Twinges of Longing

“And only the enlightened can recall their former lives; for the rest of us, the memories of past existences are but glints of light, twinges of longing, passing shadows, disturbingly familiar, that are gone before they can be grasped, like the passage of that silver bird on Dhaulagiri.”
― Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

The Buddhist Temple of Dallas – Watdallas

Having No Goal

“When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”

― Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

The Buddhist Temple of Dallas – Watdallas

What I learned this week, October 1, 2021

Paths, 2014, by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, Hall Sculpture Collection, Arts District, Dallas, Texas

Strangers less awkward, more interested in deep conversation than people think

After the shitstorm of the last few years, we are all looking to make some new friends, or at least new connections. It’s a daunting thought, especially for people my age. Maybe there is hope.


Perforations in the roof of the Pavilion in Pacific Plaza Park, downtown Dallas, Texas

National CD Player Day – October 1, 2021

The first CD player was sold on October 1, 1982. I bought my first player not long after that… a couple years maybe. It was an amazing piece of tech to me… I was amazed at the fidelity. Only recently (because of Spotify) did I finally move my rack of precious audio CDs into a closet for storage.


Vietnamese Pickled Carrots & Daikon Radish Recipe (Đồ Chua)


The trail runs through thick forest near the south end. While I was taking this photo – my tire was losing air.

Secret, hidden gem’: New Dallas forest refuge was once the Elm Fork’s most notorious illegal dump

Frasier Dam Recreation Area


My coffee thermos.

How to Make Better Coffee


We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of It Is Nonsense.


The Most Important Device In The Universe Is Powered By A 555 Timer

A Descent Into the Mythos

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

From my old web-site – from 2003 or so.

Since my porcine companion, Portobello Poblano, (we call him “Porto” for short) and I had a grand day of adventure planned, we decided to have a hearty lunch at the restaurant in our hotel, the Akimbo Arms. Porto had the fried chicken and cream gravy which is too greasy for me, so I ordered the fruit plate.

The mangoes, strawberries, and plums were wonderful. The melon balls, green, yellow, and fleshy orange were passable, cool yet a tad slimy. I was horrified to discover there were no grapes on my plate (and they are in the prime season now!).

I complained to our waitress, a stoic, statuesque woman, until I was literally blue in the face. Finally she left to fetch a bunch.

Where is she? She is the slowest waitress I have ever seen! It is as if she is made of stone!

The young man aged before our eyes. The day darkened, he changed. His painting, though, became developed in color and enveloped in light. This is art. The artist grows old but the years of experience are preserved in the bright colors on his canvas.

We are approaching the heart of the Mythos.
The Dallas “Sacred Can”
A mural, a memorial to the creators of it all.

The Rhinos were being overrun by their mortal enemies, the Hephalumps. Their horrible Hephalump claws were penetrating the inner perimeter defences. It would be only a matter of minutes until the Hephalumps were dancing their victory jig over the corpses of the enemy. Soon it would all be wails, horror, the grinding of horns into aphrodisiacal teas.

The only recourse available to the heroic, if dim-witted, Rhino commander was to call in an air strike on his own position. On his command the orange-flamed lead finned death screamed from the green afternoon sky.

The only victor on the field of battle today would be the angel of death and her minions of buzzing flies and conqueror worms.

We came to a door.

Adventure

A door, a door to where?

Electric Frankenstein (“Takes on Texas!”)
Chumps
Huge Peter
Orbit Room
BARFeeders
Pump ‘N Ethyl
Spazmis
Urine Trouble
The Murderers (on tour) (all ages)
Hi Yah!

Visa and MasterCard Accepted

We had credit cards, so we went in.

The yuppies were advancing on the Mythos. Buiding their condominiums, their gated communities.

In self-defence, the denizens built this moat. Lined its walls with the most effective totems in their arsenal.

The spiked foot
The burning bathtub. (Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans).
The crazy old man.

That’ll hold them yuppies, keep the barbarians at the gate.

