Your Basic Primer to Understanding the Trinity Toll Road

If you’re like the vast majority of Dallasites or metroplexians(???) you probably have a limited understanding of the Trinity toll road. It’s okay, it’s a complicated issue, and it’s hard not to get tired head reading about it, or turned off when you hear debates about it. Plus, you know, the Cowboys are on.

But it’s still an important issue and you don’t want to be the only person at the dinner party that doesn’t have at least an elementary understanding of it. So below is a very simple, short summary of the tollroad and the issues surrounding it.

What is it?

The Trinity toll road is a proposed 9 mile highway that would run along the Trinity River from southern Dallas to North Dallas.

Pages-from-TxDOT001Map of downtown freeways with the toll road

Why would we build it?

Proponents of the toll road say that building it will reduce traffic congestion in downtown and make it easier for people to get through, in, and out of downtown. Ultimately they view it as an economic driver for downtown and Dallas.

 trinityMore reasons.

What do the opponents say?

The opponent’s various arguments can be summed up in the following three ways.

  • Financial – It will cost a lot of money to build a highway in and along a river. More on this later.
  • Safety/Feasibility – Building a highway through a river could turn out to be very dangerous, potentially causing flooding throughout the City. Furthermore some question whether it’s even possible to build a highway there.
  • Urbanism/Philosophical – On the other side of downtown from the Trinity toll road, there is a lively discussion about tearing down a highway and replacing it with a boulevard. In short this line of thinking says that building a bunch of highways in a downtown is a 20th century mindset for economic growth based on the movement of goods and services. Instead 21st century downtown and urban growth will be based on how attractive downtowns are for people to live or work. And highways are generally not seen as attractive. Sorry I can see you getting tired head and clicking on that list of the oldest bars in Dallas. Let me continue.

Who decides whether or not to build it and haven’t we already voted on it.

The City of Dallas, through its citizens and it’s City Council members, ultimately should make the decision. Residents of Dallas have voted yes to the toll road twice, well kinda. The first time back in 1998, we voted yes for a parkway and parks along the Trinity. Once it became a highway, the issue was put before voters again in 2007 and received support, though opponents claimed divisive and dirty politics were played by the Pro-Toll Road folks.X00096_9

Angela Hunt and Tom Leppert debating the toll road in 2007.

If the voters approved the toll road years ago, why isn’t it built, and how come we’re still talking about it.

Money (remember I said I was going to come back to this). Back in ’98 voters approved over 200 million for the project. City staffers also diverted over 70 million from other projects and accounts to help pay for the highway without asking for council or voter permission, (a legal but if nothing else perhaps unethical move). That 300 million and likely even more that we don’t know about is long gone. The road is still nowhere close to being completed let alone started. Billions more will be needed, and where those billions come from is unclear at this point.

Trinity%20River%20Toll%20Road99Windmills don’t pay for themselves, well I guess they kinda do.

Should I be doing anything or what should I be doing if I view myself as a reasonable civic minded person?

Vote. Though there is not a direct ballot measure on the Toll Road, the upcoming city council elections next spring could be very important.


Because for years, city staff, particularly the city attorneys told the city council members they had to support the tollroad because of contracts the city had signed years ago to build the road. Recently the city attorney’s office changed their stance. So council could hold a vote and continue to fund the road. Or they could vote against it, killing the project and dedicating city staff and city funding to other projects.  Either way, it’s an important election…seriously.

What if I want to learn more about the toll road and the issues, where can I go?

If you buy me a drink I’d be more then happy to sit down and go over the issues.  But seriously, there is plenty of coverage out there if you want to go down an internet rabbit hole.  Just be aware all the info out there(including my own) comes with certain biases.

  • Jim Schutze over at the Dallas Observer knows more about the Trinity toll road then perhaps anyone.  He could not be more against the toll road if he tried, just be forewarned.
  • D Magazine and their blogs have pretty extensive coverage on the topic.  They were for but now are against it.
  • Lastly, the City’s daily, the Morning News  has been covering the issue for years.  Their take is well, interesting, especially after hiring on Observer ex Robert Wilonksy .  The only man who might challenge Schutze on his knowledge of the issue.

In Defense of the Fair’s Fried Food…And Why You other states shouldn’t be so quick cast the first stone.

Why must Texas continually fry up everything in some gross salute to obesity at the Fair? T.M.

It seems like every year around this time (when the State Fair of Texas announces the newest concoctions), transplants from Chicago ask this question. There are also the almost comically boilerplate articles in HuffPo, or in other places about the ridiculous things us Texans are doing with food. How we’re just hillbilly idiots frying up whatever we can get our hands on, thereby contributing to the obesity problem in America in our own trailer trash way.

texas-state-fair-300x257A small sample of the State Fair’s options

Well I’m here to defend my state and its deep fried inventions, and to also throw a little mud in the eyes of all you other states who think you’re better than us.

To begin, you have to understand that although we did deep fry butter, we didn’t make it our state food. The State Fair of Texas (the Fair to locals) runs for three-four weeks once every fall and then it’s over. If you really liked eating the deep fried smores at the Fair in September and you’re looking for it in late December, you’re S-out of luck.

smores_bmp_728x520_q85Thank God they’re not available 24/7 365

 You have to wait nine months to have one again because they’re only available during the Fairs’ run. The Fair grew out the agrarian society of harvest festivals and fairs. Times when communities would come together to celebrate the harvest, when communities would throw feasts full of foods that weren’t normally available or were too extravagant for normal consumption. They were festivals filled with food that, as Cookie Monster recently found out about cookies, aren’t everyday foods. Little at the State Fair of Texas, including the most famous “Fletcher’s Corny Dog”, is available for sale everyday.

