“…So please, be tolerant of those who describe a sporting moment as their best ever. We do not lack imagination, nor have we had sad and barren lives; it is just that real life is paler, duller, and contains less potential for unexpected delirium.”
― Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

“You have to give 100 percent in the first half of the game. If that isn’t enough, in the second half, you have to give what’s left.”
― Yogi Berra

Hand of Dirk, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Hand of Dirk, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

I’m still working through older photographs – I need some bicycle shots with my new Xootr Swift, instead of my old commuter bike.

“We have to do something about our bad starts because it’s not the first time it’s happened to us all year. Maybe we should get up at 6 o’clock and run around the block.”
—-Dirk Nowitzki

“I sat down in the producer’s office and he handed me a basketball. It had my name on it.”
—-Spalding Gray

Dirk Nowitzki Gives Conan The Texas Citizenship Test

It’s a Slam Dunk

“Basketball is an intricate, high-speed game filled with split-second, spontaneous decisions. But that spontaneity is possible only when everyone first engages in hours of highly repetitive and structured practice–perfecting their shooting, dribbling, and passing and running plays over and over again–and agrees to play a carefully defined role on the court. . . . spontaneity isn’t random.”

― Malcolm Gladwell

Irving Arts Center
Irving, Texas

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)
Welded Steel

In the background is Fountain Columns by Jesús Bautista Moroles

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX) It's a Slam Dunk (2007) (click to enlarge)

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)
(click to enlarge)

“I am more than just a Serious basketball fan. I am a life-long Addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
― Hunter S. Thompson

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX) It's a Slam Dunk (2007) (click to enlarge)

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)
(click to enlarge)

“We old athletes carry the disfigurements and markings of contests remembered only by us and no one else. Nothing is more lost than a forgotten game.”
― Pat Conroy

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX) It's a Slam Dunk (2007)

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)

“And I would be the first to admit that probably, in a lot of press conferences over the time that I have been in coaching, indulging my own sense of humor at press conferences has not been greatly to my benefit.”
― Robert Montgomery Knight

When I first graduated from college I took a job in a small city isolated out on the windswept Great Plains, only a few miles from the little town my family was from. I didn’t know anybody in town and there wasn’t all that much to do anyway so I thought I’d take a class at the local junior college. It was funny, I had trouble enrolling (I had to get permission from a dean) because, even though I had four years at university, my high school transcripts were unavailable, lost in the revolution.

I had never been able to take psychology – the classes often filled up, with preference given to students in the major, plus it was impossible to fit a class in around my extensive laboratory courses. So I enrolled in Psych 101 at the junior college.

It was shocking how easy the class was, especially after coming through four years of chemistry, math, and physics. I barely had to study and I don’t think I missed a single question on a single exam. Yet the other student constantly complained about the amount of work assigned and the difficulty of the tests. It was like high school. I remember thinking that if at university anyone would dare (and none ever did) complain, the professor would have simply pointed to the door.

The instructor, however, was excellent. A very old man, he taught an interesting class and dealt with the whining with more patience than I thought possible… or necessary.

One day he came up to me before class and asked me a question.

“Your last name, did you have a father from around here.”

“Yes, my dad is from a small town nearby.”

“Did he play basketball?”


“I remember being the referee when your father played in high school. I had never seen an athlete like that. He was the best basketball player I ever reffed.”

“You’re kidding. You remember him after all this time?”

“Yes, it was quite a game. I remember I fouled him out of the game near the end.”

The next weekend I told this story to my father.

“He’s lying,” my father said, “I never fouled out of a game.”

What I learned this week, May 18, 2012

Another good article, this one from Vanity Fair, on the ongoing cotroversy between the Museum Tower and the Nasher Sculpture Garden.

