Weird

Austin
2:03 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Austin's Jails Get Slammed on Yelp

In Austin and abroad, citizens have taken to Yelp to review jails and prisons.
flickr.com/duluoz_cats

Update (June 23, 2014): More reviews are in – and since this post was written, Travis County Jail's Yelp rating has risen a whole star. It now has a 2.5 rating.

Here's more Austin Yelp news:

Listen: The Worst Yelp Reviews of Barton Springs and Mount Bonnell

Looking for a Cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon? Austin's Hipster Map Can Help

Original story: With the news that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg may be leaving the hoosegow, corrections officers may be looking over their shoulders, hoping that the county’s highest ranking law officer doesn’t write them a bad review.

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Austin
2:23 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Despite Viral Video Notoriety, UT's Foam Sword Friday Continues (With Nary a Bus in Sight)

University of Texas students at Form Sword Friday today.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It’s the last day of regular classes for the spring semester at the University of Texas. And as it happens every last day of class on UT campus, some students are celebrating with Foam Sword Friday, helping students relieve stress before finals.

The campus tradition used to consist of students charging at one another from either side of Guadalupe Street in front of the University Co-Op. That is, until one student was hit by a bus last spring.

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Technology
5:00 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Computerized Rifle Makes Anyone an Expert Marksman - Should It?

Digital optics and tracking technologies enhance this long range rifle.
Photo courtesy of TrackingPoint, Inc.

An Austin-based company, TrackingPoint, has developed a high-powered, long-range computerized rifle that can turn anyone into an expert marksman. But some wonder whether putting that technology in the hands of everyday people is a wise idea. 

At shooting range just outside of Austin, I’m holding one of TrackingPoint’s top-of-the-line, $22,000 rifles. I have some shooting experience. But I’ve never shot a big rifle before. Three company representatives walk me through it.

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Austin
3:29 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

New Hike & Bike Trail Toilet Celebrates With a First Flush

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Runners and bikers can breathe a sigh of relief – now that they can relieve themselves in a brand new, site-specific restroom on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail.

The new restroom features stylized concrete and carefully placed rebar. But it’s also sited on one of the most populated sections of the trail – the Johnson Creek trailhead, just below the MoPac bridge.

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Austin
10:54 am
Mon April 22, 2013

The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists

The Internet's list makers ceretainly haven't given up on Austin.
flickr.com/dingatx

If you asked the Internet, it might tell you that Austin's a hipster-loving, small business-starting, traffic-riddled, undiscovered yet overrated place that keeps it weird. The web's traffic-baiting list-makers rank Austin as a leader in categories from fitness friendliness to porn consumption per capita.

But you're not asking the Internet, you're asking KUT News. And, as has been done a couple times now, KUT News has compiled a list of lists honoring, tweaking and trashing Austin over the past few months. Here's the third installment of The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists:

  • Big time for small business: Business website Thumbtack.com saluted Austin for business-friendly regulations and low licensing fees, ranking the city tops in the U.S. for small businesses. But the crowning stems partially from the state’s spartan regulation, as the survey also named Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio in its top 10.
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Texas
11:28 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Why This Austin Divorce Attorney Works on Death Row, Pro Bono

Mary Felps guides reporter Joy Diaz through a visit at the Huntsville Cemetery. At this point, Felps' doctors had not OKd her to go back to death row.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News.

Getting married nowadays can be really pricey. But getting divorced can be just as expensive.

In Austin, a good divorce attorney can charge anywhere between $150 and $500 an hour. When parties disagree, cases can drag on, and raise costs into the thousands of dollars. But there is one divorce attorney in Austin who offers her services for free – to a very exclusive clientele.

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Austin
11:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Has the Austin Backlash Begun?

An ACL fest goer in 2012. Michael Corcoran compares Austin growth to a popular nightclub: “Next thing you know it’s so crowded that it’s not fun anymore.”
Tamir Kalifa for KUT News

Has the afterglow worn off?

The doting South by Southwest masses have slinked back to Williamsburg and Echo Park, doubtless telling tales about this “locals only” barbecue joint called The Salt Lick. But as they stumble out of their Austin-induced atrophy, some might ask the harsh question: Is Austin really that great?

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Texas
12:54 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Pecan Pie Named Texas State Pie, Plus 8 More Official State Oddities

Lawmakers proposed that only Texas pecans can be used in pecan pies statewide.
flickr.com/h-bomb

The Texas House of Representatives named pecan pie as the state's official pie on Wednesday.

State Rep. Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown) sponsored the resolution. She's a first-year representative and this was her first bill.

So, despite the simplicity of the topic, other lawmakers gave her a hard time in a sort of rite of passage. They asked for amendments including making it illegal to use chocolate in the recipe and requiring only Texas pecans be used in pecan pies statewide.

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April Fools
8:10 am
Mon April 1, 2013

If Something Smells Funny, Remember What Day It Is

Spaghetti is "harvested" in 1961 from the ceiling of an Italian restaurant in London. A 1957 April Fools Day report by the BBC about spaghetti trees fooled many, and has been famous since.
Keystone/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 4:59 pm

Google Nose was unveiled Monday morning. It's "the new scentsation in search." Just put your nose to the screen to sample "15M+ sentibytes." Google's also offering new options to its "I'm Feeling Lucky" button, including "I'm Feeling Wonderful" and "I'm Feeling Hungry."

Twitter is out with "Twttr," a version that only lets you use consonants.