DSF6506The only proper way to eat a corny dog, which was first created at the Texas State Fair.  With mustard while saluting Big Tex at the State Fair.  Not alone on your couch watching TNT everynight.

But you know what is an everyday food…the Big Mac. As I pointed out to my transplanted friend from Illinois, McDonalds and Big Macs are an Illinois product. They are perhaps more unhealthy than fried butter because, if nothing else, you can eat one every day from today until the day you keel over several months from now as a result of eating Big Macs every day.

2009-09-31-mcd-bigmac2Just looking at one ages you several years.

Furthermore Illinois, specifically Chicago; you’re responsible for the Deep Dish Pizza. Something so unhealthy that it shouldn’t even be considered a sometimes food. I could literally go out and eat half a dozen corny dogs, and then eat two more corny dogs, and then eat another half one before I stopped after realizing I ate a box of corny dogs. And I would still have eaten less fat than there is in one personal deep dish pizza from Chicago’s famous Uno’s Pizza. That’s right; a box of corny dogs has less fat than one personal pan deep dish pizza.  That I might add, is available in your grocer’s freezer every day of the year including Christmas. I’m disappointed in you Illinois.

Eat through the pain!!!!

I’m disappointed in you too Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, pretty much the entire American South, plus Missouri, West Virginia, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Michigan.   You’re all fatter than Texas. I know we as a state have our own love handles (I’m looking at you San Antonio) but as a state you are all fatter, so please fling mud in someone else direction.

imagesCA8UJL6VCome on West Virginia, get some exercise

And how about you California. You wonderful bastion of moderate consumption, vegan eating and generally healthy food trends. You know, trends like the time the culinary leaders of your state decided that the breakfast taco wasn’t healthy enough, so you replaced the tortilla with an Eggo waffle and syrup.  Illinois may well be the birth place and home of McDonalds, but Mickey D’s has never done something as stupid as the Waffle Taco from California based Taco Bell.

waffle-tacoCalifornia Cool Cuisine???

Even our culinary artist at the State Fair looked at that and said “um, yea, no.” And California, before you go Googling chain restaurants in Texas, rest assured that no matter what you come up with for us, you have Taco Bell, Jack In the Box, In and Out, and of course Red Robin. Red Robin makes the Monster Meal that includes over 3,300 calories, that’s one and half times the Personal Deep Dish Pizza. And yes California, I know Red Robin wasn’t founded in your state, but it’s been there for 2/3 of life, so I’m blaming you for two thirds of the calories. The other third lies squarely at the feet of Washington State, which I’m blaming for the other 1/3, roughly 1,100 calories, or two and a half corny dogs.

imageOkay, now I see, this is heathly California Cool Cuisine

Let’s quickly knock off a few other states, like Minnesota, because, Spam. Come on guys.

Also, any Rocky Mountain state. Look, we here at the State Fair have fried butter, beer, smores, deep fried bacon, snickers, and any number of things. You know one thing that we haven’t fried, bull testicles. Or as you call them Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Even if we did, we wouldn’t have decided to name them after one of our state’s most prominent features. California’s bad, but at least they didn’t go, “here have these mountain lion testicles, they’re called San Fernando Valley goose eggs.”

To recap, the American South, the Rocky Mountain States, Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia, California, who’s left? Ah New York. Let’s examine Swanson’s, particularly Swanson’s TV Dinners. If the leading culinary cause of American obesity is fast food restaurants, then coming in at number 2 might be TV dinners. Swanson’s headquartered in your state created TV Dinners and continues to be the largest producer of these waist line killing meals.

swanson-tv-dinnerIf you need a spoon to eat a TV Dinner, you’re in trouble.

Swanson’s makes the completely unhealthy Hungry Man TV Dinners. But they also the fake “I’m Healthy”, but really “I’m not healthy, particularly from an emotional and social point of view” Lean Cuisine TV dinners.

lean cuisineCouldn’t say it better

These frozen TV Dinners are available for every meal of the year. As Jim Gaffigan would say, you can have a Hungry Man Dinner for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine for lunch and be dead by dinner.

I’m running out of space, so let’s see, Arizona, three words, Heart Attack Grill. You know how I know my state is healthy than yours? This horrible restaurant was founded in your state, and when you tried to open one up in Dallas, it lasted three months.

*Mar 01 - 00:00*05_Flatbed_WEBCome on man, with Arizona’s heat this guy literally won’t live seven more minutes

Vermont or New England – um…Ben & Jerry’s. We fried chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow and served for three weeks. You fried chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker, stuck it in ice cream, and shipped it worldwide to millions lonely housewives.

smores-detailCreative favors?  Yes.  Hippie?  Yes. Healthy, Wait a minute

Ohio – you have Wendy’s and the Baconator. Which sounds like a super villain who’s bent on world domination by clogging the worlds’ collective arteries. Also you’re home to the only President to get stuck in a bathtub because of his weight.

Pennsylvania, okay, I don’t have time to figure out if the Philly Cheesesteak is healthier than a corny dog, so let’s call it a draw.

Wisconsin, your state is way too in love with cheese to be considered healthy.

green-bay-packers-cheeseheadUnhealthy for a number of reasons.

In the end, the point of this essay is to point out, that yes, for several weeks in September people in Texas at the State Fair concoct dishes that are frequently unhealthy. But before you go writing your articles or issuing grand statements about the stupidity of it, ask yourself, is my state responsible for the Waffle Taco, or the Baconator? Do we love cheese a little too much? Is my state taking it a little too far with a official state dessert that’s a ten  layer cake? Should I make fun of a state when 50% of the people in my state are obese?