We were now past the paintings and the only remaining clue to the mystery that was the Mythos were the Cylinder Mounuments. These were everywhere, lined up, these wooden shafts. The local denizens decorate these poles with metal and paper. They are studded with small strips of steel, hammered in or shot through by spring loaded guns. Starnge cryptic messages are sometimes attached, extolling the virtues of various mysterious meetings, shindigs.

What strange ceremonies lead to the decorating of these poles? What goes on in these promised parties?

We came around the corner and there it was. Up high, next to a drawing of the king’s head and crown. The roundear king’s grubby hand reached up towards the words. Small print, yet legible, the words, the words. We had walked so far and braved so many dangers to find these words, this phrase.

But what did they mean?

This is a place that in which you are in a joint of pleasure and pain. A possible everlasting joy of never reaching the end.

Ah was watchin’ mah TeeVee when this voice comes on and says that it was time to activate the ‘Mergency Broadcast System. The voice said it was only a drill, but I decided not to take any chances. I ‘membered that there was this place where the street goes under the railroad tracks, an underpass, I ‘membered that there was one of them yeller ‘n black deals, fallout shelter signs. So me ‘n Ol’ Paint, we walked down to the spot. Ol’ Paint is too old for me to ride ‘er, so we both walked.

Ah saw what I thought were rooskie planes flyin’ overhead so we giddyuped under those tracks as fast as we could. Ol’ Paint ‘n I huddled ‘gether in that there underpass, which smelled o’ wino piss somthin’ awful, I’m not afeared to tell ya, fer what seemed like hours and hours. We heared what we thought was the end of the world, this terrible rumblin’ and shakin’ and what not. We were plum scared, we was, I’m not afeared to tell ya.

Turned out out it was only a fast frieght out o’ Beaumont, carryin’ imported machine tool parts and tank cars of acrylic monomers ‘cross that bridge over our heads, but we didn’t know any o’ that, not at the time anyhow. So we were sorely relieved when that policeman told us nothin’ was goin’ on and rousted us otta there. He told us to move along and we went out the other end from the one we come in on.

And there he was. Painted up on the pillar ‘tween the two roads, one goin’ in, the other out. The darm Cactus Cat-Dog Angel, painted up there, pretty as real life. And twice as scary too. As relieved to find out the world wasn’t endin’ in a nucular holocaust, that Cactus Cat-Dog Angel shore gave us the willies, chillin’ right up our backbones.

We’d both heard the stories. ‘Bout the Cactus Cat-Dog Angel showin’ that day out in Abeline, ’bout how the sun had turned red and the wind blew hot, and all the birds flew off, squakin, in fear. Folks don’t talk ’bout much mor’n that, they’s too skeered. In Fort Stockton, ‘n Monahans, ‘n Tulia too, all those towns where nobodys got nowhere to go ‘cept out into the open land with the sagebrush and mesquite when the scary things come.

Since that day, Ol’ Paint ‘n I go down to those tracks and check on that ol Cactus Cat-Dog Angel, makin’ sure he ain’t up to nothin’ bad. Sometimes I leave a little beef jerkey, or a half a plug of chewin’ ‘baccy there by the wall, Ol’ Paint ‘l leave a hank of fresh hay or a piece o’ salt lick. Just to be sure.

Don’t hurt nothin’ to stay on the good side. Y’all know what I mean?

The Giant showed up out of the blue. Pulling his wheeled cart he tore through the parking lots, grabbing cars left and right.

He chose carefully, not the most expensive or most exotic vehicles. He picked certain ones because he liked their colors.

The police were overmatched, they were forced to call out the big guns, the army and Toho studios.

But as the tanks were assembled, as the planes took to the air, the Giant decided to leave, as suddenly as he arrived.

“I think I hear my Mommy calling!” were his only cryptic words as he left.

At the edge, we found the artists working on the Mythos itself. A young man, painting. Extending the wonder, the art, the legends on and on, into the darkness.

