Kicking off the year with biannual list of your favorite posts

The topics of posts you have been reading most over the last six months are wide-ranging. Concerns about the Alamo and Alamo Plaza tend to be remain your high priority, and the primary battle between Jerry Patterson and George P. Bush for Land Commissioner will keep these issues on the front page. I love it that you continue to help me promote Helen Madarasz as a ghost actively haunting Brackenridge Park.

The interest in our favorite restaurant in Budapest might arise not as much from regular followers as from Fricska’s loyal fans on facebook. San Antonio’s current Tricentennial Celebration seemed to send more people in search of “The San Antonio Song” written in 1907 by Williams and Alstyne. Thanks for your interest in my quest for a mini-Kate, and it makes me happy some of you heading to Guanajuato were aided by our restaurant suggestions.

So here’s your top 12, with the numbers in parentheses representing the rankings from six months ago:

  1. Dear Mayor and City Council: Please don’t surrender Alamo Plaza, 2017 (1)
  2. The Madarasz Murder Mystery: Might Helen Haunt Brackenridge Park?, 2012 (2)
  3. Postcard from Budapest, Hungary: Currently suffering from case of miss-you-Fricska blues, 2017

    Fricska Gastropub in Budapest

  4. Please put this song on Tony’s pony and make it ride away, 2010 (11)

    Chorus of “The San Antonio Song” written by the Tin Pan Alley pioneer team of Harry Williams and Egbert Van Alstyne in 1907: “San An-to ni An-to-ni-o. She hopped up on a pony and ran away with Tony.”

  5. Brackenridge Park: ‘Is it still a postcard place?,’ 2017 (4)
  6. What’s up top counts, 2017 (3)
  7. Thanks to the Mister on his day for persistence in obtaining my Mother’s Day present, 2017 (8)

    3-D representations of Kate

  8. Postcard from Guanajuato, Mexico: Wishing these dining spots were not 600 miles away, 2016 (6)
  9. Postcards from San Antonio a Century Ago, 2016 (5)

    San Antonio’s love affair with fresh corn tortillas is nothing new.

  10. How would you feel about the Alamo with a crewcut?, 2011 (7)
  11. Postcard from Campeche, Mexico: Sittin’ on Campeche Bay, 2017 (12)
  12. Postcard from Bergamo, Italy: Bidding Italy ciao, for now, 2017

    Bergamo, Italy

And the best part of number 12 on your list is that our bidding ciao to Italy “for now” appears accurate. Will be taking you there through pictures later in 2018. For now, though, delivery of postcards from the fall trip to Mexico City was delayed by the holidays. They will be dribbled out over the next month.

Thanks for dropping by periodically. Always welcome your feedback.

Biannual roundup of what you are reading on this blog

You have done it again. No wonder I wander around flitting arbitrarily from subject to subject. My readers flit, too.

During the past year, you have remained as Alamobsessive as I, particularly focusing on the guns  Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson let be drawn in front of the Alamo. You joined me in remembering my father-in-law, George Spencer, and photographer Rick Hunter. You have demonstrated your interest in photography by two artists, Richard Nitschke and Sarah Brooke Lyons. You have let me take you traveling to San Miguel de Allende, and shown interest in the reign of Maximilian and Carlota in Mexico.

You refuse to let two old posts, one about David Sedaris’ “Nuit of the Living Dead” and one about Sandy Skoglund’s cheesy “Cocktail Party,” fade off of the top 12 list. It makes me particularly happy that you still show interest in the San Antonio Song and have given life to my true tale providing a ghost to inhabit Brackenridge Park.

The number in parentheses represents the rankings from six months ago:

  1. Please come and take them away from San Antonio, (1) 2013

    “They say Sam Maverick forged the bell for St. Mark’s from a cannon used during the Battle of the Alamo. If only the concept proved contagious….” Postcards from San Antonio – No. 12, “Peace be with you.”

  2. George Hutchings Spencer, 1923-2013 (3), 2013
  3. The State surrenders the Alamo; Run for Cover, (4) 2013
  4. Richard Nitschke: Seeing Agave in a Different Light, (8) 2013
  5. Please put this song on Tony’s pony, and make it ride away (10), 2010
  6. Sarah’s faces more than a thousand times better, (11) 2013
  7. The Madarasz Murder Mystery: Might Helen Haunt Brackenridge Park?, 2012
  8. “Nuit of the Living Dead” (9), 2010
  9. Postcard from San Miguel de Allende: Sun rises again at La Aurora, 2014
  10. The Tragic Rule of Maximilian and Carlota in Mexico, 2014
  11. Cheez Doodles as Art (12), 2011
  12. Rick Hunter lives here. And many other places., 2013

Thanks for hanging out here some and for giving me permission to keep on rambling on about whatever I’m currently pondering.

The State surrenders the Alamo; Run for cover

Things seemed to be going pretty well since the State of Texas exercised its authority over the Alamo and its grounds in 2011, wresting the fiefdom away from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The State was behaving so responsibly a recent Express-News editorial dared to broach recommending the City of San Antonio consider ceding its control of Alamo Plaza to the management of the state.

Those words should be retracted now.

Saturday, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is inviting an armed invasion of the grounds. Not only inviting it, but giving those bearing arms a warm welcome.