No, No you shouldn’t.

Editor’s Note: If this article failed to mention your state just Google “unhealthy food” and your state’s name.

25 Signs you grew up in Dallas in the 90’s

The following is based on questions I get about what it was like to grow up in Dallas.

1.  The Texas Giant – You remember how big of a deal it was when the Texas Giant opened. Like seriously, it was a really really big deal.


2.  Cowboys and 49er’s – You had one friend that hated the Cowboys and loved the 49er’s. Despite how awesome the Cowboys were in the 90’s, you had one friend that just had to be different and like the 49er’s.


Suck it 49er’s…and Keith from 9th grade for liking them

3.  The Toadies Rumor – There was that rumor at your school about the Toadies Song “Possum Kingdom” being about the lead singer sister’s death or something to that effect.


The Toadies were way more than one song from Guitar Hero

4.  Kenny “the Shark” Gant – You remember Kenny “The Shark” Gant from the Cowboys and his dances before kick offs.

KENNYGANTSHARKIt just goes to show that if you dance before kickoff and you’ll be more remembered than the starters.

5.  Penny Whistle Park – Looking back, a shed that housed a dozen carny-style amusement park-ish rides probably wasn’t that cool. But to the eight year old version of myself, it was an absolutely amazing place to have a birthday party.

penny whistle parkThat’s not a mistake, it’s just that no photo does Penny Whistle Park justice.

6.  The Black Hole at Wet ‘n’ Wild – First of all, it’s Wet’ n’ Wild, not six flags hurricane harbor splash world or whatever it is nowadays. And second, as soon as you went down the black hole at Wet ‘N’ Wild for the first time, you told everyone at school.

wet-n-wild-arlingtonUpon further review, building an entirely black water slide that soaked up the Texas sun, becoming blistering hot, might not have been the best idea.  But I’m not listening.

7.  Tatu and the Dallas Sidekicks – I can’t name a single other player on the Sidekicks, nor a single team that they played. But I know how big of a deal it was to go to a Sidekicks game and see him take his shirt off after a goal.

DSC03023No one is looking at you #15, stop waving.  Everyone is staring at Tatu’s early 90’s aura.

8Scotty’s on Park Lane – You spent days at Scotty’s on Park Lane. Before it was turned into Top Golf, that place was Scotty’s. And you probably spent countless afternoons playing miniature golf there, or in the batting cages.

scottys-golf-park-74231035If you know about Scotty’s then you know how awesome it was.  If not just trust us.

9.  Fair Day: Day off from school + free ticket to the State Fair + corny dogs and ice cream sandwiches + the pirate ship ride = best day ever.


F.Y.I.  Whenever you decide to go to the  Fair nowadays, always always check when Fair Day is for schools.  Don’t go on those days.

10.  The West End was cool – There was that arcade in the big building’s basement, like a three floor arcade. Plus the free fudge. Also a Planet Hollywood and some other stuff. Either way, as a kid it was a cool place.

wem-081709-0+(12)Whatever happened to that Giant Cowboy boot wearing Dinosaur?

11.  Mavericks games were free– You went Dallas Mavericks games basically for free.  Winning tickets to a Mavericks game in the 90’s was essentially the same as winning a pizza party for your class in grade school. Except the Three J’s weren’t at your pizza party.

three j'sBy “Crown” they meant, not last place.

12.  1994 World Cup – You remember the 1994 World Cup and that mascot dog thing. You may not have gone to the games, but you remember all the hoopla surrounding the games played at the Cotton Bowl.

world cup 94 mascotHis name was Striker, really I looked it up.

 13.  Your Favorite Texas Rangers were Rusty Greer, Nolan Ryan, “Pudge” and Steve Booooooo-shell, in some order.

41g-xY9LfeLPretty sure this baseball card is in a box at my parent’s house.

14.  The black tar heroin in Plano – You got lectured about drugs after all those kids in Plano died of black tar heroin.  Either at school or from your parents. The kids in Plano freaked out a lot of adults.

cheeseToday’s kids use “cheese” not harder drugs like the 90’s kids.

15.  Crystal Pizza – It was like Chucky Cheese on steroids, and way awesomer. A true birthday party Mecca.

crystalspizzaIt had a “Cartoon Theater”

16.  The Coca Cola Starplex – It’s not the Gexa Energy, Shirmoff Vodka Musical Arts Performance Center, it’s the Coca-Cola Starplex.

mXxqMDg5ArjOEx1AshrT3TAWish I could find a better picture, but this is a ticket stub from a Hootie and the Blowfish show at the Coca-Cola Starplex.  Can’t get much more 90’s then that.

17.  Dazed and Confused or Varsity Blues – These movies had some real similarities to your high school life. Sure, one of them was set in the 70’s and the other in a small town, but other than that, they weren’t that far off.

polls_varsity_blues_3835_124721_answer_1_xlargeI don’t want your life.

18.  Deep Ellum was cool and hardcore, or so you heard– Unless you were a teenager when 1990 rolled around and were old enough to claim you went to the Nirvana Trees’ show; you, like me were probably a little too young to really experience the Deep Ellum that your older cousin talked about. But still if you were lucky enough to see a show at Trees, or even to perform in Deep Ellum during the 90’s it was a badge of honor.

1e-002-ss-07-kpask_lgI knew that place was cool before I even knew what cool meant.

