During the past week, I've visited two very different venues - Blanton Museum of Art in Austin and the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall. I was drawn to the art museum for its "Witness" exhibit, "a look at the '60s civil rights movement through art". This touring exhibit was as diverse as Richard Avedon and Andy Warhol pieces to a half-century old video of Nina Simone singing "Mississippi Goddam" about the racially-based murders in the South. While the art was all new to me, I was surprised at how much of the angst of the time period was in my memory bank given that I was 7-12 years old at the time.
A few days later, I was feeling city fatigued, and decided to take a road trip out to hill country to the LBJ Ranch. While I thought this would be an interesting hour or two, I literally spent 6 hours between Johnson City (founded by LBJ's cousin in the 1800's) and the ranch, 15 miles further west in Stonewall. Besides the physical beauty of the 600+ acres of property, and touring the "Texas White House", I was (again) immersed in the history of the period. My impression of LBJ was the man who was the "Vietnam President"; the guy from Texas who took over when our beloved Kennedy was shot. I had no idea that he was quite liberal and wanted to build "a Great Society" by fighting poverty and discrimination; nor that the Acts passed during his time were pro-education, arts, and wilderness protection. I was a bit stunned by my long-held impressions of this man.
Strangely, in this day of 24/7 media, I was also taken by an audio display. Between 1963 and 1969, LBJ secretly recorded roughly 800 hours of telephone conversations. At this display, you can listen to actual conversations he had with Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nixon, and many others. No PR; simply conversations about major issues of the time.
FYI ... click on first photo to enlarge as slideshow & to read captions.
I guess not!
Every day that I rose at 6:20 to head to my IRS job, I asked myself, "Why? Why?" Yet, in a matter of days, I had the answer.
It was to meet my new compadre, Martha. Like me, she's a freelance writer who has a short-term goal of making some cash-ola and moving on! She also sees the world differently than most, has a sarcastic sense of humor, and the vocab to put it into words. We met on day one, and the rest will be history.
Less than 2 weeks ago, we decided to take the show out of the compound, and headed to SoCo for a Saturday night cruise. From institutions like Guero's (what fun!) to The Continental Club (we don't pay covers), we drank, we ate, we laughed. By night's end, we landed at Radio for a few beers and last call!
Flash forward a week and I'm saying "so long" to the IRS (6 weeks was good, thank you!), but Martha's still talking to me! Stay tuned as we take this show on the road next Saturday.
SIDEBAR: I was stunned on my last day at the IRS as my co-workers surprised me with beautiful flowers, a chocolate cake, and a card filled with heartfelt sentiments. It was a short visit but sweet after all.
Shockingly, it is mid-April, and I am planning my Austin departure for mid-May so panic is setting in. I now have 16 items on my "to do in Austin" list! as well as two side trips: hill country and San Antonio. So, this past Monday, I was feeling sick (of going to work) and took a day to catch up on life (auto registration expiring!), and to begin my life as a tourist vs. temp Austin resident. While I planned my start at The Texas Capitol, after a cold one & nutrition at the Austin Ale House, I literally stumbled upon some sites. Photos tell all. In 1-2 weeks, I go into total Austin tourist mode so stay tuned!
Fact About Crows
Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found
over 200 dead crows near greater Boston recently, and there
was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu.
A bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows,
and, to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was definitely
NOT Avian Flu. The cause of death appeared to be vehicular
However, during the detailed analysis it was noted that varying
colors of paints appeared on the bird's beaks and claws.
By analyzing these paint residues it was determined that 98% of
the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2%
were killed by an impact with a car.
MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if
there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of
truck kills versus car kills.
He very quickly concluded the cause: When crows eat road kill,
they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of
They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout
"Cah", not a single one could shout "Truck."
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover