Would a cloud that rained tequila get you to visit Mexico? In Germany, they gave it a shot (and it gave them shots)

In Central Texas, clouds can bring rain, lightning, hail … normal weather stuff. But in Germany earlier this month, a display in Berlin featured a cloud that rained tequila. Photo by Ralph Barrera, American-Statesman

In Austin, ‘tequila cloud’ could be the hippest new tech company. Maybe the kind of place where you can lounge in the bean bag room on Beer Friday. Or, perhaps, ‘tequila cloud’ could be the hottest band at South by Southwest.

In Germany, a land traditionally a little short on whimsy, the ‘tequila cloud’ was a cloud. It was made of tequila. It rained alcohol.

Really.

This is not the best possible side effect of climate change, but rather the invention of the Tourism Promotion Council of Mexico and U.S. marketing agency Lapiz, who created the artificial cloud for display at the Berlin creative space Urban Spree earlier this month. The display was meant to urge Germans (long used to rainclouds during their damp and cold winter) to hightail it to sunny Mexico.

But you do not care about German tourism, presumably. You want to know how to get a tequila cloud to rain booze at your next party. “Lapiz formed the ’tequila cloud’ by using ultrasonic humidifiers to vibrate tequila at a frequency that turned it into visible mist, just like a cloud,” digital magazine designboom reported on their site. “The boozy mist then condensed into liquid form as it came into contact with a plastic container, making a real cloud rain tequila.”

The lucky Berliners to visit the display could simply hold a shot glass under the cloud and fill it up with tequila.

With any luck, somebody already is working on vodka snow.

 

Eight things you need to do in Central Texas before summer gets here

Spring has sprung. This is old news, of course. Winter — what there was of it — has been in Austin’s rear view mirror for weeks. But don’t get too comfortable.

Summer is looming. In Central Texas, it’s that 5-6 month season when you can’t walk out barefoot to get something from the car. When you can’t check out a new park without setting your alarm clock. When you can work up a sweat just watering your grass.

It will be here before you know it. Here are 8 things you need to do in Central Texas before summer gets here …

1. TAKE THE KIDS TO THE PLAYGROUND

Children take a break from the Mighty Kite Flight Sunday on the playground in the in Bee Cave Central Park in April last year. Photo by Sue Knolle for Lake Travis View

There’s nothing like the sound of a screaming child who has discovered for you that the playground equipment is way too hot. Better find an overcast day and take them now. Repeat until the sizzle makes you stop.

2. GO TO A SHOW AT A CLASSIC HONKY-TONK

Sure Gruene Hall has air conditioning … they open up the windows!

Sure, I’m from here. I know full well that there’s something great about a hot summer night at a historic venue. But you just can’t hear Ray Wylie tell his stories when you’re surrounded by people whining about how stuffy and sticky it is.

3. GO FOR A NATURE HIKE

Patty Wilson surveys the water of Barton Creek on May 26, 2016 at Gus Fruh park. Photo by Laura Skelding, American-Statesman

If you think water obstacles are part of the fun while hiking through the Barton Creek greenbelt, you probably don’t want to wait until July.

4. SEE THE WILDFLOWERS

The Kelly family of south Austin have fun in a beautiful field of bluebonnets near the Point Community Church off of FM 1626 east of Manchaca despite an easy drizzle. Photo by Ralph Barrera, American-Statesman

Duh. They got an early start this year. It’ll be crispy grass and cracked earth soon.

5. GET A GOOD JUMP ON THE YARDWORK

Katherine Weil mows a lawn with an environmentally friendly mower in north Austin on Saturday, August 18, 2007. Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell, American-Statesman

If oak pollen allergies allow it, best to get out there now and fight the bugs and the humidity.

6. GO CAMPING AT ENCHANTED ROCK

Leilani Perry sits by Moss Lake, a small lake on the back side of the huge granite hill at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Photo by Pam LeBlanc, Oct 2015

It takes a certain type of person to lie in a puddle of sweat in a tent at Enchanted Rock in July. If you don’t think you are that person, trust me, you are not.

7. GO EAT CHILI AT THE TEXAS CHILI PARLOR

The Texas Chili Parlor on Lavaca Street in Austin. Photo by Mike Sutter

Traditionally, Texas is still at risk for a cold snap until Easter. That might be optimistic thinking this year. Better get that bowl of XXX chili before the XXX weather hits.

8. BREAK OUT THE BUG ZAPPER

A well-worked bug zapper. Photo by Dave Thomas

Seriously. A friend gave me a bug zapper and two lawn chairs as a wedding gift. (A good friend who could get away with such a thing.) He said it was a “redneck entertainment center.” And so it has been. The zapping is good now. When it’s 110 degrees in July, the flying bugs will be dead. The bugs will be dead. They’ll all be dead.

Soon you’ll be able to get a tattoo and a haircut in the same place, because Austin

If you’ve ever gotten a haircut and left the salon wishing you had made a more permanent change than trimmed sideburns, we have good news. A combination barbershop and tattoo parlor is opening in Austin next month.

(Photo by Brian Nixon)

Tried & True Barber & Tattoo is set to open April 10 at 6501 South Congress Ave., according to CultureMap Austin.

MORE: Ingrid Michaelson got a tattoo before her show in Austin

From CultureMap:

“In the early 20th century, it was common for a tattoo artist to rent space in the back of a barbershop. Plus, with both professions being so similar in nature, it’s too cool of an idea not to continue the tradition,” say the owners in a joint statement.

On its Facebook page, Tried & True writes that it “is a full service barber shop and tattoo studio offering clipper & scissor cuts, straight razor shaves, and beard trimming and custom tattoo design.” Walk-ins will be accepted, as well as appointments.

PHOTOS: Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival in January

CultureMap quotes the owners as saying that South Austin is a “hidden gem” not yet overrun with chain stores, which makes it the right spot for their buzz-and-ink boutique. However, it seems like such a one-stop-shop personal style headquarters would be welcomed just about anywhere in city limits, because we do love our tattoos.

RELATED READ: Austin man gets tattoo of viral blue and black dress

Annie Nelson introduces chocolates infused with ‘Willie’s Reserve’ marijuana

Once marijuana legalization started to take hold in places such as Colorado and Washington State (don’t hold your breath, Texas), it was only a matter of time before noted connoisseur Willie Nelson launched his own brand: “Willie’s Reserve.” Roll ’em up and smoke ’em before you die, right?

But now you can enjoy Willie’s stash in a more delectable fashion — at least if you are in Washington. Annie Nelson, Willie’s wife of more than 25 years, has launched “Annie’s Edibles.” Her first product, a marijuana-infused artisan dark chocolate (with Himalayan salt, no less), is available “at select retailers in Washington.”

Willie Nelson and his wife Annie Nelson listen at the unveiling of the Willie Nelson statue at the corner of West 2nd Street (Willie Nelson Boulevard) and Lavaca Street on Friday April 20, 2012. Photo by Jay Janner

The chocolate comes from Fine & Raw Chocolate — described as the “Willy Wonka of Brooklyn.” Except if Willy Wonka was making treats for very hip grown-ups instead of kids.

RELATED: Luck Reunion serves up Willie and a whole lot more

“I make my infused chocolates for people who want to enjoy gourmet cannabis chocolate in a controllable way,”Annie Nelson said in a press release this week. “It’s important that my chocolates are suitable for those with diet restrictions … or if they have a low tolerance to cannabis they can still enjoy the benefits of my infused chocolates.”

The press release brags that a “Zero Crap Policy” is followed in the Nelson kitchen and that the gluten-free and vegan chocolates use coconut palm sugar instead of table sugar. For those of you familiar with the numbers, each piece of chocolate is infused with “5mg of THC.”

“Those who regularly enjoy cannabis may choose to indulge in two chocolate squares, while those new to cannabis are encouraged to start with one square or half of one square,” the press release says. There is no mention of how many squares someone like, say, Willie, might enjoy.