19.  The 972 area code role-out – You remember when they introduced the 972 area code. Before DFW had like twelve area codes, Dallas had one: 214. And when you called your friends you didn’t need ten numbers.


What would people get tattoo’s of if 972 was never introduced?

20.  Hoop-it-up – If you played basketball, you remember hoop-it-up. It was the pinnacle of quasi-non-organized basketball no matter what your age.

m_81Q2hD0g6SroblikhCLIQAnyone else remember the rumor that the Mavericks found Mike Izzuilno playing at Hoop-It-Up.

21.  White Rock Lake was a scary place – Before it was turned around, and became a haven for blue toothed bikers, slow runners and rowing teams; White Rock Lake was a bad place full of trash, dead bodies, and questionable men in cars cruising around.

117-rray-cycling-wrlSide Note:  If you think Oak Cliff is scary or dangerous today, twenty years ago you would have shat yourself.

22.  Town East, Redbird, and Valley View Malls – They were still decent malls, or well, they were still actually malls that were open.

TownEastMall030513Town East now advertises that they have a McDonald’s, never a good sign for a mall when it’s pimping Mickey D’s.

23.  The Dallas Times Herald –  I was too young to really read the paper when the Times Herald was around, but I do remember my father buying copies of its last edition.

1b-ashx1Biggest rule of Dallas media: no matter what’s going on, even if you’re going out of business…The Cowboys are more important.

24.  1310 the Ticket – Your dad listened to 1310 The Ticket while driving you around. I didn’t become a P1 until I was like 25 or 26, but my father like most fathers in Dallas was a day one P1.

Ktck11Do you like your gig?

25.  Mr. Peppermint and his musical son.  Mr. Peppermint was part of your childhood. So as a teenager your mind was blown when you found out that his kid was one of the Butthole Surfer guys.

mr_peppermint-630x329Side note, apparently Jerry Haynes, the guy who played Mr. peppermint, like to curse like a sailor when he was off camera and around adult guest stars just to get a reaction out of them

Could Dallas Host the Olympics?

With Dallas (North Texas) hosting the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the NBA All-Star Game, College Football’s National Championship, is there any possibility that we will host the Olympics? CF

dallas olympics

Yes there is, but only if the people of Dallas get behind the idea. See Dallas’s people are our best assets. You know the Final Four agreed to come to Dallas before AT&T Stadium was even built. We couldn’t take them on a tour of the stadium and show them all the bells and whistles, we had to sell them on the idea of the stadium and what a Final Four in North Texas would be. It’s only one of many examples (more have been provided my popular request here) of why and how the people of this great community have turned a simple stretch of prairie into the home of 7 million people. That’s more than the metro areas of Athens, Berlin, Johannesburg, Barcelona, Munich, and Rome. So if we want the Olympics, we just need to muster our collective to landing them.

There’s a certain drive in the people of Dallas, a certain civic boosterism that has us to where we are today. Columnist A.C. Green once wrote that Dallas has been “led since birth by a citizenry that believed a golden destiny was assigned the place where they lived, taking its ambitions seriously whether anyone else did or not.” That belief as lead us to build airports the size of Long Island, the largest Fine Arts district in the world, to develop and perfect our own cuisine (Tex-Mex) and even make scientific breakthroughs (integrated circuit). We, as a town and a region, succeed where others fail because we don’t rely on scenic beauty, natural resources or strategic location for our success. We rely on ourselves. When it comes to the Olympics, it’s just a matter of deciding to pursue them. Of deciding to marshal the best assets of this city for the purposes of hosting the greatest spectacle of all of sports.


Openning Ceremony directed by Wes Anderson, starring the Wilson brothers and featuring Willie Nelson

Should we want Olympics? Why the hell not? Anyone who was out and about in North Texas for the Final Four could feel something special in the air. A certain energy that only happens when some of the best athletes in the country live out their hopes and dreams in front of 100,000 of the most dedicated and enthusiastic fans. Now take that energy, bottle it up for 4 years, and then multiply it 50 fold. The Final Four is the pinnacle of one sport for one country that occurs once a year. The Olympics are the pinnacle of several dozen sports for several hundred countries that happens only once every four years. If you thought the fun./Springsteen show was amazing (and many did) the Olympics would replicate three different shows of the same quality each night for two straight weeks. All of us should want to host the Olympics. We should want to witness the pageantry of the games, the grace of the athletics, and the spectacle of the ceremonies. We have civic mottos telling us to “Think Big,” and aspirations to be a world class city. Well, there is no bigger event than the Olympics, no bigger world class stage. We should want to host the Olympics, simply put, because they are the Olympics.

2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony

Be proud.

Now I know some of you may be jumping up and down or breezing through everything above in search of an economic viability argument for hosting the games. Fine go here for a thousand words on the topic. But those who don’t have the time, here’s the back of the envelope math.

It’s not this complicated


More like this



Dallas will end up spending less on venues than other cities. We can leverage some of the costs for ancillary (but important) regional goals, and ultimately benefit from a huge amount of increase spending from tourists that will help offset the operational costs of the Olympics. In practical examples, we’ve already built AT&T stadium, the Olympics Village can help revitalize South Dallas, and the lack of tourists in Dallas over the period when the Olympics happen means a large influx of spending that can help to pay drivers, ushers, or cops that we pay to help run the Olympics (many of whom would be local).

Plenty of these signs during the Olympics


The answer to whether there is a possibility that Dallas could host the Olympics is that Dallas and North Texas has the potential to host the Olympics. Once we realize that potential then the possibility of the Olympics turns into a reality.