Porto and I climbed up through the crack, hammering steel pegs into the rough rock as we went. We used our trusty sisal ropes to pull our bicyles and other provisions up after us.

We were afraid the Mythos would be extinct on the surface, but as our eyes became used to the sunlight we spotted a sign that indicated we would have a clear view ahead.

One look at the wall, with its Atlas and winged globe, fantastic preacher, and purple eye creature, showed us that the Mythos was alive and well in these here parts.

We were now at the end, the last door. Set behind one of the mysterious metal encrusted cylinder monuments was the nondescript entrance. As Porto and I were examining the portal, a dirty man shuffled up to us on the street.

“Cain’t y’all read! It says there to Leave yer rad’ators outside!”

Properly warned, we leaned our radiators up against the monument, pulled open the door, and passed through.

She was handsome, he was beautiful. They were in love. They were doomed.

The dark slick night, red hotel sign blinking vacancy, reflected in wet asphalt of the parking lot. He sat in his car outside room 15, idling the engine. A cold, hard mist continued to fall.

On the dash was an empty bottle of Jonny Walker Red, on the seat beside him was a loaded 38. She was inside the room, excited, expecting romance.

“Sorry, honey, not tonight” he said to nobody in particular as he backed out into the night.

Porto and I were worried that we would be lost in this savage land. The symbols and streets were mazelike and confusing, promising unknown pleasure or death around each blind corner.

Luckily, the denizens of this place had provided a map, applied with cunning dexterity and accuracy to an side wall. My companion and I stopped for a pull on our refreshment flasks and discovered the map.

As a matter of fact, I practically leaned my bicycle upon the very lines before I was able to decipher the ‘glyphs and determine its meaning.

Lady luck and her elusive lover, Good Fortune, have both smiled upon us this very day.

A crack a creavase.
Tremendous hideous strength.
Sound of rumbling, steel and rubber thunder.
Through the crack of light
giant luminous buildings, floating on air
and green green cash

Down here the lost wander
sleeping unseen in the open
smells of filth, smells of alcohol
Shanty smells, in the clear, yet dark

Climb, climb if you dare
If you can
Don’t forget us
Thought we know you will.

We’ll forget you too.

There is no way that I can put down in this humble notebook all the wonders that Porto and I saw, heard, and smelt on our perilous journey through the Mythos.

At the end though, as we were returning to the paddle boat, was a surprise for me. A very personal surprise.

Totally by accident (dare I say it – by Chance?) we met up with Betsy, a woman I was in love with a long, long time ago. It was a youthful, torrid affair, but I was soon put off by her sometimes coldness, and the terrific differences in our backgrounds. So I grew proud, and resentful, and then came that one terrible, regretful night, when I drank too much cheap wine, and said things that should have been left unsaid.

We have drifted far across over these years, but meeting her again brought the memories back. Her regal air, that precious spit curl on the side of her head, those firm naked breasts.

Betsy and I will meet again next week. What will happen? I don’t know. I’m wiser now, I can see clearly what I gave up for pride long, long ago.

Here in the Mythos, the tales and stories of the real world filter in. But they become distorted, warped by the peculiar needs and desires of the people here into lessons for their own place and time.

“The little engine that could” is a mural in honor of the little steam train that almost made it over the mountains, bringing toys for the deserving girls and boys. He almost made it but needed help from Arcturus, the eagle, and Wilbur, the strongman of the mountains.

But when the engine reached the city on the other side, he didn’t mention Arturus or Wilbur and took all the credit for himself. He was hailed a hero; songs, books, and films were made in his honor. Parents would tell the fable to their children in a pitiful and futile attempt to spur the kids on to a purposeful and brave life.

At night though, the engine would hear the caw, caw, of high and distant eagles. When he rolled past the woods, it seemed that someone would throw mudballs and faint curses from the deepest forest.

It wasn’t long before the little engine was replaced by diesel-electrics. He was left to rust on a siding, croaking out his tale to any unfortunate passersby. His story lives on, but he is known now by the few that know him as a pitiful old loser, whining away on lost glories.

