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June 7th, 2009:

Weekend link dump for June 7

In honor of Olivia’s fifth birthday yesterday, the celebration of which we are still recovering from. Ain’t no party like a five-year-old birthday party, ’cause a five-year-old birthday party don’t quit.

The last survivor of the “Titanic” has passed away at the age of 97.

I for one never had any doubt that Pringles were in fact a potato-based snack.

Hey, remember that DHS report on right wing extremists? Maybe it’s time for a second look.

And just a reminder of the so-called “peaceful, legal means” that were used to harass and terrorize an American hero and his staff.

Holy crap, is Norm Coleman still trying to overturn his loss in court? How many appeals does this loser get?

A critical evaluation of Oprah Winfrey’s health advice.

Once again, the modern day GOP.

Troll slayers.

The Space Shuttle makes a stop in San Antonio.

A little perspective from Austan Goolsbee.

The five worst movie moms.

Hmm. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea for Archie to marry Veronica.

Geek tattoos. Moderately NSFW.

Knock ’em dead in Canada, Chase!

Who wouldn’t want to attend the Moore-Bacon wedding?

Congratulations to Randy Johnson for notching career win number 300.

The 10 Commandments in txt speak. Srsly.

20 fictional foods and drinks we wish were real. I’m proud to say that item #17 was my suggestion.

Yet another Astrodome plan

It’s a convention center, it’s a movie studio, it’s a planetarium.

Add a planetarium to the myriad ideas for what to do with the Reliant Astrodome, Houston’s iconic stadium whose future has hung in uncertainty as officials and entrepreneurs have proposed new uses ranging from a casino to a movie studio.

The latest idea, a study of which was proposed by Commissioner El Franco Lee, is to turn part of the 44-year-old Astrodome into a planetarium or a medical or science institute, leaving additional space for some other public use. Commissioners Court will vote Tuesday on whether to spend $50,000 for a feasibility study of the idea.

“The Astrodome is a world-recognizable space and we want to put it to the highest and best use,” Lee said Friday. “We have been on the cutting edge of several technologies from aerospace to medicine and we would be looking at an educational venue that highlights that.”

Well, there’s a certain poetry to the idea. I have no idea whether this is something that could become self-sufficient, but it’s probably worth spending the money to do the feasibility study. At least we might get a definitive answer one way or the other, unlike the other concepts, which have been in limbo for what feels like forever.

Judge Ed Emmett, who had been skeptical of plans to pay for the convention hotel, said he supports the planetarium idea because it focuses on public use. It also would leave space in the facility for other features, such as a gathering space for festivals or concerts.

“My main interest is to turn the Astrodome into something that can be used by the public,” Emmett said. “The question of funding is always going to be an issue, but basically cleaning up the dome and using it as an open space that you put other things into is very different than turning the whole thing into a hotel.”

County officials this summer will begin seriously to study the various ideas and eventually could take the question of what to do with the Astrodome to voters.

“We waited to see what happened in the legislative session and we will begin to talk about all this,” Emmett said. “At some point, if we come up with enough ideas that are public use, we might ask voters.”

I’m glad there’s momentum to get something official put forward. I’ll be very interested to see how a vote might go – it’s not clear to me that there’s that much more support for preservation than there is for demolition. The longer this goes on, the smaller the share of the population that actually has fond memories of the Dome in its glory. I wouldn’t count on nostalgia to give any future renovation proposal that much of a boost.

600 sq mi: Hidden

Two years ago, Houstonist sponsored a photography show called 600 sq mi, which was about everything Houston. They’re doing it again this year, with a show called “600 sq mi: Hidden”.

Houstonist is proud to announce 600 sq mi: Hidden, our second biennial photo show. It will be a juried show, like before, though this time around it’ll open in October at Xnihilo Gallery in the Montrose. The theme of the show, “Hidden,” reflects some of the things we love most about our hometown: its hidden corners, unknown places, overlooked people, the things that make Houston a truly wonderful city for anyone who bothers to scratch the surface a bit. We all have our favorite bits of hidden Houston — and this is your chance to show us yours. (And yes, this show is open to anyone, regardless of experience. Whether you just picked up a camera yesterday or make a living with your lens, we want to see your work.)

So, what we need now are your images. Head over to the show’s website, 600sqmi.com, for all the information you’ll need, including instructions, rules, the official entry form, FAQs and a link to contact us with your questions and concerns. Keep in mind that we will be updating the site as often as we need to with the latest news, deadlines, answers to your questions and anything else we think will come in handy.

The deadline for submitting your photos to us is Monday, July 13, 2009, which gives you six weeks to pull some images together and check your couch cushions for the $15 entry fee. We can’t wait to see what y’all send us, and we’re looking forward to an incredible show.

So break out those digital cameras and start snapping.

Handmade Toy Alliance update

My cousin Jill Chuckas, who first alerted me to the Handmade Toy Alliance and its efforts to modify the CPSIA back in January, recently sent me an update on the HTA and its activities at this time. You can read about it here. Small business owners and other craftspeople, this is of interest to you.