Houston Astros, Netflix, Congressman Ron Paul

It could be a year of despair for Astros fans

The company doesn't give out specific rental figures for its DVDs, but Swasey says "a certain amount of critical mass...into the significant hundreds" of Houstonians added Another Gay Movie to their rental queue to cause it to top the list.

"It's just another data point we put out," he says. "We have all this information. Why not share it with our members? It's kind of interesting what your neighbors and friends are renting."

Well, we guess you can't blame your friends and neighbors for not renting the 2006 Astros highlight film.

The Really Dark Horse

Congressman Ron Paul, who we think we're safe in saying is the only GOP member of the House to support medical marijuana and oppose the death penalty and the Iraq war, has announced he's running for president as a Republican.

Paul ran for the office on the Libertarian ticket in 1988 but, as even the most Xbox-addled of you must know, he didn't win. For the past ten years he's been representing the 14th District in Brazoria County, easily winning reelection despite his somewhat oddball policy positions.

Steve Olafson has been a dedicated follower of Brazoria County politics for a long time, both as a Houston Chronicle and Post reporter and in his current guise as blogger extraordinaire Banjo Jones (http://brazosportnews.blogspot.com ). We sought his analysis of the man who might be our 44th president.

Hair Balls: How does Paul keep getting elected? Are the folks in the 14th a bunch of war-hating, pot-loving, death-penalty opponents who despise the Federal Reserve and long for the U.S. to return to the gold standard? Or does Paul just give great constituent service?

Banjo Jones: Well, the folks say his office is real responsive when they've got a problem that needs fixing. I hear that all the time. Evidently, he runs an efficient operation. People down here mostly just want to be left alone, whether or not they're potheads, antiwar or worried about the government printing money whenever it pleases 'em. It might have something to do with Brazoria County being where Stephen F. Austin set up the first colony back when this was Mexico.

HB: Okay, but why hasn't some chamber-of-commerce type businessperson put up a big challenge to him? Is Paul a great one-on-one campaigner?

BJ: The chamber types are mostly concerned with keeping Dow Chemical happy. So far as retail politics, I've heard people remark that they like the fact [Paul] can attend something like a memorial or a funeral for a soldier killed in Iraq and not work the room shaking hands and slappin' backs. He'll just sit there and pay his respects like anyone else. And he'll tell you what he thinks, whether it's a NASA audience in Clear Lake or a bunch of rednecks west of the Brazos.

HB: Do you have a favorite Ron Paul moment?

BJ: Maybe the time he voted against giving Mother Teresa the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The thing I liked about it was he didn't give a shit if people thought he was a grump for voting against it.

HB: Has being a gynecologist helped his political career?

BJ: I've heard he never met a Caesarean section he didn't like when he was a practicing OB/GYN, but I wouldn't know about that.

HB: Do you think he'd be fun to get high with?

BJ: I think he gets high talking about the Constitution. And pot makes you stupid, right?

Things Have Changed

Just a year ago, the Astros were starting their season fresh off an appearance in the World Series. True, they got wretchedly embarrassed in that Series, but still — they had at least won the pennant. But that 2006 team, and this year’s model, are very different. Click here to see just how different.

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