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February 27th, 2002:

Road fees

Fritz Schranck has some good stuff about how we pay for roads. Check it out.

I Am Not A Crook

Jeff Skilling denies all in his testimony to the Senate. What a scuzzball.

This is my favorite bit:

In Tuesday’s hearing, Skilling clashed with senators over his stock sales, repeatedly blamed auditor Arthur Andersen for signing off on questionable accounting transactions, and told disbelieving lawmakers he could not recall receiving $5.6 million in bonuses from Enron.

Compare this to the redoubtable Stephanie Dupont:

Now for my one political thought that the whole world can click on. I once won $1000 in a Super Bowl pool. God bless the Cowboys! I remember that like it was yesterday. How come Jeff Skilling can’t remember getting 6 million dollars?

You said it. Hell, when I was 10 I won a football helmet in a neighborhood raffle. That was over 25 years ago, and I still remember it. Skilling lies like a cheap rug.

Coming to a neighborhood near you

Wendy’s International has bought a 45% interest in Houston restaurant chain Cafe Express. Cafe Express is a “fast-casual” restaurant. Watch that phrase, I think you’ll be hearing it again.

Cafe Express is Wendy’s first investment in the fast-casual restaurant business. The term “fast-casual” refers to a growing market in the industry, combining the casual dining of a restaurant like Chili’s or Friday’s with the self-service, walk-up concept.

Robert Del Grande, president of Cafe Express, said he was told by Wendy’s CEO Jack Schuessler that the fast-casual market is “just beginning. It’s teeny now, but it’s going to be huge, and he expects it to grow exponentially.”

I’m actually surprised that there isn’t more of this already. I don’t know if Houston is a trendsetter here, but we also have Eatzi’s for high-end takeout, and the Amazon Grill, a single-location competitor to Cafe Express in the “fast-casual” market. Good food, low prices, quick service – hey, Virginia Postrel, is this The Future or what?

Trying to understand Amy

Last night Tiffany and I watched Judging Amy, the Amy Brennerman vehicle on CBS. T has seen a few eps, but I’d never watched it. It wasn’t bad – decent writing, good cast, and Tyne Daly’s a hoot – but I was scratching my head at the ending.

Amy spends the episode in a funk, partly because the guy she most recently went out with (and apparently slept with, though this wasn’t clear) hadn’t called for four days. She mopes and makes with the man-hating and then at the end of the episode (and two more days have passed) she gets a large bouquet of roses from this guy. Reading the card makes her very happy.

Are you kidding me? Sending flowers after being completely incommunicado for six days isn’t sweet and romantic, it’s manipulative. Other than being comatose, what could this guy have been doing that he couldn’t pick up a phone and say “Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I had a really good time and I want to see you again”? There’s a word for people who fall for this sort of thing: Sucker.

I did a lot of stupid, pathetic things when I was single, so maybe this is just too close to home for me. Still, I don’t understand it. If I were Amy, I’d sure like to know what he’d been up to and why he thought this was better than just calling after a day or so.

Tribute to The Bear

No, not Bryant. I’m talking about Don Haskins, the longtime coach at UTEP (formerly Texas Western), who made history by winning the 1966 NCAA men’s basketball championship with an all-black starting lineup. The team they beat was Kentucky, coached by Adolph Rupp. Rupp was, to put it charitably, behind the times on racial matters – it would be three more years before Kentucky featured a black player.

Anyway, Jerry Izenberg wrote this nice tribute to Haskins. It’s not true that UTEP has never competed for any other championships – their track and field team is a perennial power – but no matter. Go read and enjoy.

UPDATE: In this entry, about the death of Texas Western guard Bobby Hill, I was going to make a stronger statement about Coach Rupp being a racist, but a Google search on him led me to this page, which argues that he’s been unfairly labelled as such. I report, you decide.