Men With a Future and Women With a Past

Downtown Fort Worth, Texas

Twenty Five Oscar Wilde Quotes:

1. I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.

2. The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

3. Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

4. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

5. The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.

6. Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

7. What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

8. A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

9. When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.

10. There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

11. Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

12. Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

13. True friends stab you in the front.

14. All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.

15. Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

16. There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

17. Genius is born—not paid.

18. Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

19. How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?

20. A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

21. My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.

22. The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

23. I like men who have a future and women who have a past.

24. There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.

25. Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

Built For Man’s Abscence

“this was an environment built, not for man, but for man’s absence.”
― J.G. Ballard, High-Rise

Wells Fargo Tower in Fort Worth, Texas. Click on image for a higher resolution image in Flickr.

Wells Fargo Tower in Fort Worth, Texas. Click on image for a higher resolution image in Flickr.

I have always been fascinated with the view of skyscrapers, looking up, from the sidewalk beneath. They cease to be buildings and are converted into insane abstract constructions.

Love/Hate – what amazing examples of man’s imagination, ambition, and effort – yet they are also the least human of buildings. From the street they are nothing but glass walls with tiny openings guarded by armed guards. Man is not welcomed into his own creations.

(title paraphrased from High-Rise, by J. G. Ballard. I wrote about it here).

Looks Through A Closed Window

“Looking from outside into an open window one never sees as much as when one looks through a closed window. There is nothing more profound, more mysterious, more pregnant, more insidious, more dazzling than a window lighted by a single candle. What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black or luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers.”
― Charles Baudelaire

Window washing job I couldn't do Downtown Dallas, Texas

Window washing job I couldn’t do
Downtown Dallas, Texas

Broken And Reassembled Every Day, To Preserve An Elite Few

“All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Downtown Dallas, Texas

Downtown Dallas, Texas

Skyscraper and Clouds

“What about guns with sensors in the handles that could detect if you were angry, and if you were, they wouldn’t fire, even if you were a police officer?

What about skyscrapers made with moving parts, so they could rearrange themselves when they had to, and even open holes in their middles for planes to fly through?”

― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Downtown Dallas, Texas

Downtown Dallas, Texas

“Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton… I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by… If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations… What do you think you see, Linus?”

“Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean… That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor… And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen… I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side…”

“Uh huh… That’s very good… What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?”

“Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!”

― Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts

Six Skycrapers

I took the DART train downtown to a Beer Festival and made my train on time. Because of this, I was an hour early and sat down in Klyde Warren to hang out and wait until the festival opened. The sun was near setting and the sky was glowing – the skyscrapers sharp and elegant.

Looking at the collection of crystal towers, my attention was drawn toward six in particular. Thinking about why these meant something to me; I realized I had watched these (and many others) while they were built. I worked in Downtown Dallas in the early eighties – for a couple years in the Kirby Building (now converted into condominiums) and for a couple more in the historic Dallas Cotton Exchange (I loved that building – unfortunately, it was dynamited in 1994 to make room for a parking garage for the 1st Baptist Church).

The early eighties were a time of frantic building in Texas, especially in downtown Dallas. The giant construction crane was considered the state bird. This all came to a spectacular stop in the Savings and Loan crash of the late eighties – but at the time nobody could see that disaster coming.

I was young and a recent immigrant to the big city and was absolutely fascinated with watching the towers going up. In those pre-internet days detailed news was unavailable to the unwashed masses – so the construction was always a surprise to me. Since it would take, say, two years or more to build these it was like a slow-motion reveal, a mystery unveiled piece by piece, day by day.

A block would be cleared and then a gigantic hole slowly carved deep down into the chalky bedrock. Then the steel, concrete, or combination skeleton would rise, floor by floor, emerging from the scurrying crowds of hard-hatted workers like a living thing.

Finally, the skin would be hung and, only then, would the real shape and color of the building revealed. It was never really what it looked like while it as going up – the architects played with shapes and forms, adding extra corners and geometric sleights of hand. The final form was always a gigantic pleasant surprise.

Those were exciting, innocent days. Now, looking at the buildings bring back those memories. I can see, in my imagination, beyond the glass and stone cladding to the hidden skeleton of these skyscrapers, remember when the supporting framework was fresh and exposed.

Three skyscrapers from Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

Three skyscrapers from Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

The three towers to the east

The Chase Tower
2200 Ross – 1987
– I recently took photos of a helicopter making a delivery here.

People call this one the building with a hole in it. On the 40th floor is a skylobby that offers good views of the Uptown area of the city – I haven’t visited this, but would like to. I watched it get started but was working out in Garland before it was finished. The skyscraper was designed by SOM and is 738 feet tall with 55 stories, making it the 4th tallest building in Dallas.

San Jacinto Tower
2121 San Jacinto – 1982

This is the tan triple building in the center. I watched this one go up in detail. While it was being built it was not obvious that it would have that unique, triple structure – the effect was made with add-ons at the end. The building is 456 feet tall and is 33 stories, making it the 20th tallest building in Dallas.

Trammell Crow Center
2001 Ross – 1985

This one was really cool to watch. It was very close to where I worked and was clearly visible outside a window near my cube. Although I left downtown before it opened, I did see all the visible construction right in front of my eyes. The skyscraper is Post Modern in styling and is 686 feet tall with 50 stories. The Trammel Crow Center is the 6th tallest building in Dallas and is named after its principal tenant.

Three more skyscrapers from Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

Three more skyscrapers from Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

To the west are three more:

Lincoln Plaza
500 N. Akard – 1984

This triangular building went up on the site of the old YMCA – I watched them implode that building. It has a cool upper-crust restaurant (Dakota’s) in the basement – you go into an elevator sticking up in the sidewalk to get down to it. Lincoln Plaza is 579 feet high with 45 stories, and is the 13th tallest building in Dallas.

These last two flank Thanksgiving Square – one of my favorite spots back in the day. It’s getting a little run-down and forgotten now – but in the early 80’s it was the place to hang out for lunch on a warm spring day.

Energy Plaza
1601 Bryan – 1983

This is another building that I watched with interest – it ended up looking a lot different than I thought. I.M. Pei & Partners designed this 49 story building located on the north side of Thanksgiving Square. On top of the tower is a triangular communications tower that is modeled after the Eiffel Tower — only smaller and three sided. Energy Plaza is the 9th tallest building in Dallas and with a height of 629 feet.

Thanksgiving Tower
1601 Elm – 1982

The rearmost of these three is Thanksgiving Tower. This was was almost finished when I started working in Dallas – I was there when it opened. This 50 story all glass skyscraper faces into Thanksgiving Square. Thanksgiving Tower is 645 feet high and is the 8th tallest building in Dallas. If you look at it you can see the the distinctive reflection of Republic Center Tower – a skyscraper that has been there since 1954 – ancient by Dallas Standards.