Thursday, March 14, 2013

The New (Revised) Houston Political Dictionary (v 2.4.1)


#BadBlogging - Twitter hash-tag used to identify examples of sub-par blogging. Can also be applied liberally to everything on NoUp.

#BadMedia - Twitter hash-tag used to identify, and catalogue various media outlets who are just doing a rotten job.

Balance - Inaccurate descriptor which guarantees that what follows won't be in a state of.

Barack Obama - A name on a bumper sticker which Caucasian progressives use to imply a certain amount of street cred.  Also, the 44th President of the United States of America.

Bats - Every city needs some.
Bat colonies, ranking right behind some type of train and a restaurant carrying the name of a celebrity chef, are one of the more curious pre-requisites for a city's being classified as "world class". The media in every city loves the bat colony and implores its residents to come out and watch the bats take off.  What they fail to realize is that, for the most part, it's really a pretty boring activity.

Battleship Texas - A cudgel to be used, when convenient, by those who feel Texas' government is not spending enough money.

Bayou City - Houston nick-name used when city luminaries want to conjure up visions of New Orleans West.

B-Cycle - A transportation solution that only makes sense, on a limited scale, in Houston for 90 days out of the year.

Beautiful - A community aesthetic which those of a central planning ilk believe can only be achieved through increased central planning.

Begley, Dug - The next in a long-line of Houston Chronicle transportation writers trying to find the balance between PR scribe for Metro and actual news the community can use.
We've nothing against Mr. Begley, except that he's a grown man with a pony-tail, but his job is sure to be a thankless one.  We would imagine that covering the transportation beat for the Chron is akin to working for Best Buy, while HP tells you exactly what your point of view will be. So far he's not been bad per se, but he hasn't written anything critical on any topic outside of road building. In other words, more of the same.

Berry, Michael - Comedian.

Bicycle - The surest sign new-urbanists don't get it.
To truly believe the bicycle is a valid transportation option in a city with 100 degree days possible in six months out of the year you also have to believe that office co-workers aren't going to mind you smelling like a battlefield hospital, that a thing designed for recreation can be repurposed to meet a wide communities needs and that a wide swath of the population is willing to pedal through the rain to get to a job they don't like much anyway.

Big Jolly Politics - A leading political blog which works to provide gravity to Republican fringe candidates.

Bill White! - The triumph of partisanship over substance.
Not to be confused with Bill White, the former mayor of Houston, Bill White! is the go-to for progressives in Houston who feel that things aren't as they should be and that, were the great man in charge, things would be much better.  This ignores the fact that, while mayor, White accomplished little of actual substance and left a series of messes for his successors to deal with.

Bins - Trash cans in polispeak.
Politicians, especially at the local level, like to use vaguely technical sounding names for every-day items in order to make it appear that they have a superior grasp on the issue than your normal person.  In fact, this often proves quite the opposite in practice.  While a single-stream recycling "bin" might make it sound as if the politician in question is well-rounded and fully versed on the issue, the more likely scenario is that they're repeating something they heard someone say once before in mockingbird fashion.

Blog - An on-line ego trip.

Brand - Something great cities embrace and middling cities wish to change.

Bridges - Increasingly, a city's phallic symbol.
The game of "mine's bigger" has been played by cities since the tower of Babel.  What used to be measured in terms of building height is now measured in terms of span, or more-often, silliness.  Where San Francisco can point to the Golden Gate and New York can point to the Brooklyn cities like Houston have floated around god-awful ideas for art-like pedestrian bridges in hopes that no-one really notices how small they are in terms of vision and scale.

Brunch - Adds a bit of class to breakfast, allowing higher prices to be charged.

Buffalo Bayou - The Money Pit.

Bulls on Parade - A good PR slogan for a mediocre defense.

Bus - A workable transit solution for Houston that's soundly rejected because it's not cool.
The thing is, buses would be a great way to solve many of Houston's public transit needs, but buses are big and unwieldy and often involve sitting next to someone who's carrying on a private conversation with Utubuntu the God of trash bins while the kids sitting across from you rub snot on your trousers.  Excepting the fact that, in many cities, none of this is true, there's a predisposition within those of a progressive lean to gravitate toward trains and conservative types do not share space well with others in a motor vehicle.  Because of this the bus, despite its flexibility and practicality in a Houston-like environment, is given short-shrift and faces another round of service adjustments every time it's decided the train needs more money.

But - Political word signifying that everything which preceded it was pap.
As in: "We want to a solution that will work for all of Houston but......"

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