RELATED: Willie Nelson brings it home to San Antone at the rodeo

Texas legislators have made efforts to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana possession and introduce medical marijuana use. Legal marijuana use, edible or otherwise, is not on the Lone Star horizon. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, however, will have daily nonstop flights to Seattle in June.

Willie Nelson, who had three prior marriages, met Annie D’Angelo when filming the 1986 remake of the John Wayne classic western “Stagecoach.”

The film, which co-starred “Highwaymen” friends Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings (in descending order of acting chops), didn’t exactly eclipse the original, but turned out pretty well for Willie. D’Angelo was a makeup artist on the set and the pair hit it off. They were married in 1991.

Remember Rosillo! Texas won its (very brief) independence 204 years ago today

How well do you know your Texas history? You celebrate San Jacinto, of course. Certainly, you remember the Alamo. Perhaps even Goliad. But do you know the Battle of Rosillo?

At a confluence of creeks 9 miles southeast of present-day San Antonio — 204 years ago today, and some two decades before those major events of the Texas Revolution — the Republican Army of the North fought Spanish royalist forces and defeated them soundly.

A week later, on April 6, 1813, there was a declaration of independence. Yes, even before Mexico secured its freedom from Spain, there was freedom for Texas. Sort of. For a bit.

The adventure began when Mexican revolutionary José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara went to the United States and sought an army to fight against the Spanish and free Texas. Under the command of Augustus Magee, the Republican Army of the North entered Texas at Nacogdoches, then marched to Goliad.

After skirting Spanish royalist troops led by Texas Governor Manuel Maria de Salcedo, the Army of the North seized the La Bahía presidio, laughed off a siege and easily repulsed an attack. Emboldened by reinforcements, the Army of the North (now led by Samuel Kemper after Magee died during the siege) pursued the Spanish troops toward San Antonio.

The forces met at Rosillo Creek on March 29. Much like the Battle of San Jacinto, the Army of the North routed a superior force while suffering only minimal casualties. In this case, as many as 330 royalists killed in contrast to fewer than 10 dead on the Republican side.

After the Republican forces captured horses, cannon, ammunition and arms, they followed the retreating royalist forces to San Antonio, where they accepted the surrender of Salcedo and Nuevo León governor Simón de Herrera on April 1.

Things went downhill for the pro-Texas supporters from there. In his book, “Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans,” T.R. Fehrenbach wrote that Gutiérrez seized control once the military action was over and drew up a Texas constitution that made it clear the new State of Texas “forms a part of the Mexican Republic,” to which it would remain bound.

When Gutiérrez followed that by allowing Salcedo and Herrera to be grimly executed, it was too much for Kemper and the most “idealistic” Americans in his army — they quit and returned to the United States. It was a good move on their part.

Fast-forward four months and Spanish soldiers who had marched north under the command of Joaquin de Arredondo crushed the disorganized Republican forces at the Battle of Medina. It is known as the bloodiest fight on Texas soil — fewer than 100 fighting for the “Texas” army of 1,400 escaped death.

Among the Spanish soldiers was Lt. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He’d be back two decades later when Texas freedom fighters rose up again.

What people are saying about the Austin cop caught speeding on MoPac

 

An assistant Austin police chief was recently caught on a dashboard camera video in February after he got pulled over for driving 92 mph on MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and drove off with a warning.

Assistant Chief Chris McIlvain was in an unmarked patrol car on his way to Waco to see a Baylor basketball game when he got pulled over for speeding.

More: Clocked at 92 mph on MoPac, Austin assistant police chief gets warning

After a short discussion about his speeding, McIlvain apologized for his speed, and the officer who pulled him over said “Take care, buddy.”

When news broke of the traffic stop, Austin interim police chief Brian Manley called a press conference to say that he ordered McIlvain be issued a $195 ticket.

“I expect officers of this department to comply with the law, whether it be criminal or traffic laws, just like we expect the citizens to,” Manley said Tuesday.

Readers, however, were quick to sound off on the video on social media.

Some admired that anyone could get up to 92 mph on MoPac, regardless of who it was…

While many people were angry at a perceived level of favoritism within the police department…

While some people weren’t that shocked by the incident…

While @EvilMoPacATX just tweeted what we were all thinking.

https://twitter.com/EvilMopacATX/status/846846043455209472

What about you? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Richard Linklater on that time he got fired from an Austin hotel, and other words of wisdom about money

 

“Every single commodity you produce is a piece of your own death!” — Hitchhiker, “Slacker”

“Didja ever look at a dollar bill, man? There’s some spooky s*** goin’ on there.” — Slater, “Dazed and Confused”

The films of acclaimed director and Austin resident Richard Linklater don’t explicitly deal with money, but the characters in Linklater’s films often ruminate on philosophic ideas about money, capitalism, life, love, time and everything in between.

Austin Film Society Founder and Artistic Director Richard Linklater poses on the red carpet for the Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios where he later presented Shirley MacLaine with the lifetime achievement award. (Suzanne Cordeiro/American-Statesman)

Those philosophic ideas about money (such as the quotes above) stem from Linklater’sown experiences. Linklater shared those experiences in a 2016 guest blog post for WealthSimple, an investment website. In the year-old essay, Linklater writes about his relationship with money, and why he was glad he got fired from a job at La Mansion in Austin (now the Doubletree Hotel off I-35 North).

More: Richard Linklater adaptation of ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ starring Cate Blanchett to start filming July 2017

The story goes like this:

When he was 27 years old, Linklater was working as a night bellhop at La Mansion. One night, he went to go pick up a customer at the airport and bragged about how his hotel job basically allowed him to read and write and he guessed that during a regular 8-hour shift, he only did about an hour to 90 minutes of actual work.

via GIPHY

Turns out, the guest Linklater picked up was the assistant regional manager for the hotel chain, and Linklater found a pink slip at the desk when he showed up to work 10 days later.

Related: Shirley MacLaine walks the Texas Film Awards red carpet with Richard Linklater

But, he said that experience allowed him to travel to New York and hone his screenwriting skills for a summer. Then, his filmmaking career started to take off.

“That Doubletree Hotel isn’t far from my daughter’s school, and we drive past it all the time. I’ve pointed it out to her: ‘See that place? That’s the last real job your dad ever had, the last honest buck I ever made!'” Linklater wrote in the blog post.

Linklater also dropped some pearls of wisdom about money, including these quotes that wouldn’t sound out of place in one of his films:

  • “The best advice I ever got about money was from a doctor I met a long time ago. He had plenty of money, and he told me, ‘Invest in yourself.'”
  • “Ultimately, for me, money is a bad motivator. I’m so blessed because I’ve never really done stuff for money. I just try to make the films I want to make and tell the stories I care most about. Once you really don’t give a f*** about money, it comes scratching at your door.”
  • “When you grow up pretty poor, you see money as the thing that will solve all of your problems.”
  • “Once you have a reasonable level of comfort—you’ve got a roof over your head, you can pay your bills, your utilities aren’t being shut off, you can fix your car—having more money doesn’t really increase your happiness.”

Read Linklater’s full blog post here.

How much to ‘go Rambo’ with an M60 at a Texas ranch? We break it down

No, you cannot cradle an M60 machine gun in your arms and blow away everything in sight like Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo. But for $700 you can feel like you did.

Wednesday afternoon, we posted a story from the Cox Media Group National Content Desk about a ranch in Uvalde that allows visitors to pay to drive a tank, fire artillery or shoot a machine gun.

A portion of the 18,000-acre OX Hunting Ranch, west of San Antonio, lets you do things you’d otherwise have to enlist in the military to do, all under the watchful eye of a former Houston Police officer and Green Beret.

The story pointed out “prices range from $40 to fire a machine gun; $125 to fire a mortar to nearly $3,000 to operate a World War II-era Sherman tank, and fire its 76 mm main gun.”

The business is called DriveTanks and the story gave pretty good detail on the tank experience, but it glossed over the part about shooting machine guns — which is something a lot of red-blooded American men raised on action movies secretly (or not secretly) wish they could do.

