Remember John Friend, the Houston-based yoga guru whose empire fell after accusations of financial mismanagement, Wiccan sorcery and unacceptable romantic affairs? Well, the Houston Press has a very readable and extensive follow-up on the man who has since resurfaced in Denver. For a refresher, be sure to read Texas Monthly executive editor Mimi Swartz’s 2012 piece, “Downward Dog.”
Infographic of the Day
The don’t-move-to-Austin contingent is getting aggressive. Exhibit D: This new infographic explaining all the reasons moving to the en vogue town will suck for you. These reasons include the non-existent public transportation; all the half-naked, ridiculously pretty people; and lack of viable relationship-ready men. Conclusion: “Dallas and Houston are amazing … you should move there.”
The Drone Zone — Yesterday, researchers at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi began filling the friendly skies with the kinda-creepy buzz of remote-controlled drones. Welcome to the Brave New World! It’s all part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s newish (and tentative) rules allowing a few civilian organizations to operate machinery once under the sole purview of the military-industrial complex. “Texas is among six states designated by the [FAA] to develop test sites for drones,” according to the AP story, “and the university is supervising 11 sites throughout the state.” The test sites are the “FAA’s way of gathering data to deal with privacy and safety issues.” And if the public outcry late last year (given a lovely bird’s-eye view by Texas Monthly‘s Rachel Monroe) is any indication, those “issues” will be as difficult to navigate as a drone in a rain storm. Or, hey, everybody could just get used to it. Like bluetooth technology—confusing, weird and used by annoying technophiles but ultimately harmless.
Nothing’s Inside — It has not been a good week/month/year for Plano-based J.C. Penney. On Wednesday, the once-mighty king of middle-class comforts announced that it will close 33 stores and cut 2,000 jobs. “The closures are expected to save the company $65 million annually beginning this year,” according to the Dallas Business Journal, though the axe won’t fall anywhere in Texas. Perhaps thinking that they’ll be popular with retro-chic-loving hipsters, one store will open in Brooklyn later this year. If you really want to know why J.C. Penney is failing worst than a sandal sales in winter, look no further than the breakdown by Texas Monthly‘s own Loren Steffy. Short answer to what went wrong: “Pretty Much Everything.”
Hall Passed — Though it probably won’t mean a darn thing to the legislators trying to impeach UT regent Wallace Hall, lawyers hired by UT issued a report saying the embattled regent didn’t violate student privacy laws when he obtained and later shared student records with his own lawyers. The charge is/was about only crime legislators could really pin on Hall for his alleged and very annoying “witch hunt” (or, if you like, judicious investigation into political cronyism and favoritism). Although he’s refused to appear before the House Select Committee deciding whether or not to recommend impeachment, the new details could make for a feistier testimony than Robert De Niro in Guilty By Suspicion.
Presidential Dogfight — America’s largest piece of murderbilia may go through an interesting custody battle. The LBJ Foundation is vying to bring the Boeing 707 on which Johnson was sworn in (and Kennedy’s body was transported) to Austin. The only problem is that the plane on display in Ohio, and Buckeye legislators, along with the Air Force, don’t want to hand it over. While the foundation chairman did say, “We do not want an adversarial fight,” according to the AP, the back-and-forth has already taken an odd, passive-aggressive tone. An Air Force Museum spokesperson said moving the plan would ruin the “holistic display” of “an unbroken continuum,” while the Ohio politicians, a U.S. representative, and senator said moving it out of Ohio would mean fewer visitors. In response, former Lite Guv Ben Barnes said Austin was a “a superior location [than] a town in Ohio.” Which is, of course, undeniably true of any Ohio town.