Violent use brings violent plans
(sanitarium, just leave us alone!) 

Maybe it was the new Farm Bill that had Queque all a’yearnin’ for country air and tummy-hiding bunny dips. Speaker Pelosi’s promised revolution in agro-leadership had fallen limper than a bushel of frost-bit asparagus. It seems millionaires can still be subsidized to burn diesel to grow ethanol so we can pump ourselves silly for sweet country drives.

With a petro-toast to such forward thinking, the Queque sent its better half on the long drive to Livingston while the newly acquainted left hand beat it west on 90 and up 211.

Perhaps the Queque didn’t run far enough from imperial S.A. After only a few rolling frames of idyllic, albeit soggy greenery we’re overtaken by a kingdom of cloned homes. Metallica’s Master of Puppets cover art comes to mind. Then the road dies.

A crumpled body beside the road looks strangely like Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson. Tread marks across his starched shirt and county pin tell most of the story. Clutched in his hand is a toll-road ticket. “With Love, Zach and Hardy,” is scratched on the back. He’s moaning about a mayoralship, but a droopy sign in the mud arrows us left. There’s a TxDOT public hearing and the possibility of free cookies.

The Potranco Elementary cafeteria is full of sad farmers remembering themselves cowboys and recollecting when this country nosing the Medina County line was interrupted only by wire fence. One such specimen is shaking his head as his hanging eyelids reach for the floor, partially shielding grey eyes.

“You get atop that hill, you can see the whole valley,” he says, pressing his finger into a satellite photo provided by the engineers. He wants to know what will happen to his neighbor’s irrigation well when Highway 211 (South) is linked to Highway 211 (North). Currently the road terminates at the Metallica cut-off, otherwise known as 1957. Thirty million will make a cool two-laner and in another 20 years or so this will be a major expressway, we’re told — but NOT the third ring around SA. The crowd is underwhelmed. The state should finish up 1604 and let the country be. Who’d want to drive north-south in this back country, anyway? Stupid question. TxDOT engineer Judy Friesenhahn says she’s exactly that kind of girl. And pop trends and bulldozers suggest there are more like her on the way.

The specimen (“Kenneth,” his friends keep calling him) is repeating himself, making the badges nervous. He refuses to take his blunt finger off the map. “They made a movie out there years ago about a cowboy who died in a rodeo …

“You get atop that hill, you can see the whole valley. It used to be priceless. Not no more.”

Clutch-pedal depressed, fifth to fourth to third, ka-chunk, whirrr, ka-chunk, and yes, we’ve successfully switched gears. Here’s the Queque’s monthly round-up of local military contract news:

Obviously the biggest break this month was the bribery scandal involving a procurement officer based at Fort Sam Houston, who’s accused of accepting $9.6 million in kickbacks for military-supply contracts and allegedly had another $5.6 million on the way. According to Time (because the Queque won’t give the Express-News’ Guillermo Contreras the satisfaction of scooping us), the contracts included an $800,000 deal for bottled water with Kuwait-based distributor Green Valley, who allegedly set up a shady $175,000 bank account in Detroit for Major John Cockerham. The major, his wife Melissa, and his school-teaching sister Carolyn Blake could face up to 20 years in prison. Apparently defrauding the government regarding the Iraq War is a far more serious crime than defrauding the public regarding the Iraq War. Cough-cough-Scooter-Libby-cough.

Last month in this column, the Queque whined that the contracts Say-Town received in June, all fuel-related, were duller than a CSPAN-2 Book TV marathon. It seems someone was listening. Sure, of the $62.2 million in contracts picked up by S.A. in July, $26.4 million went to Valero for gasoline. But another $11.6 million went to CasePro Inc. for health-care services for military installations in the Carolinas, which can be renewed up to four times, bringing the total potential up to $145 million. The final contract, though, is our favorite.

Labatt Food Service Inc. renewed its food-service contract with the Defense Supply Center in Philly for $25.1 million. So, what will our troops be eating? Hard to say, but according to Labatt’s website, this month’s featured products include: A cinnamon-raisin biscuit with apply-your-own-icing, instant seasoned mashed redskin potatoes, and “premium flame-roasted onions and savory mushrooms, blended with a steakhouse-inspired seasoning.” Their website also tells us that this mixture will “bring guilt-free indulgence to your menu.” We wonder if that’s what the president’s been noshing on since March 2003.

Now, Labatt’s president Blair Labatt, in addition to being a Representative Lamar Smith campaign supporter, is a character worth mentioning. His web biography says his true passion isn’t providing foodstuffs to the military and other “food-away-from-home” establishments. No, Blair loves William Faulkner and in 2005, the University of Alabama Press published his book of literary criticism. Faulkner the Storyteller is currently ranked the 1,360,382nd most popular book on (which tells the Queque that if we’re interested in Labatt’s book, we may also be interested in meeting “hot singles” in our area at

According to the National Priorities Project at, the Iraq War has cost San Antonio $1.8 billion, which could’ve put 88,426 kids through four-year public university, where theoretically they’d be forced to read The Sound and the Fury and finally get the reference behind Gilbert Garcia’s weekly local music column. 


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