Whoops. Last week, we inadvertently mentioned Rabbit Hole Brewing Co.'s 2016 medals from the U.S. Open Beer Championships. Rabbit Hole won two gold medals in this year's contest, one for 10/6, an English pale ale, and another for Off With Your Red, an imperial red ale. The Justin brewing company won a gold (for 10/6 ) and a bronze (for Rapture Fusion Brown Ale) in 2016. Not too shabby. The U.S. Beer Open was founded in 2009. We promise we weren't drinking while typing this last week.
The Denton County Libertarian Party has a bone to pick with state Rep. Ron Simmons. Simmons, a Carrollton Republican, is considered the architect of the controversial Texas bathroom bill. The bill would require transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex in public schools, government buildings and public universities.
David Rhodes, communications director of the Libertarian Party of Denton County, said Simmons blocked the party on Twitter. "Why? We expressed our disagreement with his bill," Rhodes said in a statement. "We are not just one person. We represent thousands of conservatives and libertarians in Denton County. We represent the principles held by thousands of Texans and millions of Americans of truly limited government. We challenge Ron Simmons to listen to his constituency. We are ready to have this conversation."
More than 1,400 deaf and hard-of-hearing Jehovah's Witnesses attended the annual convention in Denton last weekend. The convention's theme was "Don't Give Up." The Denton assembly hall has become a primary venue for deaf and hard-of-hearing members to attend the free annual convention. The Jehovah's Witnesses has translated the Bible into American Sign Language. Deaf members can access denominational materials on its website.
Wendy Watson, a University of North Texas professor, signed a contract with Henery Press to re-release her first three Mystery a la Mode books and to publish another three titles. The small press specializes in mysteries and "a splash of chick lit."
Mike Collier, a Texas Democrat who's running for the lieutenant governor's chair in 2018, announced that he's raised more than $234,000 in his campaign so far. If that amount seems puny, that's because it is. But it also happens to be more money than a Democrat has raised at this point in a campaign season for decades. And in the most recent Texas Lyceum poll, Collier tracked ahead of Republican Dan Patrick. (The same poll showed Texas voters favoring Democrat Joaquin Castro over Sen. Ted Cruz.)
This is the point where we remind you that it's early yet, and Collier's margin of favor over Patrick is ultra-thin. Not to annoy local progressives, but hold your applause for now. Texas is blood-red in its elected offices. So red, in fact, that Jared Woodfill, the president of Conservative Republicans of Texas, told The New York Times this week that Joe Straus, the Republican speaker of the House in Austin, is setting a liberal agenda for the state.
Woodfill said Straus' "days are numbered" as speaker because Straus doesn't agree that Texas should have a showdown over transgender people in bathrooms. Conservative Republicans of Texas is a formidable political action committee that has failed to unseat Straus in the past few years.
Earlier this year, we featured Dallas-based Hand Drawn Pressing, a fully automated vinyl record pressing operation co-owned by UNT graduate Dustin Blocker. Over in Athens, Georgia, a company with a similar back story (scrappy band of musicians turns into a record label and studio) is opening its own record pressing operation, Kindercore Vinyl. The company uses the same technology Hand Drawn Pressing employs: the WarmTone press from Canadian firm Viryl Technologies.
Texas Game of Throne fans are most interested in the House of Targaryen, according to online search data studied by the rummage sale website Decluttr.com. We don't watch Game of Thrones, but we're familiar enough to buy that Texans like all things Daenerys. She's platinum blonde, audacious and commands dragons. What's not to like? Doesn't that describe a goodly number of Lone Star women? (Read more about other states and their GOT mania.)
On social media, you're judged by the company you keep. That's what Denton County GOP Precinct 1013 chairman Joseph Kane learned, thanks to a handful of Twitter followers who openly identify as Nazis. An anti-fascist group called Antifa recently targeted Kane, "doxing" him — a practice in which online activists publish identifying information with malicious intent. Antifa, a group that has had violent scuffles at political rallies and speeches, shared Kane's telephone number and email address.
Typically, it's leftists who denounce online bullying. But the left can be every bit as virulent and abusive as those who threaten women online for sport, especially women who write from a feminist point of view. Not as if we needed the reminder that we are often at our worst when we're behind the keyboard.
In happier news, UNT music professor Jose Aponte won the 2017 Outstanding Performance Award from the Jazz Education Network. Aponte teaches percussion, and leads the exemplary UNT Brazilian Percussion Ensemble. We dare anyone to keep still when Aponte is behind the drums. You will fail like Kevin Kline failed in the famous dance scene from In & Out.
There will soon be an emoji of a woman wearing hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by millions of Muslimahs. The development comes four months after Nike debuted its Pro Hijab, a garment made for female Muslim athletes and fitness buffs. Apple unveiled the emoji on Monday, World Emoji Day, and announced that the symbol will be available on devices later this year. The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit corporation that reviews and develops emojis — the little symbols that communicate in place of text on digital communication platforms — created the emoji after a Muslim teenage girl, Rayouf Alhumedhi, proposed it.
"People at this conference keep on asking me which Ph.D. program I'm in. At first I was taking it as a welcome comment on my youthful vibe, but I'm beginning to wonder if the more plausible explanation is that I am hovering over the free sandwiches?"
— Emily Clough, a former UNT professor now teaching at Newcastle University in England
Denton Dammit is an old-fashioned gossip column about people, places and things in and around Denton. Send your submissions to Lucinda Breeding at firstname.lastname@example.org.