Those Mayans Don't Mess Around
This post would be better if I had a picture (or maybe it wouldn't). We took I-35 up from San Antonio yesterday abandoning our plan to drive 281. What a beating. Traffic was very slow to leave San Antonio and going into Austin was a nightmare. (I suppose that tollway around the city would have been a better idea, huh?)
Mrs. LL was soundly asleep (even through a gas stop) as we approached Waco. Finally, we were making good time despite thick traffic. As I got to the crown in the road I was greeted by a ton of red taillights and smoke. I had time to stop, but it wouldn't be gentle. I even went onto the shoulder in anticipation of the person behind me not hitting the brakes in time. Safely executed.
That smoke I had seen had only been the remnants of an 18 wheeler locking up its wheels to avoid the suddenly stopped traffic. That wasn't the reason for the standstill, and no damage had occurred because of it. As we slowly began to move (and after Mrs. LL and I got into a minor skirmish because of my refusal to ever cross over a grassy median to avoid traffic), we finally made it up to the accident scene.
I'll do my best here to describe it. It was in the inside lane and, if I had to be recreated, picture what would happen if there were seven cars and SUVs in a narrow tunnel traveling 70 mph bumper to bumper when the first in line slammed on its brakes. That's exactly what it looked like. They were perfectly lined up and vehicle after vehicle was crushed. There was one smaller car in the middle that had to have been reduced to 75% of its original length.
It was hard to tell, but I don't think anyone died. But the number of people out of their cars in addition to the police and medical personnel made up quite the crowd. Up about 200 yards from the accident site there were two to three other damaged vehicles in the right shoulder which I suspect got damaged by cars dodging the pileup but still getting damaged. It was quite the scene.
I don't have any big moral to the story other than to think that if I had been up the road by a couple of minutes, I would have been right there in the middle of it. Good thing I had to go to the bathroom when I stopped to get gas.
(For the life of me, I can't find a new story on the crash. It was around Belton and occurred in the middle of the afternoon on Friday. Shoot me a link if you find one.)
at 7:52 AM
They didn't rank the top stories, but it's not a bad issue compiling the news of the year. They even had a "fun with numbers section." Did you know Wise County had 11 marriages occurring on 11/11/11? And if they only had "Random Girls" think what the number would be here . . .
at 7:21 AM
- That was really fun last night. Insane. But fun. 67-56 was the final.
- I'm in lobby that offers free breakfast. I had no idea that the Batton Death March crew was staying here. Long line. Everyone scarfing up stuff like they are starving.
- It's a nice hotel, but they allow dogs?
- The Riverwalk at Christmas is beautiful.
- I thought I saw Baylor's women's coach Kim Mulkey eating lunch yesterday. She glared at me for staring at her. Definitely could have been her. I made Mrs. LL go back and get a picture. I'll post it later. Edit: Here it is. Honestly, I think that lady maybe younger than Mulkey.
- We ate inside on the Riverwalk for lunch? Really. I pouted.
- The Aggies behind us last night were very funny. Young guys. Having fun. Their bit was to do a loud "growl" sound whenever Baylor did something well.
- That was like an Arena league game last night. I'm not sure I'm that proud to win it because I don't think football was meant to be played that way.
- But I'm still happy.
- The drive down was traffic free. Amazing.
- I think I'll take 281 home since it's a Friday.
- There's basically no police presence on the Riverwalk but everyone is well behaved. You'd think there would be incident after incident (how could you not push someone in the river during a fight?)
- Mrs. LL has never seen the Alamo. Amazing. We're going to run by it before we leave. Funny thought: Wouldn't it be a perfect reflection on government if they charged for it? No way.
- With Baylor being in town, I bet this is the most Caucasian the Riverwalk has ever been.
at 8:48 AM
- Politics: Ron Santorumis is on the rise a week before the Iowa Caucus according to a new CNN poll? It's musical chairs in the GOP. Musical chairs played to the Benny Hill theme.
- Politics #2: The Drudge Report pointed to a column last night suggesting an Obama/Clinton ticket could be a genius move for next year's election. Boy, is it. I could see Hillary doing it because it sets her up perfectly for her run at the Presidency for 2016.
- Overnight: Two teens died in Springtown when a truck they were in smashed into a mobile home which was followed by flames and explosions.
- Regular salt sprinkled onto tomato juice sinks. Garlic salt does not.
- Fox 4 had a story this morning of how a family donated five goats to Newark to maintain grass and weeds on city property. The city accepted.
- UT struggle for a while with California last night? On August 31, 2003, I was driving away from my girlfriend's apartment and turned on the radio to catch the fourth quarter of Baylor at California, the first game of the year. Optimistically, I waited for the score only to hear that California was up 70-15. Yep, 70!
- So don't blame me if the posting is a little slow today as I'm off to San Antonio to watch the Bears in the Alamo Bowl tonight. It's not a National Championship game, not a BCS game, not even a New Years Dayish kinda game. But we're going to enjoy ourselves, stay along the Riverwalk, and enjoy what should be a great day.