Ten Years Later, The Eye of Sauron Still Shines

In April of 2012, I wrote this entry on the destruction of the Nasher Sculpture Center by the Luxury High rise condo tower next door – ironically called “The Museum Tower.”

Baked Art From an Upscale Solar Cooker

And for me personally, this wasn’t even the worst part. As the tower grew, it destroyed my favorite work of art – Tending (Blue), by James Turrell. You can read about that here:

The End of Tending (Blue)

Today, the Dallas Morning News has an article about the decade-long horror:

Ten years later, ‘The Glare’ from Museum Tower continues to bedevil the Nasher Sculpture Center

Some quotes:

It revealed itself with a white-hot intensity on Sept. 26, 2011. No one knew what it was — how it got there or where it came from. But all of those answers soon revealed themselves, giving The Glare, as it came to be known, a permanent place in Dallas history.

The Glare is still there, but a decade later — the 10th anniversary of this infamous discovery is Sunday — Dallas continues to be amazed by its force and power and the casualties left in its wake.

The Glare is not an invention of Stephen King, and yet, it had (continues to have) a sci-fi effect on the Nasher Sculpture Center, whose walls on a sunny day look as though they’re stricken with measles. The Glare is the shiny reflection emanating from the glass exterior of the building next door, 42-story Museum Tower, which in 2011 was under construction.

We turned to the Nasher for comment and got in response this statement, from its director of external affairs, Jill Magnuson:

“We are obviously disappointed that at this milestone the reflective glare from Museum Tower’s façade continues to have a negative impact on the Nasher Sculpture Center’s indoor and outdoor galleries. Nevertheless, we remain committed to working toward the restoration of our original conditions and are hopeful with technology innovations that we can realize this solution as we continue to serve this community as a vital educational and cultural resource.”

We promise to check in again on Sept. 26, 2031.

I doubt I will be around to check in.

The Museum Tower Condominiums tower over Tony Cragg’s “Lost in Thought”

I have been a huge fan of the Nasher Sculpture Center since it was built. I go there all the time. It is truly one of the most comfortable, wonderful, and amazing public spaces I’ve ever seen. Family friendly , educational, beautiful, and a marvelous host to public gatherings – it was a thoughtful and generous gift from Raymond Nasher to the people of the city.

One of the goals of creating the Dallas Arts District, of which the Nasher is a linchpin, was to attract the high-end buzz of the wealthy clientele that enjoy throwing their millions around in order to wallow in the coolness of timeless art. These folks are hard to pry away from the coasts or the ancient alleyways of Europe but a roadfull of expensive venues and billions of dollars of paintings and sculptures was the lure. And so they come. The first habitat for these rare birds is the shiny new Museum Tower, reaching skyward from an odd oval of property where a Woodall Rogers Freeway ramp arced up and around.

Now I have no problem with that. I’m not a wealthy person and will never be. I have to beg and save just to buy a pen, for example. Most of the art scene I enjoy comes on Free Thursdays and Half-Price weekend and such as that, when the upper crust retreats and allows the hoi polloi to enter and tread their hallowed halls. I depend on the charity or at least the indifference of the wealthy patrons – I exist on their scraps – like a roach under the cabinets I scurry out when they aren’t looking for any crumbs that might be left behind.

So if someone wants to build a tower and charge millions of dollars for a two bedroom apartment – so be it. I applaud their industry, toast their imagination, and do not begrudge them their profits. If they want to call their property The Museum Tower – in order to capitalize on its location right next to the Nasher, fine. If they want to charge an extra million dollars per unit simply so the residents can use the museum garden as their side yard – complete with landscaping and a billion in modern sculpture – great. There is plenty of room and if you don’t mind standing next to me, I don’t mind standing next to you.

But don’t forget what side of the bread you’re putting the butter on. Without the museum there is no Museum Tower. Without the arts, there is no Arts District. Do not roast the goose that lays the golden eggs.

