Over the weekend, El Pasoans Robert Hendricks and Hector Navedo broke the world record for number of bowling pins knocked down in a 24-hour period; 30,537 pins to be exact, beating the previous 24-hour record by about 2,000. Congrats, kingpins.
Hoax of the Month?
Looks like Barnum and Bigfoot’s circus is about to go on tour. After recently releasing photos of what he claims is the beast he bagged, a Texas Bigfoot hunter says he’s soon taking the animal’s body on tour so Americans everywhere can believe with their own eyes. The story’s starting to gather national attention and definitely worth tracking.
The Austinist unearthed this gem of an ad, a grand display of eighties high fashion, which could once be purchased at the city’s still-present Highland Mall:
Neighborhood Watched — Dallas and Austin are starting off the new year with the kind of news communities like hearing: crime is down. “Violent crime has dropped 50 percent since 2003,” according to official figures given to the Dallas Morning News. “The downward trend continued in 2013, when murders fell to 142, down from 154 in 2012 and way down from 226 in 2003.” As for the capital, the homicide rate continues to drop with police coming up against only one unsolved case last year (out of 24), according to the detailed piece in the Austin American-Statesman. There are, of course, caveats. The extensive Morning News piece notes that there were “dramatic changes” made in the way crimes are reported, and Austin police “caution against drawing conclusions from the city’s homicide statistics in any given year because … the numbers fluctuate.”
Black Market Auction — Except for some pesky death threats, the Dallas Safari Club auction to sell off an endangered black rhino hunting permit went off with a bang. The lucky (and anonymous-for-good-reason) winner paid $350,000 for the privilege of shooting an “old, male and nonbreeding” black rhino that “was likely to be targeted for removal anyway …” How sporting! All the proceeds will go toward protecting the species, of which there are about 4,000 left, from non-auction participants. About forty people who had trouble coming to terms with the ironic but no less effective work of hunter conservationists, protested outside the event. As the AP story remarked, the herd “held signs and chanted. Most dispersed by just after 6 p.m.”
Cedar Fever! — It’s almost worst than Bieber fever, and if you live in cedar-filled Hill Country, it’s pretty bad right now. In fact, anyone who said, my cedar allergies ain’t acted up like this last century, would be absolutely correct. “Sunday the cedar count hit 13,340 gr/m3, Saturday it hit 16,765 gr/m3,” reported KVUE. “According to records, this weekend has some of the highest cedar levels seen in 16 years.” The pollen is so bad there’s video footage of it blowing off trees like the eerie swarm of all-natural death seen in environment-related horror films. Although, the worst part of this epic cedar fever are all the people complaining, incessantly, about their symptoms.
Dial ‘R’ For Reform — A sad story is making the national rounds but could ring in some actual reform. A Dallas man has “launched a national push to require hotels and other businesses to do away with dialing anything before calling 911.” The crusade’s tragic genesis was the emergency call the man’s granddaughter tried to make while his daughter (her mother) was being stabbed in a hotel room. The online petition not only had 390,000 signatures by Friday, but has the full support of the national 911 call-taker association.
Salty Waters— Residents of Sweetwater are hissin’ mad about the proposed state ban on “gassing” rattlesnakes. The practice of using gasoline fumes to draw snakes out of their hiding spots is a “six-decade-old” tradition, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in its highly entertaining piece on the subject. Part of Sweetwater’s harsh response has to do with the town’s hosting the “world’s largest rattlesnake roundup,” where the 25,000 attendees can get up close to the slithering beasts, about eighty percent of which are caught by gassing. The other reason for the town is baring its fangs is much more universal: preserving localism from outsider meddling. “People in Austin don’t understand,” said Sweetwater’s mayor, who also called the trouble-causing haters, “mainly of the Yankee variety.” As the mayor so wonderfully put it: “If they love them so much, I might just start a rattlesnake relocation program and send a FedEx box full of their favorite snakes to Massachusetts.”