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Austin
8:20 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Funky Chicken Coop Tour

South Austin Chicken Coop
Flickr, Todd Dwyer http://www.flickr.com/photos/ret0dd/5656222910/sizes/m/in/photostream/

How about farm fresh eggs without leaving your yard?

Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s the Funky Chicken Coop Tour, the fifth annual tour of local neighborhood chicken dwellings in Austin.

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Austin
3:48 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Time to Start Hoarding the Breakfast Tacos: North Korea Wants to Strike Austin?

Kim Jong Un has announced his placing rockets on standby to strike Austin.
courtesy flickr.com/zennie62

Update: UT Politics and East Asia expert Patricia Maclachlan says nuclear weapons are North Korea’s only way to get the U.S. to the negotiating table.

“It has nothing else going for it. It’s the only negotiating card that it really has to get what it wants from the outside world," she says.

But the threat does beg the question: Why Austin?

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Borderlands
3:23 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Narco Cinema Finds Growing Audience in Austin

Low-budget movies about narcos, or Mexican drug dealers, are displayed on a shelf in Video Mexico, a video rental store in Austin.
Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune

After the arrest in 2010 of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, who the authorities said was the head of a violent Mexican drug cartel, customers at Video Mexico in Austin told Eduardo Betancourt, the owner, something he should have known: The man’s life was already the subject of a low-budget movie.

Betancourt’s video-store customers are part of a legion of aficionados of Mexican narco cinema, hastily made films that are inspired by the cartels. The films usually skip theaters, going directly to home video.

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Austin
2:22 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

'Target Austin, Texas' is the Bomb (Update)

Update: With Austin in North Korea' s sights, now’s as good a time as ever to revisit Cactus Pryor's 1960 civil defense classic "Target … Austin, Texas." Its depiction of the “usual mid-morning traffic” on Congress Avenue is just as funny than anything to be found under the hashtag #whyaustin.

Original Post (July 13, 2012): Here’s some Friday the 13th viewing: “Target … Austin, Texas,” a civil defense film from 1960. Produced by the storied KTBC TV station, the 20-minute film is a fevered remnant of the cold war-era.

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Texas
7:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Voice of Big Tex Gets the Boot

flickr.com/branditressler

For more than a decade, Bill Bragg’s voice greeted visitors to the Texas State Fair in Dallas.

“Howdy, folks! Welcome," was one of the classic catch phrases. But Bragg would also provide other information, such as details on events happening at the Fair that day.  Then, in October, Big Tex burned. “We’ve got a rather tall cowboy with all his clothes burned off," a Dallas Fire Rescue dispatcher said in this recording.  

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Austin
10:55 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Austin's 'Lamar Street Art Gallery' Says Goodbye – For Now

The so-called "Lamar Street Art Gallery" was painted over this morning.
imgur.com/BbttPqQ

The “Lamar Street Art Gallery” – a collection of street art painted and pasted up on a wall by the Lamar Boulevard underpass just north of Town Lake – is no more.

For now, at least.

This morning, a poster on the Austin page of social sharing website Reddit posted a photo of the wall being painted over.

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SXSW
11:47 am
Wed March 13, 2013

First Welcome to SXSW Visitors? Austin's Compost Fire Stench

Before SXSW visitors flying into Austin reach downtown, they're greeted by the smell of burning compost near the airport.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin Water is still working with the fire department to extinguish an ongoing compost fire at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Plant.

The fire started at the waste management facility more than two weeks ago, on Monday, Feb. 25. While water utility officials have seen a reduction of smoke from the smoldering heaps – especially with help from a rainy weekend – the surrounding area still smells.

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Life in Austin
4:13 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

The (Mis)Pronunciations That Keep Austin Weird

Public art on Guadalupe Street, pronounced "Gwad-A-Loop" by countless generations of Austinities.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Sure – Austin’s weird.

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SXSW
4:48 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Next-Generation Space Telescope Getting Modeled at SXSW

The full-scale model of the Webb Space Telescope is outside the Long Center for SXSW Interactive.
courtesy NASA

First it was a music festival, then a film festival, then an interactive festival. Since then, South by Southwest has added education, the environment and venture capital to its repertoire. Could SXSW Space be far off?

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Texas
12:50 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Bodybuilding Champ Turned Austin Attorney Feels Burn in Racketeering Trial (Update)

Attorney Marc G. Rosenthal faces more than a dozen allegations in a Corpus Christi trial.
flickr.com/joegratz and rosenthalwatson.com

Update: Austin attorney Marc G. Rosenthal was convicted by a federal jury late last week. 

A statement from the Southern District of the U.S. Attorney's Office reads in part

After a four-week trial, jurors convicted Rosenthal of conspiring to bribe a state district judge, bribe witnesses in both state and federal court cases, file fraudulent personal injury cases in both state and federal courts, and deprive the citizens of Cameron County, Texas, of the right to honest services of an elected official.

Rosenthal's sentencing is scheduled in June. 

Original Post (1:49 p.m.): The ongoing saga of Marc G. Rosenthal continues winding its way down the rabbit hole. The Austin attorney, and former Mr. Texas bodybuilding champion, is currently on trial in Corpus Christi, accused of leading a conspiracy that turned trials in his favor.

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Austin
1:58 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Dillo Dirt Fire: It Smolders, Smells, and Stifles Sales

The (in)famous Dillo Dirt mud at Austin City Limits Fest 2009. Officials are unsure how much a plant fire could affect fertilizer production.
flickr.com/plutor

Austin firefighters are still battling compost fires at a waste processing plant near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The fire burned at least an acre of Dillo Dirt at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, which will impact sales to over 70 Austin area vendors.

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