It started out with Tending (blue). The high rise stuck it’s ugly head right up into the viewport of James Turrell’s skyspace sculpture, my favorite spot at the Nasher and the best place to watch the sunset in the Metroplex. But, I’ve written about that before. (go read it)

An oversight, perhaps… pretty damn sloppy, though, if you ask me. You spend that much money on a building, make that much profit, can’t you figure out ahead of time that it’s going to ruin a great work of art? Or do you realize it and simply not say anything until it’s too late. Turrell can fix it, maybe, but when? He’s got other things to do.

And now, it’s happened again. And it’s a lot more serious this time.

They have put the mirrored cladding on the building and it is reflecting so much extra sunlight into the building at the Nasher that they are having to install shades simply to allow the newest sculptures in the room. Sunlight destroys art – but is necessary for art and the Nasher has always been very proud of it’s carefully engineered sunscreen roof. The architect spent a lot of time and effort designing a structure that allowed light for viewing in while blocking the damaging direct rays of the Texas sun. It was a brilliant triumph of design and construction and made for a world-famous light and airy museum that was a strong point of pride for the entire city.

It was a brilliant triumph until a few weeks ago when someone installed a giant mirror reaching five hundred  feet into the sky right next door that shot laser beams of killer sunlight into the Nasher from an entirely unexpected direction.

Read the articles:

Nasher to Museum Tower: Watch Your Glass, It’s Frying Us

Watch Your Glass, It’s Frying Us, Continued

Museum Tower Reflected Light Study

Nasher Sculpture Center says glare from Museum Tower is causing harm

Museum Tower Begins Visual Assault on James Turrell’s Tending, (Blue)

Mayor wades into uproar over Museum Tower’s glare

Museum Tower Glare Threatens Nasher Art

Nobody ever clicks on links, so here’s the skinny from the Dallas Morning News:

Officials at the Nasher Sculpture Center say that reflective glass recently installed on the exterior of Museum Tower, its new, 42-story neighbor in the Arts District, is compromising its indoor galleries, destroying its outdoor garden and threatening its future as a Dallas landmark.

Now under construction at the corner of Olive Street and Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Museum Tower heralds its proximity to the “tranquil garden” of the Nasher as a prime selling point for its residential units, which cost between $1 million and $5.4 million.

This makes me so angry I could spit. There is a city code that says, “A person shall not conduct a use that has a visible source of illumination that produces glare of direct illumination across a property line of an intensity that creates a nuisance or detracts from the use or enjoyment of the adjacent property.” For years I have had city inspectors quote much more obscure bits of code than this and made places I work do all sorts of crazy stuff.

But then again, the places I have worked have only employed thousands of ordinary people. They haven’t been home to a handful folks that can afford five million dollar apartments. They haven’t been owned by the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (that’s who bought the tower).

When the Nasher was built, there was an agreement with Raymond Nasher, part of the covenant that helped him agree to build the museum and give his personal collection to the people of Dallas that stated the building next door would be a maximum of 21 stories and have a maximum reflectivity of 15. Now it is 42 stories with a reflectivity of 44.

So here we have a story of corporate greed and hidden scandal. Men like Raymond Nasher are no more.  I notice that mere months after he passed away – a new LA based architect was brought in to fuck things up and the tower doubled in size and reflectivity, causing all these problems -, about the time the City Pension System decided to make its purchase. I guess they knew then the city would not put up a fight. Mary Suhm, the Dallas City Manager says, “It’s not something we have jurisdiction over.” Well, she certainly knows which side of her bread is buttered.

Meanwhile, the art continues to bake and the goose that lays the golden egg is cooked. At least they are using green solar energy to do it.

A pole-sitting sculpture in front of a new Condo Tower going up.
The condominium tower going up next to the Nasher that is ruining Tending (blue).

Is That Steve McQueen?

“When I did The Great Escape, I kept thinking, ‘If they were making a movie of my life, that’s what they’d call it—the great escape.'”