Closing Ceremonies by Robert Rodriguez


DIBTA: 20 reasons why Dallas Is Better Than Austin

DIBTA – it stands for “Dallas Is Better Than Austin.”

1.  We built a park on top of our freeway.  You built a freeway on top of your freeway.




klye warren

2.  Dirk Freaking Nowitzki.

Both as a MVP world champion athlete


And as a person (seen here in Kenya with his wife at their wedding.)


3.  Our biggest contribution to Tex-Mex is the frozen margarita, yours is a contest to see how many potato egg and bacon burritos you can eat.

So famous and delicious that there’s one in the Smithsonian.


Um…Man V. Food famous?


4.  An actual African American community with a strong musical history that dates back to Robert Johnson and runs all the way through to Erykah Badu (quick name one black person from Austin that didn’t play for UT).


robert johnson

More Dallas



white p9oeple

5.  Roundup is better than, wait do you have any gay cowboy saloon dance club that Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence like?  No, okay just checking.


Lady Gaga at Roundup (Not pictured Austin)


6.  We’re not inundated by 200 of the biggest blowhards every other year for several months. (The Texas legislature)


This looks like a conversation I want to be a part of said no one ever

7.  120 miles of light rail and commuter rail service versus 50 (DART versus the Capital). 

Dallas’s extensive DART network

dart map

Austin’s, um…extensive red line north?

Capital MetroRail Red LineAlso DART’S least busy rail line carries three times as many passengers as the enitre rail system for Austin does.

8.  Our festivals aren’t sponsored by huge corporations, or over run by tens of  thousands of people from LA, Chicago or New York.  But they are headlined by local bands and not arena bands like Coldplay, The Eagles, or Van Morrison. 

Polyphonic Spree playing at Dallas’ Homegrown Festival


Coldplay? Van Morrison? Journey???? playing at “Target presents the Samsung South by Southwest Festival sponsored by Pepsi.”


9.  Ron Washington 


He’s having more fun in life than you Austin.

10.  Arguably the strongest and most vibrant LGBT community in Texas.


Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has been a proud lesbian for years and the elected sheriff since 2006.

11.  Our “off the beaten path hang out spots” stay that way.  They aren’t inundated by hipsters every weekend and over exposed.


We like to keep our hidden gems hidden.

12.  Our basketball coach named Rick is better than yours.  (Mavs coach Rick Carlie is better than UT’s Rick Barnes).

Notice the background behind our coach named Rick


Now notice the background behind yours

rick banres

Hmmmm….what’s the difference

13.  White Rock Lake is better than Barton Springs.  (where’s the Barton Springs Marathon).


Lake > Spring

14.  Denton is better then Round Rock.

Denton below.


Round Rock below


15.  High fashion in Dallas is more then a nice pair of jeans.  Cough, cough Neiman’s  cough.

High Fashion in Dallas (that’s Neiman’s head Stanley Marcus with French designer CoCo Channel at Neiman’s in Dallas)


As opposed to “High” Fashion in Austin


16.  Petilocas is better than Live Oak, – at least according to the medals they win at all those American Beer Award thingys.  Haven’t heard of it, well that’s simple you arrogant beer snubs.  It’s because according to their owner, “…calls from Austin to sell his beer there are largely ignored. ‘For years I drove down there for good beer, now they need to come up here.”


This is Michael Peticolas, founder of Peticolas brewing. If you look closely you can see that he’s flipping off Austin.

17.  Our suburban minor league teams are better than your yours.


Go Allen Americans!!

18.  Lee Park Easter Hat Derby


Celebrate Pride

19.  The Red River Rivarly.  The biggest annual football game your team plays doesn’t even happen in your town.  Plus, when do the Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars or Rangers play a meaningful game in Austin.

red river

Texas-OU at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas (Again Not Pictured Austin)

20.  Our skyline. Nobody ever wrote a song about how great Austin looks at night from a DC-9.


Why “Baylor” Hospital is in Dallas and not Waco. And why it was almost called Slaughter Hospital

Why is Baylor Hospital in Dallas and not Waco? What’s the affiliation between the two?  DW

Currently there’s little to no affiliation between the university in Waco and the hospital in Dallas. As for why Baylor (the Hospital) is called Baylor and why it’s in Dallas not Waco; well you have to go back to its Baptists heritage with its cattle baron and unfortunately named founder.  Oh and George Washington and Christopher Columbus also have a role.

Baylor, or Baylor University Medical Center as it’s known today, has its origins in Dallas in the early 1900’s. It’s the result of two efforts from the first decade of the 20th century coming together. The first was led by the Reverend George W. Truett (George Washington Turret that is). He was the leader of the Baptists he in town and was pushing hard for them to support a hospital for Dallas’s growing population.


A young and intense G.W. seen above

They initially took over a small hospital named “The Good Samaritan” in 1903 that was housed in a small two-story brick home. But seeing as how Dallas’ population in 1900 was over 40,000; the simple two-story house/hospital (along with similar sized hospitals at Parkland and St. Paul) provided completely inadequate health care for the needs of the town.

So Truett kept pushing his Baptists to pony up and build a proper hospital. One such Baptists, a very wealthy cattle-baron Baptist ended up donating tens of thousands of dollars, (millions in today’s money), and almost completely funded the efforts to build a 250 bed hospital in a proper building located generally where Baylor is today.

groundbreakingThe ground breaking ceremony for Baylor in 1903.

At the time there was some thought to naming the hospital after him. After all he had just almost single-handedly built the place. And we Dallasites are fond of naming bridges, buildings and roads after people who donate the money to build them. However, though this wealthy Baptists had a name that was great for being a cattle baron, it was extremely, extremely bad for a hospital. Slaughter. His name was C.C. Slaughter.  And he was literally one of the wealthiest men in America.