A Glare Grows in Dallas: Why a New Condo Tower Has the City’s Art Community Up in Arms

From the article:

It’s hard to know what the mediation will accomplish, since the developers of the condo tower and their Los Angeles architect, Scott Johnson, have so far done little to accept responsibility. In an exhaustive report on the issue in D, Dallas’s city magazine, Tim Rogers quoted the developers as asking the Nasher what it was prepared to do to help, as if this were a negotiation in which both sides were expected to give an equal amount to reach an amicable compromise. Johnson, for his part, told The New York Times, “I can’t say sitting here now that the Nasher may not need to do something on their end.”

Why, in heaven’s name, should they have to? The Nasher was there first, it didn’t create the problem, and it is suffering from it.

There’s a photo of the glare inside the Nasher’s beautiful, Renzo Piano designed pavillion.

Photo from Vanity Fair


The Next Great Technology Platform: The Bicycle

I don’t want to sound like the old fart that I am, but look at this list of the best 70 albums from the 1970’s (not considered the best decade for music by any shot). There is nothing that comes close to any of these being done today.

Just sayin’

The 70 Best Albums of the 1970s

The ’70s sometimes get a bad rap: Often these years are remembered as the musical era that brought us disco at its absolute gaudiest. But there was far more going on in the decade than polyester, sequins and cocaine; the 1970s saw the rise of the singer/songwriter, the birth of punk rock, reggae’s infiltration of the mainstream and the long, strange trip led by some of psychedelia’s finest.

In fact, it’s a decade so musically diverse, we had quite a time whittling it down to our top albums. When we polled our staff, interns and writers, over 250 albums received votes, but ultimately these 70 emerged as clear favorites.

14 Photographs That Shatter Your Image of Famous People

Awesome People Hanging Out Together

Kansas and Baylor

I am an American male – so therefore, I am a sports fan. And I admit it. I like to watch sports on television and live. It’s an entertainment, beauty and skill… it’s a demonstration of man’s abilities to exceed his putative limitations… and it’s something that there is no way to know the outcome ahead of time.

Now, I do believe in cheering for the teams that represent the city that you live in. Here in Dallas, there is an extra lift in the steps of the folks on Monday after the Cowboys win the weekend before – and that is a good thing. Otherwise, though, I try my best to avoid the trap of rabid fandom, of believing that the winner or loser of a sporting event is important beyond the game itself. I try, but I am not always successful.

The one team that I am an admitted fan of is the Kansas Jayhawk Basketball team. I feel that is my right, as I did graduate from there and it is a team with support, future, and history that deserves and rewards this fandom.

I thought of all this Monday night as I wasted too much time watching the Kansas/Baylor game on television. It was a home game for the Jayhawks and Allen Field House was rocking – they said on television that the crown noise was at 114 decibels. Kansas was ranked seventh in the nation and Baylor was third and undefeated.

It was not a very good game for anyone other than Kansas fans – KU pretty much stomped all over the Bears, the game was not in doubt after the half.

Photo by Nick Krug from Kusports.com.

Thinking about it, I remembered about another Kansas/Baylor basketball game, in 2007. It is impossible for me to get tickets to home Kansas games, but living in Texas enables me to see an away game every now and then. At that time Nick was a KU fan too and we drove down to Waco. I wrote about it in my blog back then:

February, 2007

Rock Chalk

Hey, over here!
Have your picture taken with a
reclusive author!
Today only, we’ll throw in a
free autograph! But wait,
there’s more!
—-Thomas Pynchon, The Simpsons

When I went from high school to college I knew nothing about basketball. Actually, we played basketball, but at ANS it was played outside, in the tropical heat, on a concrete court with no spectators and no players over six feet tall. Once I arrived at KU I was convinced to buy student tickets to the basketball season, though I couldn’t understand what the big deal was.

It was amazing. The excitement and the sound were something I had never experienced before and have never experienced since.

In those simpler days tickets at KU were twenty dollars a season and, though some hardy souls would hang out to get better seats you could walk up at game time and sit in the rafters of Allen Field House. What I liked the most was the ebb and flow of the games – how one team would eke out a lead and then the other would go on a run. The whole thing was driven by emotion, fear, and confidence. Those were only kids out there, after all, and were obviously susceptible to the foibles of us all.

