Nancy Best Fountain

“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination
they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of
them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Nancy Best Fountain, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

On Friday I took some photos of the new Nancy Best Fountain at the East End of the park.

The kids loved the water and the multicolored lights.

Morse Code

“Code is not like other how-computers-work books. It doesn’t have big color illustrations of disk drives with arrows showing how the data sweeps into the computer. Code has no drawings of trains carrying a cargo of zeros and ones. Metaphors and similes are wonderful literary devices but they do nothing but obscure the beauty of technology.”
― Charles Petzold, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Pacific Plaza Park, Dallas, Texas

Sawtooth Reflections

“A new social type was being created by the apartment building, a cool, unemotional personality impervious to the psychological pressures of high-rise life, with minimal needs for privacy, who thrived like an advanced species of machine in the neutral atmosphere. This was the sort of resident who was content to do nothing but sit in his over-priced apartment, watch television with the sound turned down, and wait for his neighbours to make a mistake.”
― J.G. Ballard, High-Rise

Downtown Dallas, Texas

When I moved to Dallas, many moons ago, in 1981 – the city center was in a building boom (one of many). Reflective glass hi-rise buildings rose all around me as I walked from the bus stop to my work everyday. I’d go out onto the streets for lunch, eat greasy Chinese food in a little park (if the weather was bearable), and look up at the construction high overhead.

I was fascinated at how many glass hi-rises had curtain walls that were sawtooth-shaped. It easy to figure out why. That shape gives a large number of corner offices – which are loaded with prestige and command a premium price.

For the proletariat eating their egg rolls on the street – they also have cool reflections.

Nancy Best Fountain at Night

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse
Still, it’s so much clearer
I forgot my shirt at the water’s edge
― REM, Nightswimming

Nancy Best Fountain, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

On Friday the Dallas Photowalk folks had a sunset photowalk planned at Klyde Warren Park here in Dallas. I took the DART train down there – which was good because the traffic was horrific. We met up at six or so, walked around, took some photos of people taking salsa dancing lessons and then walked down to the new Nancy Best Fountain at the East End of the park.

At sundown the light and sound show surrounding the fountain began. The water shot high in the air and the kids danced around in the water like they were actually having a good time.

Playing in the Fountain

“Let’s swim to the moon
Let’s climb through the tide
Surrender to the waiting worlds
That lap against our side.”
― Jim Morrison

Nancy Best Fountain, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

On Friday the Dallas Photowalk folks had a sunset photowalk planned at Klyde Warren Park here in Dallas. I took the DART train down there – which was good because the traffic was horrific. We met up at six or so, walked around, took some photos of people taking salsa dancing lessons and then walked down to the new Nancy Best Fountain at the East End of the park.

From the website:

By day, the Fountain is an interactive play area for families and a relaxing respite in the heart of Dallas. It features a 5,000-square-foot splash pad, which can accommodate hundreds of children at a time.

By night, just after sunset, the Fountain will come alive for 30 to 45 minutes with dancing water and a choreographed light and music show, which changes monthly.


Guests are encouraged to play in the water—even during the evening performances—making it one of the most unique fountains in the world.

And that is how it was. The summer heat is fading a bit here in Dallas, but it is still plenty hot. Hordes of children played on the vast concrete pad running around between intermittent computer controlled spurts of cooling water.

I tried to buy some food from a nearby truck, but the line and the wait was too long.

Then, as the sun set, the music began and the huge fountain came to life. Colorful giant streams of water burst into the sky, raining down onto the crowd of children who rushed around screaming in joy.

There has been a lot of criticism of this new fountain… it was too expensive/big/Dallas-y/pretentious/obnoxious/wasteful.

for example:

“During a time where there are literally lines of cars over a mile long trying to get donated food, a $10 million fountain just screams ‘Let them eat cake,’” says community activist Soraya Santos. “I’m an art lover, and I am proud of our Arts District and our beautiful downtown parks, and would have loved to see this at any other time, but right now it’s incredibly tone-deaf.”

or another:

A Facebook group called DFW Corona Connection had several posts and comments criticizing the use of the money, suggesting it could’ve been better spent on homeless shelters or other pandemic relief efforts.

“Because a 10 story, $10 million water fountain is exactly what this community needs to bounce back from a pandemic-driven economic crisis. How do you spell tone deaf?” wrote page administrator Josh Smith.

I had read all this and was interested in actually seeing the thing and deciding for myself.

Well, that’s all bullshit. It’s fantastic. Hundreds of kids were having a blast – as were their parents watching them. A free blast, I’ll add. No tax payer money went to the fountain; it was built completely through donations. What is a better way to “bounce back” from the draconian pandemic restrictions than with a unique public space/amenity that brings children and adults together, giving them insane amounts of joy.

I took some photos – they are on my desktop now and I’m working my way through them – you’ll see more than a few here in the coming days. Sorry about that.

And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon

“Rockabye Baby, in the treetop
Dont you know a treetop
is no safe place to rock?
And who put you up there,
and your cradle too?
Baby,
I think someone down here
has got it in for you!”
― Shel Silverstein

CityLine, Richardson Texas
Sculpture – Over The Moon, Gordon Huether, 2016
Bicycle – Cannondale Touring Bike, 1987o

I decided to ride up to CityLine, about a five mile ride from my house. It’s a huge new development in the long-vacant space of the old Huffhines family farm. At first I was a bit disappointed in the development but as it has matured and mellowed out I am beginning to really like the place. There are sculptures of all sizes and styles scattered throughout – I sat near this one and enjoyed a water bottle before riding back home.