The C.C. stood for Christopher Columbus

There are very very few names that would have been worse for the hospital to be named after, including Frank Murder, Bill Death, and Susan Give-up-all-hope-of-living-and-just-die-already. Anyways smart men prevailed and the new hospital was named the Texas Baptist Memorial Sanitarium. Which come to think of it, is only slightly better than Slaughter Hospital.

Now the second effort that was going on the in earlier 20th century was a medical school started by C. M. Rosser in Dallas. Doctor Rosser had started his school around the same time that Truett was building the new hospital, and he was a Baptist.

Rosser_FINALC. M. stood for Charles McDaniel,  sadly his parents did not believe in naming their son after famous people.

So the pariing of Trueets hospital and Rosser’s med school was a natural fit in the beginning.  And Rosser, a graduate of Baylor for his undergraduate studies, reached out to Baylor to see about using the name and establishing a partnership. Baylor at the time did not have a medical school. And Waco, lacked the patients, the medical and nursing students, and frankly the financial and technological ability to support a medical school. So Baylor and Rosser established a partnership that included naming his medical school, the Baylor College of Medicine.

And for the better part of three decades the Texas Baptist Memorial Sanatorium and the Baylor School of Medicine and Baylor University  all co-existed.  The Hospital even changed it’s name to Baylor Hospital in 1921. But that peaceful co-existence did not last. Beginning in the 1930’s the medical school ran into problems. The hospital was doing fine, even adding new wings and capacity. But the medical school was suffering problems, which depending on who you asked stemmed from different sources. The school was suffering financially, which leaders of the school chalked up almost entirely to the great depression. But some leaders in the hospital and some Dallas civic leaders believed the problem wasn’t merely the depression.

In short the problem was not the affiliation and partnership with Baylor University or Baptist in general, but rather a heavy reliance on the Baptists and a refusal to consider medical science that conservative Baptists found immoral. Or let me put it this way. If you try to run a top flight medical school while completely refusing to even consider evolution as a possibility, you might have problems.

Operating_TheaterAn “operating theater” from Baylor in the 1920’s.  Highly advanced.

Either way, the school, facing financial issues and um, possible philosophical issues, began looking for a new city to locate in. Their decision was made pretty easy after a foundation in Houston offered bookoos of money for them to move to there. The hospital stayed however, pretty hard to a seven story tall building after all. Along with the hospital many of the doctors and professors from the old med school stayed. The name of the hospital was changed to Baylor University Medical Center, and it has continued at a top flight hospital and teaching hospital since.

An Agrument for the Olympics in Dallas

Sure everyone wants to host the Olympics theoretically, but is it economical feasible to host them? The nay-sayer’s argument’s most common refrain is “Olympics, no way, costs too much.” But often there’s little discussion beyond the “they cost too much” refrain. Someone cites a buzzfeed article that says the Olympics costs London 50 billion, or that Russia spent 100 billion and that’s that. But when you really take a look at that argument in reference to Dallas it doesn’t hold as much water has initially they would lead you to believe. In fact an opposing view comes to light.

  • First, the Olympic athletic venues wouldn’t costs us that much because we’ve already built so many of them. We don’t have to build a billion Olympic Stadium or other minor facilities because we’ve already built them. When you start to add up our professional sports venues, our minor league venues, our collegiate facilities, our high school facilities; it doesn’t take very long to realize the assets we already have. Assets that other cities don’t have. I mean how many cities out there have half a dozen high school stadiums that seat 15-20,000?

cotton bowlThe Cotton Bowl is largest stadium in the Americas that’s not a team’s home stadium

  • Leverage athlete housing and other supportive infrastructure costs in areas of the region that need revitalization or would requirement government investment over time. They did it in London, and the Dallas Morning News already suggested that the Fair Park and South Dallas could benefit greatly from revitalization efforts caused by Olympic facilities. Or perhaps downtown Dallas with its millions of square feet of un-used mid-century office buildings. Funding for athlete housing could be leverage to retrofit those buildings and ultimately leave them in modifiable live-work-retail-loft space that would be more favorable to the market.

grow south

Helping South Dallas statler hiton

And Downtwon

  • The operational costs of the Olympics can be used to generate local jobs were the money tends to have large multiplier effects. Many of those who are against hosting the Olympics concede the above two points, but they claim that the operational costs of the Olympics are so great that Dallas should not pursue them. The costs; that includes money for security, for event staff, for drivers and more; will be high. And if we hired a bunch of ushers, cooks, drivers and security guards from out of town, who saved all their money and ultimately went back home after the Olympics were over, then the naysayers would be right. But we aren’t’. If we hire locals, then we’re creating thousands or tens of thousands of jobs for the people of DFW. And money in local’s hands tends to get spent or reinvested locally a second or third time creating a multiplying effect of each dollar. Now where does that money initially come from, well speaking of.


Local Jobs Abound

  • Operational and other costs can be partially recouped by the increased spending of tourists brought by the Olympics. The Olympics will bring tourists to Dallas, tourist that wouldn’t normally be in Dallas. They will spend money here, money that would not normally be spent here. That increase in spending will help to pay for the costs. And before you point out that this didn’t work out so great for Athens, I’d like to remind you that Athens is a popular tourists destination in the summer for Ivy League trust fund kids, European Royalty and African Despots regardless of whether or not the Olympics are in town. Dallas in the summer is not a top tourist spot. The increase spending from tourists in Dallas will be far far greater.