Sponsor regards taxation as “stealing,” so hold onto your wallet Commissioner Patterson. As you are paid by the state, your wallet is filled with stolen money.

Sponsor actively takes a passive-aggressive approach to fulfill its purposes. One of those it proudly proclaims is to:

foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the furtherance of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters.

One of the ways followers accomplish this is to set up traps for the police. One recent example was at a Starbucks in San Antonio. Three perfectly innocent gun-toting men order their coffee and park themselves at a table outside. Some customers evacuate. Several frightened patrons, much to the “surprise” of the men who just happened to be filming themselves while sipping their coffee, called police. So begins the “harassment” that has fired up the gun rights advocates:

We will all meet in San Antonio to stand up in one of the most important challenges we have had to face. This event will be a strong message to Chief McManus that we have a right to bear arms and …it will NOT be infringed. We are drawing a line in the sand on the historic land of the Alamo.

Their heroes, according to posts on DontComply’s facebook page, appear to be those who are burning police barricades in Washington. Among those joining Commissioner Patterson will be Mike Vanderboegh, who nicely blogged in advance about the plans of the San Antonio Police Department, offering advice to film everything going on for opportunities for lawsuits against not only the SAPD but “against individual officers and the entire chain of command individually as well as the city who failed to properly train, supervise, etc….”

Way to go, boys. You really know how to make the police feel all warm and fuzzy about you and your cause.

Another object of sponsor Open Carry Texas is:

to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them (rifles and shotguns).

Hint, placing a powder keg in front of the Alamo is not a way to forward that goal.

Oh, I know what the organizers are going to say: “Don’t worry, the matches are in the other pocket.”

But the attendees will all have matches, and, from the tweets chirping on twitter, it sounds as though some of the attendees might not mind provoking police.

While it might be a Texan’s right to carry a rifle, won’t the demonstrators be breaking Texas law by amassing an army of armed civilians in the middle of a cosmopolitan area? What are they hunting, pigeons?

Organizers can plead they are not “calculating to alarm,” but I beg to differ. Ask the spouse of a San Antonio police officer heading to work on Saturday morning if he or she is alarmed. Ask me. I am totally frightened of those who would gather armed in a public park, at a state monument frequented by families with children. I wouldn’t set foot within two blocks of Alamo Plaza on Saturday with a bullet-proof vest.

As for the Land Commissioner opening the grounds of the Alamo to welcome the armed demonstration, I am appalled. He is essentially shutting down the Alamo and its grounds to anyone worried about people slinging guns around their children.

And what kind of precedent does it set for future gatherings? Seems as though most any group might as well apply to gather in front of the Alamo now.

I don’t think I’m ready to say bring back the Daughters, but Commissioner Patterson’s participation in baiting the San Antonio Police Department is dangerously irresponsible.

Update on October 17, 2013:

Commissioner Patterson does not seem to comprehend how alarming the scenario he is endorsing is to anyone who follows current events. He is living in a fantasy Leave-It-To-Beaver world leftover from his childhood when he could put on a coonskin cap and carry a gun to school for show-and-tell. What would he think if one of his children were watching a Disney movie at the local theatre and a man carrying a shotgun came in and sat down beside her or him?

Anyway, I’ll leave it to him to make his case. These are his own misguided thoughts as published in The Bay Area Citizen:

Patterson: Standing up for liberty at the Alamo is Texas tradition

By Jerry Patterson Texas Land Commissioner

AUSTIN — The last time hundreds of Texans showed up at the Alamo with rifles, they were hailed as heroes in their stand against a tyrannical government.

Texas — and Texans — have changed a lot since then. But the fundamental, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms has not.

The main goal of today’s rally at the Alamo is simple: The peaceful exercise of a right we fear losing. It is legal, after all, to carry a long gun in Texas. Despite that fact, there are those who would claim otherwise under color of law. Today’s demonstration is expression of that right, plain and simple.

It should be noted, San Antonio’s city council has declared they will not enforce the city’s unconstitutional ordinance prohibiting any person other than police or security officers from carrying a firearm within the city limits at a public event. They know they would lose any challenge to an arrest made under such city ordinance in a court of law. So in that respect, today’s Second Amendment exercise has already been successful.

But a more subtle goal of today’s gathering is one largely been lost in the media hype surrounding it, and that is the effect such a rally might have to help normalize the sight of an armed citizen.

The fact that many Texans only feel comfortable with police carrying guns isn’t normal, historically speaking. Armed citizens shouldn’t be alarming in a free society.

It wasn’t always so. I can remember bringing an old, Civil War-era muzzle-loader I had gotten for Christmas to Hartman Junior High School in Houston for show and tell. Instead of causing a lock-down and a S.W.A.T. response, it elicited the ohhs and ahhs of other kids who got an impromptu lesson in gun safety and history. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more normal than that.

By agreeing to speak to this rally at the Alamo today, I am doing what I think is best to ease the fear that has gripped our state and our nation when it comes to guns. Texans — and Americans in general — shouldn’t be defined by our fears but by our freedoms. We are stronger than that.

He’s looking for a campaign photo op, but here’s hoping this line in the sand proves to be Jerry Patterson’s quicksand.