Archive for the ‘austin’ Category

11 goals for 2011

  1. Read more about the 11th president of the US, James K. Polk and learn anything about the 11th Vice President George Mifflin Dallas. Most of the latter will be watching a TV show about a paper company founded by a distant relative, Dallas.
  2. Meet Alton Brown or Tony Blair who are both cute and would both be excellent at selling grape juice.
  3. Play a game of mini golf at Peter Pan Mini Golf in Austin.
  4. I’m going to Washington D.C. in July. My goals for that trip: visit Colonial Williamsburg (and be disappointed and angry), visit the NMNH or NMAH and  take a tour of the White House and meet President Obama’s dog.
  5. Break in new hiking boots by revisiting the McKinney Falls State Park and trying to stop calling it the McKinley Falls State Park. And to stop asking the rangers what William McKinley had to do with Texas.
  6. Win a game of Scrabble or Scramble on Facebook. Remain undefeated at Word Challenge and never believe it is actually a game meant for people younger than myself.
  7. Visit the LBJ ranch and Texas White House.
  8. In December I watched Tron Legacy and I loved it. My favorite parts were the dialogue and Michael Sheen’s character.  In 2011 I will finally watch the original Tron.
  9. Revisit the (Good) Bush Library before August so I can look at dresses worn by former FLOTUS and former White House Press Secretary Allison Janney.
  10. Commit to memory something eloquent and impressive to recite at fancy parties like the Gettysburg address or an episode of Arrested Development.
  11. Get invited to fancy parties.

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If you’re looking for something to do in Austin between now and December 17th, check out the exhibit of Diana Walker‘s photos at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The CAH is next door to the LBJ Presidential Library; both are free. You can also visit CAH online and listen to Walker discuss her photographs. I recommend watching this one. Here are a few of her photographs.

Bob Dole and Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan and Flopsie the Hat

George H. W. Bush in Saudi Arabia, 1990

Bill and Hillary Clinton

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The Texas Book Festival in Austin is next weekend and ALTON BROWN, my favorite Food Network personality and one of my top 25 favorite humans, is going to be there. However, I am going to be at the wedding of two friends in Houston. It’s a little awkward, as I did tell everyone Alton Brown was going to be my date.

I have 30 stations on Pandora, most of which are for show, because I only listen to the one titled MUSICALS!!

This is a great song to wake up to (obvs).

I started rereading A Tale of Two Cities after listening to a guy maligning the good name of Dickins and forgetting if I should be outraged about that or not. I’m also doing some knitting.

After years of voting in Houston and getting nothing as a reward except a high five from myself, I might actually get an I Voted sticker from my new county. That’s what really matters.

Have you seen the Burger King breakfast commercial on Hulu that lets you insert your name into the ad? I’m ashamed to say I found it momentarily enjoyable to hear my name in a commercial. I accepted that it had Elizabeth and no Elisabeth, but then I saw that it has an option to put Cynthia or Synthia. I mean, seriously, Synthia?

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Since moving to Austin this past May, I have become a regular visitor to the Austin Public Library. Given the wide selection the library has due to its extensive branch exchange program, I’ve had almost no need to purchase books. However, a handful of books this year have been given a permanent home on my bookshelves. Most were Nixon biographies that came from my sister, but a few came from the Book Exchange, a used bookstore in Austin.

The greatest new (non Nixon) book in my collection is called For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington by Reagan’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Donald T. Regan. Finding it was a better argument for bookstores and capitalism than the author or his boss could ever give. And Reagan was always praising local bookstores.

Knowing that most of you are very particular about which Reagan cabinet memoirs you read, you might be asking, “Was this book as well received by critics as it was by this blogger?” Was it ever. One word reviews of praise decorate its front page; Business Weekly declared it “Explosive!” while Fortune called it “Deadly!” More words on included on the front and back pages and they all make as much sense if you think about the Reagan years enough.

Longer reviews in the first pages reveal that this book is going to get to the heart of his animosity towards Nancy Reagan, a shocking first considering the wonderful friendships between other first ladies and secretaries of the treasury. In a word, “He seriously hated Nancy Reagan,” Time magazine. Time  actually called the book “Jarring!” but like anything from Time it is all about reading between the lines.

Another inside review claims this book isn’t just the story of a Treasury Secretary and the astrology loving lady he loved to disagree with, when that’s only the first two pages. Or the other 31 pages that mention astrology. But astrology isn’t what makes this book so Deadly! and Explosive! The real culprit is tax policy.

I will post an entire passage from the book here, so you can witness for yourself just why USA Today called it (this is the best one word book review of all time) “Spicy!” Warning: this may be too spicy for weaker readers.

“On March 15 we would decide which kind of income tax system to pursue. By June 15 we would have a detailed analysis of the tax base, with particular attention being paid to deductions and credits. We would also have an analysis of special rules for special industries: oil and gas, real estate, banking and all the others who had benefited from tax breaks. By October 15 the complete tax reform package would be ready in outline form. And by November, we would go to the President with our final recommendations.”

Spicy indeed. Just rereading it made my eyeballs burst into flames. I haven’t read of a tax reform package this caliente since the night Eisenhower spilled a bowl of his famous five alarm chili over his speech on tax legislation recommendation..

Speaking of hack writing, the book also includes a variation of my favorite line from any movie with a president, “He’s the President of the United States. He commissioned the report!” I can only hope that future presidential movies add those last four words. At least they will be included when the inevitable movie version of For the Record is released.

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