- This is being posted automatically because if we aren't on the road already, something has gone horribly wrong.
- I promised Mrs. LL breakfast at Sonic if we could get on the road at a certain time. That's how a high roller like me works.
- The releasing of white big balloons at dusk in the memorial service depicted in the photo below was pretty touching when I saw the video of it.
at 8:30 AM
When did all the metroplex DAs go crazy?
RIP Tim Curry. You would have never allowed this. (Curry is the former long time DA of Tarrant County who died in 2009).
Edit: Someone pointed out that I post "And Another" pics of individuals who have not been convicted. Yeah, but they are hot women. That's obviously acceptable. Law school 101.
at 2:30 PM
I just gave a passing glance to the story that Citibank was suing Dallas DA Craig Watson for $15,000 in credit card debt. Yep, credit card. Then I saw Watkins explanation on the Dallas Observer website.
Before Watkins became district attorney in 2007, his private law practice, bail bond company and real estate title company jointly ensured that his wallet was padded. His paycheck was relatively large, he says, and his lifestyle included proportional luxuries. He and his wife invested heavily in real estate. The $15,000 he owes Citibank was pocket change back then, he says, but things changed when he was elected district attorney.
His salary was slashed, and the real estate market took a nose-dive faster than his and his family's lifestyle could adjust. "I had three strings of income which are gone," Watkins says. "My lifestyle at the time correlated with those strings of income."
Baloney. Your lifestyle was disproportionate to your income. That's how you ended up with $15,000 in credit card debt.
Watkins was a spare defense lawyer in Dallas when he ran for DA on the Democratic ticket in 2006. In still one of the most shocking elections of all time, every incumbent Republican in Dallas County was thrown out of their county wide office and every Democrat won. For example, there were 41 county judicial races that all became Democrat. The DAs race was no different. Watson was no Super Lawyer with a big political machine behind him. It was demographics.
And, of course, he wouldn't have thrown his hat in the ring for his now paltry salary of ..........wait for it.......$187,666 a year (before perks.) And how's he supposed to pay off $15,000 after he has been in office for five years?
at 1:25 PM
- Fox 4 rolled tape the morning on a TxDot camera that had locked onto a vehicle stalled on I-30 because the producer expected they would capture video of a wreck taking place. He got it. Oh, my.
- Gov. Rick Perry announced he had changed his position yesterday on abortion by now declaring it is unacceptable even in the case of rape, incest, or even if the life of the mother is in medical danger. I don't know how you can be pro-life and not have that position. Every life is precious.
- Texas only ended thirteen lives this year by lethal injection. That's the lowest number in a decade and a half. Only eight people were added to death row.
- You would have thought the Messenger would have a least written a short feature on the death of Paul Geiser -- long time Wise County DPS Trooper and, later, Sheriff's office employee.
- The NFL Pro Bowl selections were made yesterday. What a joke. By the time those selected decline to play because of "injury" or other reasons, at least 30 replacements will be named "pro bowlers" as well. That always increases the number by well over 50%.
- The Family Cat did the put-a-Christmas-ball-in-water-bowl trick again last night. It's a huge water bowl which makes it look like she wants to put a beach ball in a hot tub. The cat's a playa.
- There's a huge generation gap on this Peggy Railey story. If you listened to the radio this morning, you could tell who was too young to remember it -- and they seem dumbfounded on how it was such a huge story in DFW.
- I had forgotten that Walker Railey took the stand in his own defense at his trial. I'm a fan of that.
- Railey was defended by Doug Mulder who had once been a prosecutor under the now infamous Dallas DA Henry Wade. Between Peggy Railey's death and Walker Railey's trial, he would become the focus of criticism for his wrongful prosecution of Randall Adams as documented in The Thin Blue Line.
- The DA's race in Williamson County is getting tense.
- The Aggies learn what their SEC football schedule will be at 10:00 a.m. today. The move to that conference may not seem like a good idea at 10:01 a.m. Edit: Oops. That was eastern time. Here's the schedule.
- Came home yesterday and saw Mrs. LL watching Oliver Stone's JFK. Later in the night, she was reading Stephen King's new book, 11/12/63. It's going to be a long conspiracy year.
- Hi-Toneness or quality entertainment?: There's a ton of buzz and positive reviews about The Artist -- a new silent movie filmed in black and white. There is already Oscar talk.
- Is it time for post-Christmas depression yet?
- An Arlington police officer was convicted of child sexual abuse a few years back and was given probation. When it was shown this week that his probation had violated, he was sentenced to prison. His violation? He failed to do all of his community service. If you think it is incredible that someone on probation wouldn't do his community service when he knows he can end up in prison for failing to do so, go to your local courthouse.
- It is absolutely shocking the number of people on Facebook that explain away the Grapevine Massacre by simply saying, "The killer was a Muslim."
at 8:38 AM
Photo from nursing home in Tyler years ago
Texas Monthly graphic when it ran a story
In 1987, the wife of the Walker Railey, the minister of The First Methodist Church of Dallas at the time, was strangled in her own Lake Highlands home. After almost 25 years in a vegetative state due to the attack, she has died. The only evidence implicating her husband was, if I recall correctly, was a lie about his location when he left a message* on his home answering machine from his cell phone on the night she was attacked. Yep, that man had a cell phone in 1987, and the police tried to use radio towers and triangulation to put him in the area of where he was when he made the call. (*Edit: That link also contains the suicide note he wrote for himself that I had forgotten about.)
But even with no real evidence, the Dallas DAs office (no stranger to convicting people with insufficient evidence) tried him for attempted murder. They never stood a chance and he was acquitted.
This case is so old that when the Dallas Observer did a 10 year anniversary story, the author was Laura Miller. (She has since come and gone as Dallas mayor.)
I last referenced Walker Railey in 2006 when he was spotted in some newsletter in California (and I said at the time I thought I spotted former Messenger's publisher Roy Eaton was in the photo as well. I was kidding, but it looks like him.)
Edit: This 1989 account of the crime is really good. It includes the full text of the mobile phone calls (and, man, I wish I could find the audio of them.)
at 2:13 PM
Sahra Zarei, 22, her father Hossein Zarei, 59, and his wife and the shooter's sister-in law Zohreh Rahmaty, 58.
The picture from Channel 8 accompanied a story entitled "Gunman In Grapevine Murder Suicide Had Past With Police." As you get to the bottom of the article, which basically is a rehash of the story, you come to this: . "The Grapevine Police Department said they are working with other area departments who 'had dealings' with the gunman. Details of that history were not released." Well, thanks. (But the story does have some pics)
As for the picture, I think that's the Gaylord Texan in the background.
at 12:57 PM
Full story (with lots of background) on the man who challenged Texas' anti-homosexual conduct law. Interestingly, he first challenged the charges that he had engaged in any act and claimed he was sitting 15 feet across the room from another man when police entered. It sounds like it was his lawyer who came up with the idea to challenge the statute on constitutional grounds.
And you know what? The law, § 21.06, is still in the Texas Penal Code because the Republican majority never wants to go on record of having voted for its repeal (even though it is no longer enforceable.)
at 9:03 AM
- Fort Worth PD went a while without having one of its own arrested for DWI but that ended over the weekend. Throw in a little firearm play as well and they may be trying to ratchet it up.
- I'm struggling with a cold but it's the kind that Advil Cold and Sinus can keep at bay. I can feel the second that that stuff wears off.
- You've got to be a huge tech fan to know who Leo Laporte is, but a technical malfunction in October on one of his webcasts revealed an affair that Gawker finally outed last week.
- I'm not sure where I read it, but I subscribe to The Love Bank theory (with units both being deposited and withdrawn) when it comes to a relationship.
- I watched the Hot Tub Time Machine over the weekend. Made me laugh more than I expected (but I wasn't expecting much.)
- The biography of Steve Jobs should be the bestseller of 2011 if the three new copies of it I saw at one gathering on Christmas is any indication.
- Katy Perry in a Christmas bikini. Hey, now.
- WBAP newsman Brian Estridge referred to President Obama as "Barry" this morning while reporting on his Hawaiian vacation. Man, at least hide your political disgust.
- Whenever I see someone make a video call over a cell phone I think of The Jetsons. Then I think if technology is like that now, what's it going to be in 50 years? Hologram calls?
- That horrific Christmas day massacre in Grapevine is being referred to as "the worst murder in the city's history." Duh. That mass killing matches even the Dallas record of six who were shot during the Nightclub Murders of 1984. I wonder what the Texas record is?
- Watched an old episode of Six Feet Under yesterday and was surprised to see Pam from The Office have a bit role.
- NFL notes: (1) Here's more proof positive that Dez Bryant is as dumb as a box of rocks; (2) Jerry Jones got criticized for confronting Jason Garrett in the first quarter of the Eagles game, but if Garrett was goofy enough to want to send Romo back in the game, someone needed to do that; (3) Jerry yesterday on The Ticket: "That was Jason's decision but he didn't need to be making it by himself" -- that's some unintentional comedy; (4) How would you like to have spent all that money for tickets to that Christmas Eve Cowboy game only to learn it was meaningless because of the Giants' win?; (5) No way Dallas wins this weekend; and (6) Current color commentary guy Jon Gruden spares me to death.
- Skeptic in me: Want to have a merry Christmas? Fake a burglary, call the cops, call the media, put a crying kid on camera, and then wait for the sympathy replacement gifts to start rolling in. (Start watching for it on local news: It's a recurring theme.)
at 8:36 AM
And there were hardly any details available because it happened on Christmas Day when newsrooms were vacant.
The twist today is that the shooter was, they say, dressed up as Santa. I'm wondering how much of that is shock value.
Edit: Best I can tell, Channel 8 was the first to name names. Fox 4 obviously knew who the gunman was in time for the 5:00 pm broadcast (they showed his house), but didn't name him for some reason.
at 11:22 AM