Several months ago, Nick and I noticed that the KU Jayhawks would be playing a Wednesday evening game in Waco against Baylor and before Christmas I bought a pair of tickets from their web site. Late January seemed a long time in the future, but time flies and here we were. Nick skipped soccer practice to get out of school a bit early and I took a half day of vacation. The trip was easy – I have made that drive to Waco a thousand times but I was worried about parking. I shouldn’t have given it a second thought – the basketball fanaticism in Waco isn’t as strong as I feared (not too surprising, given their sordid recent past) and parking was not only plentiful and close, but free (I’ve lived in the big city too long… free parking is a rare treat).

The game was, as expected, a blowout win for Kansas. The facility was beautiful, though not nearly half full. There seemed to be as many Kansas fans as Baylor fans in the place. With home tickets so difficult to get, KU fans do tend to pack in the visiting arenas. Near the end of the game the “Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant was really obvious, especially around our seating section. A Baylor student behind us shouted, “But what does it mean?”

For Christmas, Candy ordered a KU basketball for Nick. When it arrived, I noticed that half the ball was covered with white leather. “That’s not a ball for playing,” I said, “That’s for getting autographs.” Nick decided to take the ball to Waco and see if he could get someone on the team to autograph it. Now, I know nothing about getting autographs – didn’t even know if it was possible. After the game, we fetched the ball and a black sharpie and walked around the arena. In the back was a steep driveway full of television trucks and littered with thick cables. At the top of the driveway was a couple of long-haul buses, idling, air brakes hissing, their cargo holds open and full of athletic bags. There was another family standing there, two kids, one with a ball like Nick’s, the other a poster.

“This must be the place,” I said, and, sure enough, one by one the players came hiking up the driveway, each carrying a pizza box. They all looked exhausted, most limping, but were very friendly and accommodating to the three kids that wanted autographs. A couple of walk-ons were first and they seemed really happy to have someone ask for an autograph. Then the starters started coming out and signing Nick’s basketball. A center, Sasha Kaun, from Russia, signed and Nick said, “I’m used to tall players, there’s some high school players almost seven feet tall, but his hands were huge. When he took the pen out of my hand I couldn’t believe how big it was.”

We stood out there for almost an hour and collected autographs from all the players on the team, plus Danny Manning, and head coach Self. It had worked out perfectly with the players stringing out over time, in no real hurry to board the bus, and only three kids standing there. They were quiet but all did talk a little; they kept asking the kid with the poster, “Where’s me?” so they could sign in the right place.

After the last signature we hiked back to the parking lot while the bus pulled out. When I was in school I had a Center from the basketball team in my 7AM Analytical Chemistry lab and he would be so worn out during the season – arriving back from west coast games and going immediately to class for the next day.

We had it a little easier and made it home around one in the morning.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any of the pictures I took of Nick getting the ball signed. I wasted most of this evening digging through my backup files… I’m afraid they are lost. I had good pictures of him with both Danny Manning and Coach Self.

This was in 2007, the team won the national championship the next year. The championship team’s signatures are all on the ball except for Cole Aldrich.

The Autographed Ball

Nick was a fan of Kansas Basketball for his whole life up until his senior year in high school. Over time, he built up a nice collection of Kansas Basketball memorabilia with the autographed ball as the most prized item.

Then he applied for early consideration to Duke University. For those of you that don’t know American Basketball, Duke is another of the elite Basketball schools.

I was in Seattle on business and on a plane flying back when the decision would come down on whether Nick would get into Duke or not. When I arrived home, I looked in my office and there was a pile of Kansas stuff that Nick had hauled out of his room and heaped up on the floor. The signed ball was on top.

So I knew he had got into Duke.

Taylor to Robinson for the HUGE slam!! #kubball on Twitpic

Other Blogs:

Baylor needs to hit somebody. Observations from their trip to Lawrence

Jayhawks Get All The Ladies

Baylor’s Undefeated Season Ends in Kansas