  • Lastly, it’s not all about the costs. Looking at the above four paragraphs from a results point of view, you’d see all the benefits Dallas receives from the Olympics. We would have built or more likely upgraded a number of world class athletic venues. We would have begun the process of revitalizing certain areas. We would have created thousands of jobs, and hundreds of millions or perhaps several billion in economic activity locally. Taking it further, with all those important decisions makers in town, think of the connections to made, deals to be hashed out, and contracts to be inked. And for you non-profits out there, think of the all the fund-raising galas to be thrown or big donations to be courted. I could go on and on about all the benefits, but I’m fairly confident in saying that pretty much everyone from poorest school children, to the wealthiest billionaires will benefit in some way if the Olympics come to Dallas.

In short the argument is that, it won’t costs as much as people say, we can leverage some of that money to help do other things in Dallas, much of the money will go into the hands of locals and come from the wallets of tourists, and the many benefits of the Olympics ultimately outweigh the costs.

I know that some of you out there can’t wait to point out the one problem unaddressed in this argument so far, mass transit. I saved that for the last because I believe that it best sums up the whole argument. If we pursue the Olympics, and the Olympic Committee tells us the only thing getting in the way of the Olympic is that we need an expanded and intensified mass transit system, well our history shows that we’ll build it. If we’re truly determined to host the Olympics, and will do anything to host them, then we’ll build the transit system. There are recent local examples like the DCTA or the Oak Cliff Street Car where we built rail lines. And there are initiative proposals to fund and build others. So it’s possible, we just need to political capital to see that it’s accomplished. And speaking of capital yes, it will cost a lot of money to build the rail line(s). But we’ll be leveraging those costs with the costs of Olympics. In simple terms if the line will costs 100 dollars to build, and we have access to 10 dollars in some types of grants or private funding that won’t be available unless the Olympics came to town, well then it’s actually cheaper to build the rail line with the Olympics. The rail line(s) also creates a number of jobs, and we’re left with the benefits of having an expanded and intensified transit system after the Olympics are over.


Russia built a rail line for the Winter Olympics.  Dallas surely could do the same.

Examples of Dallas Following its “Golden Destiny”

A.C. Green once wrote that Dallas has been “led since birth by a citizenry that believed a golden destiny was assigned the place where they lived, taking its ambitions seriously whether anyone else did or not.” Below are a few of those examples

Historically, Dallas has thrived not because of nature or providence, but by the collective will of its citizens. It goes back to our founding. Dallas wasn’t founded by a government as a natural fort, or by some company as a mining camp, nor did merchants flock to our town’s natural harbor or port, and farmers didn’t congregate here because of our great climate or soil. No we were founded by one man. One singular solitude man, who was so determined to build a great city that it literally drove him mad. His vision, determination, and ambition helped Dallas get off the ground and begin its growth.

63e3828fd7a0b6a41bf94110_LThe man on the left John Neely Bryan founded Dallas

It doesn’t stop with him though. Early settlers in the 1840’s (all twenty of them) were so convinced that Dallas was a great community that they persuaded the state (technically the Republic at the time) to build the very first state highway through our tiny town. Several decades later in the 1870s, town fathers bribed one railroad to run its north/south line through Dallas, and then they tricked another railroad to run its east/west line through the town. And by tricked, I mean something straight out of Blazing Saddles, or to use an up to date reference, we “Frank Underwooded” them a la House of Cards to come to Dallas. As a result of the junction of those two railroads, Dallas became a hub for commerce and a 19th century center for trade.

There’s also the story of the aviation firm that was planning on moving to Dallas from Connecticut in the 1950’s, but discovered at the last minute that the runways at Love Field were too short. When they called mayor R.L. Thornton to tell him the bad news, he told them “…hold on a minute let me call you right back.” He called back later that day to let them know that construction had just started on lengthening the runways at Love, and that it would be finished within the month. What Dallas wants, we get.

Perhaps the best example for the purposes of the Olympics comes from another story involving Mayor R. L. Thornton and Dallas’ bid to host a prestigious event. In the early 1930’s, the state of Texas was debating which city would host the states’ centennial celebration which was to coincide with a World’s Fair of such. The celebration would be a large and elaborate event, a spectacle spanning several weeks, in which people predicted would bring in millions of visitors, create thousands of jobs, and generating millions in the local economy.   When the state was deciding where to hold it (Austin as the state capital had been taken of out of contention), there were two clear favorites. San Antonio, with its cultural and historical significance (i.e. the freakin’ Alamo, was one favorite). As was Houston, the largest city in Texas, a port city (very important in the 1930’s) and the closest big city to the battlefield of the final decisive victory in the War for Texas Independence. Dallas was in the running but considered an afterthought, as we lacked the cultural and historical depth of San Antonio, or the size and accessibility of Houston.


Notice this doesn’t say Houston or San Antonio

 Funny thing happened though. Dallas won the bid. How? It was a combination of our package of incentives, our salesmanship, and our politicking. We offered more in our bid, more land to host the celebration, more building for the states’ use, and more money to help cover the operational costs. We also sold the s*** out of our bid. Dallas if nothing is a town with some of the best salesmen. We presented such a vision of what the celebration would look like that in the end it was more appealing than the other cities. Then ultimately, we also won the politicking game. I mentioned early that Dallas “Frank Underwooded” a railroad to come to Dallas, R.L. Thornton wasn’t exactly Frank Underwood, he was more like LBJ but without the presidential ambitions. Thornton, along with civic and business leaders, were so determined to win the bid that they shook more hands, slapped more backs, and made the deals that helped win Dallas the host privileges. In short we out sold, outbid and out worked the other cities. People in Houston are still bitter about Dallas’ tactics and the way things went down.