The End of the Drought

“It cannot be described, this awesome chain of events that depopulated the whole Earth; the range is too tremendous for any to picture of encompass. Of the people of Earth’s unfortunate ages, billions of years before, only a few prophets and madman could have conceived that which was to come – could have grasped visions of the still, dead lands, and long-empty sea-beds. The rest would have doubted… doubted alike the shadow of change upon the planet and the shadow of doom upon the race. For man has always thought himself the immortal master of natural things…”
― H.P. Lovecraft

Huffhines Creek, From the Yale Street Bridge, upstream, after a rain.

Here in Dallas we had been in a drought for the whole summer. It’s always hot and dry here in the summer months, but this was especially bad – we hadn’t had any rain at our house for a couple months (it had rained a bit in South Dallas two weeks ago) – our lawn was brown and all the doors in our house were stuck – the clay soil here shrinks something awful and distorts foundations and houses.

But yesterday we went to Fort Worth with my son and his girlfriend to visit the Best Maid Pickle Museum and grab lunch at Brewed (one of my favorites – I once rode the train and my bike all the way to Fort Worth for some Chicken and Waffles there). On the way back we drove into a Thunderstorm – it was scary on the freeways.

But it wasn’t as bad (we saw no standing water) as it would get later that night. Parts of East Dallas had nine to fifteen inches of rain, causing terrible flash floods.

This was a freak storm – but I am used to the summer phenomenon here of the sudden hard thunderstorm ending a drought.

For example, from my old blog – Tuesday, August 04, 1998 24 years ago.

Drops

I drove home from work this afternoon, the tape of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” speaking its pages from the tape deck. Now, to listen to a tape while driving takes a lot of concentration. I can listen and drive, watch the road, but not anything else. It’s plot, voice, character, and oncoming traffic. Some effort, skill maybe, is needed; I’ve been checking out tapes long enough now that I can do it.

With all my attention focused like that I didn’t even consciously notice some shapes smearing on the windshield. Instinctively, my hand twisted the know on the steering column, setting the wipers in motion. Several minutes went buy before I actually realized what was happening, what was smattering on the glass.

It was raining.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t be any deal at all. But it has been so long, exactly a month actually, and the intervening oven days so broiling that I had forgotten about rain. No more than a sprinkle, but ohh, it looked so good.

I stopped for gas. Shoved my card into the slot and clicked the automatic hook-deal on the handle so the gas would flow on its own. I purposely stepped back, out from under the sheltering gas station roof onto the unprotected part of the apron. I wanted to feel the rain, get wet, see the spots form on my white business shirt. I felt like yelling, singing, dancing.

The smell was wonderful. I had forgotten the odor of fresh rain on dry grass.

Not much of a rain, not enough to end the drought. The hundred degree days will return by this weekend. But it was something… a respite. More than that, it was the return of hope. The killer heat will dissipate, the drought will be drowned. Until today, those indisputable facts were impossible to imagine.

Hope- a reminder that things will get better, that we will all survive. That’s what we’ve been missing.

Let Me Sip

“Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup”
― Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings

Notebook, pens, and a cup of Ethiopian Coffee, Staycation, Richardson, Texas

I woke up early, read a bit before dawn, and rode my bike to Staycation for a cup of coffee and a table to write a bit on.

Here’s what’s in my journal – so you don’t have to strain to read it:

Monday – August 15th 2022
7:20 Staycation Coffee

Woke up at six – not sure why, but slept well and felt good. Maybe lack of television (I’m embarking on my reading plan – finished “Desperate Characters” last night – read in 2 days) – have to try that more. Read a chapter (1) of “Mobius Dick” in the backyard before dawn – then left home on my bike at about six thirty when the sun came up. Nice ride here – went by way of Spring Valley – 4 miles – I wanted to see what Staycation was like at seven on a workday – a little disappointed – only one other customer – bought single-origin drip – an Ethiopian blend – pretty good…
Let Me Sip.

I took this photo with my phone and posted it to ‘Gram/Facebook and someone asked about my pens – both the one you can see and the other three in the case. Here’s my reply:

I don’t usually carry nice/expensive pens on my bike – the one you see is one of my favorites, though it is inexpensive. It is a ten dollar Jinhao 159 with a custom Goulet Pens #6 nib. The pen cost under ten dollars (the nib was about fifteen, I think) and I have had people ask, “Is that a Montblanc?” The other pens are a Platinum Preppy, a Hero 616 Parker “51” clone, and, I guess the best, a vintage touchdown-filling Sheaffer inlaid nib pen.

I wrote some more, rode home (by a longer route to get 12 miles in) and the day was still only beginning.

Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Warm Weather Icebergs by Bill Chance

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

—-Robert Frost

It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice – there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.

—-Frank Zappa

(click to enlarge) “The Icebergs” by Fredrick Church, Dallas Museum of Art

Warm Weather Icebergs

There was a big ice storm last week which brought the city to a halt. But this is the South and it immediately turned hot. Once the temperature rose above freezing and the sun poked its way out, the ice melted with incredible rapidity. In a couple of days it was warm and dry.

Today, though, Craig was driving down Town East Boulevard wearing shorts, sandals, and a T-shirt and noticed as he went by a big parking lot near the mall that boasted giant still unmelted mounds of ice, pushed into the corners by plows after the ice storm. No streets and few parking lots had been graded (the roads all have these reflective bumps that snowplows will shear off) but this lot contained a big commercial hardware-lumberyard thing, and maybe they intended to be sure and sell a lot of sand and materials to repair the many carports that tumbled under the weight of the ice.

It was odd on a warm, sunny, Texas day to see the huge, angular, filthy icebergs moored along the periphery of the tarmac. They were melting fast – a torrent of water coursed across the lot. Like a glacier leaving a terminal moraine as it retreats, clumps of flotsam and jetsam remained after the ice melted – gravel and trash embedded in the deep layers of sleet and scooped up from the lot.