—-Steve McQueen

Mural of Steve McQueen on his bike from The Great Escape – obscured by new electrical work. Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

What I learned this week, September 7, 2021

There’s lots you can cook up with the crawfish. Corn, crabs – or here, sausage, garlic heads, and taters. It all takes the spice and the flavor of the crawfish.

The Last Days of the Blue-Blood Harvest

Every year, more than 400,000 crabs are bled for the miraculous medical substance that flows through their bodies—now pharmaceutical companies are finally committing to an alternative that doesn’t harm animals.


13 easy ways to switch off from work at the end of the day

Are you struggling to maintain a work/life balance right now? Here’s how to switch off and reclaim your evening. 


(click to enlarge) Adam, by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, plus admirer Cullen Sculpture Garden Houston, Texas

How narcissists climb the career ladder quickly

People with a high degree of narcissism get promoted faster, new research shows. Why?


The Secret to Happiness at Work

Your job doesn’t have to represent the most prestigious use of your potential. It just needs to be rewarding.


Drinks menu… the coffee looks good, but “Treats from the Teat” – I don’t know if that’s as catchy as they think it is.

Go ahead, have that third cup of coffee.

Downing up to three cups of coffee daily is associated with lower risks for stroke and death from cardiovascular disease, as well as death from all causes, suggests research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in France last week.


Jars of Kimchi, half and full gallons.

Fermented foods for better gut health

Naturally fermented foods are getting a lot of attention from health experts these days because they may help strengthen your gut microbiome—the 100 trillion or so bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. Researchers are beginning to link these tiny creatures to all sorts of health conditions from obesity to neurodegenerative diseases.


Downtown Dallas, Texas

The Filling Station on Greenville Avenue: From Bonnie & Clyde to Legendary Burger Place

I have been going to businesses in that building on Greenville Avenue since… maybe 1979 or so. I remember the old Filling Station – mostly for having a hot, fresh, fried mushroom and onion ring platter called “Nuts and Bolts.” The article is a little old – it was a Schlotzsky’s (one of my favorite fast-food sandwich places – its round fare resembles a New Orleans Muffaletta) for a few years – now that is gone. I’ll waiting to see what’s next… hopefully not a wrecking ball.

I never realized it was a historical hangout of Bonnie & Clyde.

Fox on the Run

“That’s what people do when they find a special place that wild and full of life, they trample it to death.”
― Carl Hiaasen, Flush

My Cannondale road bike at Trammell Crow Park. From an early part of the October Full Moon Ride.

I have taken to riding my Cannondale vintage touring bike at sunset. The killer Texas sun is down, the heat is bearable, the wind dies, and it is in general – a nice time to be outside. I ride about an hour, about ten miles. I’m trying to do this every evening. I have a new, nice bike light I bought with a gift certificate I won in a local contest – so I don’t have a problem if I stay out a little longer in the dark.

Yesterday I had just crossed Plano and Arapaho roads and was angling down into the creek bottom on the new Duck Creek Trail extension. I try to ride this little bit as much as I can with my Strava on to help make the new trail (which I really like) show up brighter on the Strava heatmap. One of the cool things about riding at this time of day is I get to see some urban wildlife – mostly bunnies – but a few coyotes, a beaver or two, snakes…. Bobcats are out there, though I haven’t seen one yet.

I looked across the creek and saw a red fox looking at me. As I approached he turned and ran into a copse of trees farther back from the creek. It was so cool to see a fox in the middle of the city like that.

My son bought a GoPro Hero 7 Black and didn’t like it so he loaned it to me. I had it on my handlebars and hoped that the fox would show up in the footage. Unfortunately, he was off to the side on the wide-angle lens and only visible as a little dot. Shame.

Pillar and River Bottoms

“She didn’t need to understand the meaning of life; it was enough to find someone who did, and then fall asleep in his arms and sleep as a child sleeps, knowing that someone stronger than you is protecting you from all evil and all danger”
― Paulo Coelho, Brida

View from the pedestrian bridge down to the Trinity river bottoms, Margaret McDermott Bridge, Dallas, Texas