Well, we are asking the hard questions. And doing the math — based on rate of fire numbers on the DriveTanks website. And it turns out $40 isn’t going to buy you a lot of machine gunning, at least by action movie standards. Here are the hypothetical costs to recreate a few famous cinematic machine gun scenes.

HOW MUCH TO RE-ENACT THE ‘PREDATOR’ MINIGUN SCENE?

The minigun (which actor Bill Duke picks up at the 21-second mark in the video) can fire up to 6,000 rounds a minute and costs $625 for 250 rounds (or about 2.5 seconds) at DriveTanks. You can’t pick it up and fire it, that’s movie magic. But if you could fire it for 44 seconds, you’d be out $11,000.

HOW MUCH FOR THE ‘TERMINATOR 2’ MINIGUN SCENE?

Arnold Schwarzenegger actually fires for 2 seconds longer than our “Predator” soldier, but not at the maximum rate of fire, and with pauses, so it’s difficult to calculate. But it would still be in the thousands of dollars.

HOW MUCH FOR THE ‘RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II’ M60 SCENE?

Sylvester Stallone fires the M60 machine gun for 28 seconds. At 600 rounds per minute and $50 for 20 rounds, that works out to $700.

WHAT ABOUT THE QUAD 50-CAL SCENE IN ‘WATERWORLD’?

The 4 50-caliber guns (they start firing here at the 17 second mark in the video) are equivalent to DriveTank’s M2 machine gun. They have a firing rate of 700 rounds a minute. The four fire for 17 seconds at 11.6 rounds a second. 788 rounds at $100 per 20 rounds works out to $3,940.


Keep in mind, everyone, that these are all fictional movie scenes and that DriveTanks will not let you shoot wildly or shoot four 50-cal machine guns at once, even if you’re very careful.

Austin’s Oilcan Harry’s will host official “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” returns for its ninth season on Friday, and Warehouse District nightclub Oilcan Harry’s has been chosen by VH1 to help celebrate this fashionable occasion.

Premiere viewing parties on March 24 and March 31 will give you the chance to win some “Drag Race” swag and enjoy the adventures of the queens competing for the ultimate crown. The free fun begins at 7 p.m. March 24; 18 and older are welcome.

The first episode features a guest appearance from Lady Gaga.

Throughout the season, Oilcan Harry’s will host trivia contests during each Friday night episode, followed by performances by local female impersonators. And the nightclub will be bringing in Season 9 contestants throughout the spring as special guest performers at the weekly Super Sunday Show at 11 p.m. and midnight.

Season 8 of “Drag Race,” you may recall, featured Austin’s own Cynthia Lee Fontaine.

Willie Nelson, Farm Aid seek help for farmers, ranchers hit hard by recent wildfires

A black Angus cow walks amid charred grass on Garth Gardiner’s ranch outside Ashland, Kan., March 17, 2017. Nick Oxford/The New York Times

More than 750 square miles of the Texas Panhandle — as well as wide swaths of Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas — were burned by wildfires earlier this month. The blazes killed at least a half-dozen people and injured firefighters near Amarillo.

But the wildfires also were devastating to the livelihoods of many in the farming and ranching communities that populate the region. In Texas, officials are citing at least $21 million in agricultural damages, including lost pastureland and fencing and livestock losses in the thousands.

Now Willie Nelson and Farm Aid — the charitable organization he helped create — are stepping forward to help.

Farm Aid is providing financial assistance to these farmers and ranchers through its Family Farm Disaster Fund. “Prior to the fires, these farmers and ranchers were hard at work growing food and fiber for our country,” Farm Aid says. “Their recovery is essential for the health and vitality of America’s rural communities.”

On Twitter, and on his website, Willie has asked his fans to donate to help support farmers and ranchers.

David Crockett rides the scorched prairie of Franklin Ranch searching for injured cattle after wildfires raced across Gray County, Texas driven by 50 mph winds. Michael Schumacher/The Amarillo Globe News