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.

Sarah’s faces more than a thousand times better…

Summer 2010: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Check.

Witte Museum. Check.

Texas Highway Patrol Association. Uh… no.

I put the pen down and asked him why he wanted to send a check to the Texas Highway Patrol Association.

“Because they called several times and told me I owe them money.”

“Owe them money?”

“They said I pledged it.”

“Did you?”

“I don’t know. Probably. I always send them money. A couple of times a year.”

I started explaining to him again how telemarketers generally are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even the Texas Department of Public Safety posted warnings about this unrelated wart tarnishing its reputation.

“But what about the poor families? The wives and children whose husbands are killed in the line of duty.”

He was but one victim among many who fell prey to an extremely lucrative fundraising scheme. According to a 2012 story by John Tedesco in the San Antonio Express-News:

The operation generated nearly $12 million in revenue from 2004 to 2009. Tax records showed it gave only $65,300 to troopers and their families over the same period, or roughly one-half of 1 percent of its fundraising.

The scam was busted. The Texas Highway Patrol Museum in Southtown, the front for the fake “charity,” was shuttered. The building sitting prominently at the intersection of Alamo and St. Mary’s Streets was sold; although the sale of it was quite contentious.

No one in the neighborhood missed the “museum;” the only thing appealing about it was the outside signage. Soon, though, the storefront windows were covered with plywood. An affront to the ‘hood.

But photographer Sarah Brooke Lyons has helped the building save face by adding faces to disguise the plywood façade.

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The faces peopling the building represent a small portion of the 1,005 Sarah is capturing as part of her public art project, which received a boost earlier this summer from a $1,000 grant from The Awesome Foundation. Here is her description of the project:

The desire is to showcase the diversity of San Antonio through the faces and thoughts of our community, and in doing so provide a clear image of what our city really looks like. Promoting the movement of DreamWeek San Antonio, and moving away from cliche’s of Riverwalk and margaritas; San Antonio is a cosmopolitan, multicultural epicenter with eclectic people looking to create an awesome place to live and celebrate our talents and interests. 1005 faces is a collaborative art project as it can only be created by the coming together of friends and strangers to create the full scope, and fulfill the goal of photographing 1005 distinct faces.

These faces, particularly that of centenarian Bill Sinkin, make me feel much better than the man sitting at the museum reception desk twiddling his thumbs while telemarketers scammed the elderly to plump his payroll.

Thanks, Sarah.