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June 12th, 2009:

Friday random ten: Let us raise our glasses

We did food, and now we do drink. Here are ten beverage-related songs.

1. Alcohol – Barenaked Ladies
2. Beer – Asylum Street Spankers
3. A Case of Coors Beer – Austin Lounge Lizards
4. One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer – John Lee Hooker
5. Mimosas in Missouri – Eddie from Ohio
6. Milk and Honey – Dead End Angels
7. Root Beer Rag – Billy Joel
8. What I Want Is A Proper Cup of Coffee – Trout Fishing in America
9. Give Me Coffee – Flying Fish Sailors
10. Champagne Jam – Atlanta Rhythm Section

A somewhat more serious, less novelty-oriented group of songs, though the funny is certainly represented. I’m impressed I had as many non-booze songs as I did – I figured it’d be a stretch to find them. What are you thirsty for this week?

Foulard announces in G, Khan for Controller

With the Legislature out of session (hopefully till 2011) and the District H special election about to wrap up, it’s time to refocus on the November elections for Houston. I think we will have a pretty good idea of who all the candidates are going to be very shortly, modulo a potential surprise or two. One newcomer to add to the mix is a fellow named George Foulard, who becomes by my count the fourth candidate for District G. I actually became aware of him a couple of days ago when he followed me on Twitter, and now I’ve gotten the more traditional press release about him, which I’ve reproduced below. We may get a couple more announcements like this in the next few weeks, but I’d say the window for a serious candidate rollout won’t be open much past July 4. Other than Rick Rodriguez, the former District H candidate who is reportedly looking at At Large #1, anyone hearing of new possibilities out there? Leave a comment and let me know.

Meanwhie, District F City Council member MJ Khan made the formal announcement of his campaign for City Controller in an email to supporters, which I’ve reproduced below as well. Khan’s interest in this office has been known for a long time, so this was just a confirmation of it. He joins fellow Republican Pam Holm, the outgoing City Council member in District G, and Democrat Ronald Green, who is term-limited out of At Large #4, in the race. I find it interesting that there are more Republicans running for Controller than Democrats, given that no prominent Republicans are running for Mayor (sorry, Roy). Bill King, at least, didn’t think that it was winnable for a Republican like him. I think Green is the clear favorite here, but we’ll see if the Controller’s race is any different.

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Obama head on the move

Hello, Austin!

President Barack Obama’s concrete head rested peacefully on an open-bed trailer outside Vino Vino wine bar on Guadalupe Street on Sunday evening. The 20-foot-tall sculpture of the president had just been hauled from Houston.

Its creator, 82-year-old artist David Adickes, is traveling with the 3½-ton bust, and grinned as he looked at the head that was parked on the street.

“Most people just ogled it on the highway,” he said. “Only one guy gave us the finger.”

Man, I wish I could have seen that on the highway. How awesome would that have been?

Adickes said he started making the bust Nov. 5, the day after Election Day. The hardest part, he said, was creating Obama’s hair because it is closely cropped, which made it blend in too much with the rest of the sculpture. “I antiqued his hair by putting paint into the creases of it,” he said.

Adickes, who lives in Houston, said he began making busts of presidents’ heads in 1994 after visiting Mount Rushmore. He said he was bothered because people couldn’t get close to the sculptures on the mountain.

Visitors can get as close as they like to his busts at Presidents Park.

“They can talk to them and touch them,” he said.

Have I mentioned lately that I love stories about David Adickes and his giant presidential heads? Because I do. And here’s a Houston Press photo slideshow from Pearland if you, like me, just can’t get enough of this stuff.

Terri Hodge draws a challenger

State Rep. Terri Hodge, a fixture in HD100 since 1996, has drawn a challenger for next year.

Dallas lawyer Eric Johnson announced [Friday] that he is running for the District 100 seat in the Texas House.

That’s the seat currently being held by embattled Democrat Terri Hodge.

Hodge is currently under federal indictment on bribery charges and is expected to go to trial this summer.

She has not had a major opponent since being elected to the House in 1996.

Several candidates have expressed interest in running for the District 100 seat, but most of their plans were contingent on Hodge being convicted of a felony that would have disqualified her from office.

In his release that I’ve attached below, Johnson appears to be running no matter what happens to Hodge at trial.

Expect other candidates to join the fray if things don’t go Hodge’s way.

I got that release late last week as well, and a subsequent one that I’ve put beneath the fold as well. Here’s a couple of updates on that bribery case. Most of those charged are going to trial on June 22, though Rep. Hodge will be tried separately. It ought to be a high-profile case.

The Observer wrote a profile of Rep. Hodge last year after no one filed to run against her despite the charges that had been filed. She’s been a staunch advocate for her district, where the article notes the charges are seen (or at least were at the time) with skepticism, and a tough competitor. At the end of this legislative session, she asserted her innocence to the DMN. I’ve no idea how this will go for her, but it’ll be very interesting to watch.

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Streetcars and buses

Here’s a little discussion starter for all you transit geeks: Infrastructurist’s list of 36 reasons why streetcars are better than buses. I’d boil a lot of it down to a smaller list: The ride is generally more pleasant, as it is smoother, quieter, and lacks any diesel exhaust smell, they’re more cost-effective in the long run, they can use green energy sources right now, and people tend to like them and use them more. Having said all that, M1EK‘s point about the difference between rail with dedicated right of way and rail that shares right of way with other traffic is still valid and needs to be addressed with any streetcar proposal. I think in Houston there are some corridors that could benefit today from streetcars, including a few that intersect or may someday intersect with a light rail line. Christof and Andrew have already tilled that field (I contributed as well), so go review what they had to say. With Austin and Fort Worth, we may be able to learn from other Texas cities’ experience soon. What do you think?