What's Next

I almost feel a bit silly, even writing this........but I was canned by a small town south Texico newspaper as a blogger, after almost six years of writing for them, and seeing the paper go through a handful of software upgrades, and a transformation from a respected locally published daily, that rivaled the city rags for content, columnists. and generally a good morning read, to a tabloid type publication, with a Myface style blog and comments forum that opened it's pages to an really wide range of daily posters. While for the most part, the folks blogging, though waaaaaay too many, were reasonably benign and actually in a number of cases, very informative and entertaining, there was one or two, who made it their mission in life, to monopolize the bandwidth and basically create in one case at least, a bully pulpit, tolerated, if not feared by the wimp editorial staff, due to it being penned by a boy of color, a token blogger if you will.........whose every word was combative or hate laced, yet in the eyes of the pale ranger editor of questionable credentials, a midwest yes man, who surrounded himself with like types, or struggling interns, who was actually afraid to take steps to limit or criticize the posts of said token blogger. Damn shame actually, because I honestly believe that in the long run, said token blo.......gger, and the aforementioned editor will both be unceremoniously stripped of their respective "duties" and will be looking for a new gig as well......
The Victoria Advocate was once a really good regional daily newspaper. Could be that rather than rcover, it will just go the way of so many other papers.........only at maybe an earlier date than it might have, had the owners not nade the fatal funn.......er, mistake of hiring the breadbasket shyster, "let's draft citizen reporters to do our work for us" bunch that is at the helm of thier hellbound train. No big.........I live in the city.......I have the Chronicle, The Times, the Morning News, and the WaPo all available at the local newsstand. In Vic, they have only the dying Advocate........well, there is a better paper available......for those who'll drive to Port Lavaca to pick one up........