Okay not really

For a more modern day example, take Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban is the personification of a Dallasite. He bought what was literally the worst team in the NBA. A laughing stock of a franchise that hadn’t had a winning seasons in a decade. But he was convinced that he could build a championship team. He went about building a roster centered around an awkward 7-foot jump shooting German. He surrounded that German with cast-offs, rejects from other teams, players past their so-called primes. The majority of the NBA didn’t take his team seriously. No one thought they could win. They worked their way through the playoffs with each successive win seemingly more improbable than the last to the majority of sports writers. In the NBA finals they came up against a team that every odds maker in the country labeled as a favorite. The Mavericks ran into a team that had been built with the high priced free agents to win back-to-back-to-back-to-back titles. No one thought the Maverick’s group of “no-names, has beens, and never weres,” could win. That is except Cuban, his coaches, and players. I’ll go back to that quote from A.C. Green, the one about Dallas’s people believing in some grand golden destiny for their city, and taking it seriously as others didn’t. Cuban believed in that golden destiny for his team, whether anyone took his beliefs seriously or not. As it turns out they should have. The Mavericks won.


He believed in his golden destiny, no pun intended


The weather we just went through is called a “Blue Norther,” and why Dallas doesn’t have a Winter as a Season

Is winter in Dallas always like this – TM

No, because Dallas doesn’t have a winter.  We have a season called “northers” and when it ices over real bad that particular storm is called a blue norther or Texas norther.   Seriously this isn’t just a home spun term, the weather channel acknowledges it.  Here let me explain.

In Dallas we have basically five seasons.  Jim Rogers back in 1951 labeled the best I’ve ever heard

Spring, just regular spring with rain, expect ours come with thunder and lighting, from about the end of February to the beginning of May.

Summer, a fairly pleasant time of clear skies, and temps in the 80s and into the 90s that last from May until mid July

Sol, or Latin for the sun, from July into August where the glare of the sun is the most striking thing about the world for ten to twelve weeks

Autumn or porch weather or the best weather in Dallas from September into December 11, 2013

Norther, i’ll just directly quote Rogers here

The fifth and final season ordinarily begins in December and continues well into February.  It is designed as a Norther and not winter because Dallas does not have winter as the northern part of this country knows it.  Mild sunny weather persists and then icy biting winds sweep straight down from Canada and freeze the marrow of Texan’s bones.  This sudden blast of cold when the temperature drops as much as twenty or thirty degrees in an hour and slides from balmy air and open windows to a howl of wind and ice overnight is as a blue norther.  Northers usually blow themselves out in a few days, the wind changes direction, coming from the south and a gulf breeze once more brings mildness.”


Notice where the longest dagger is pointing? Right at North Texas and Dallas

Does that sound familiar, kinda like what we just went through?  I’ll remind you that the a few days before the temperature dropped as low as twelve, and we had two inches of solid ice; temperatures in Dallas were as high as 80 degrees.  And though this bleu norther as latest longer than normal, next week temps will be back at 65.

The most famous northers and blue northers in the past few years, include the almost white Christmas of 2011, the Super Bowl week storm, the unseasonably early Thanksgiving Day Leon Lett miscue for the Cowboys.  And personally for me once in the late 80’s early 90’s when the edges of White Rock froze and the child version of me got to take a few closely watched and careful steps on the frozen lake.

The norther that blew down during the Super Bowl Week, wrecked havoc with the Super Bowl

cowboys stadium

Lett about to botch a Thanksgiving day game with the Dolphins.  It’s okay Leon, you were a two time Prob-Bowler and won three Super Bowls


This is partly why snow is Dallas is almost always greeted with excitement and enjoinment by most.  It’s here for a day or two, schools shut down for day maybe, people throw snow balls, sled down Flag Pole Hill on cafeteria trays, take a few pictures, drink a little too much wine or bourbon, and then within a short while, everything’s back to normal; and you see people in short sleeves again.  This can be particularly true for adults that are transplants to Dallas from northern cities.  Those who talk about months of snow on the ground, constant freezing temperatures and blizzards that not only shut people in for longer then a week, but also seriously endanger people’s lives.

What happens when it snows in “Winter”


What Happens when it snows in Dallas during a “Norther”


Of course it’s always fun to see these new transplants down here the first time they experienced a good icing and blue norther.  Right before the storm blows in, when the news is talking about SNOW…ICE…AN INCH OF ACCUMULATION…SCHOOL CLOSINGS.  They get all proud and scuff at how we freak out about a inch of accumulation.  Of course they are often the last ones into work, coming in all white faced, asking, “how the hell anyone can drive on this ice, cause they were sliding around all over the place doing 180’s every twenty feet.”  Because though Dan in accounting from Cleveland can drive through four feet of snow fall on the roads, every Dallasite and most seasoned north Texans know how to slide over an inch of ice accumulation on the roads.

Or to just stay put, build a snowman and get drunk.

Drunk Snowman

From the Kennedy Files Part V: Oswald with his Rifle, His Mug Shot, Telegrams from “farmer’s Branch Coward

The fifth in a series of posts before the 50th anniversary of November 22nd, 1963, about that fateful day and the days afterward.

Click here for part one (Ruby’s mug shot, Oswald’s arrest warrant, the famous “cut out” photo, and telegrams calling Oswald a filthy tramp)

Click here for part two (Oswald after he was arrested, The grassy knoll statement, Oswald’s fake ID and the FBI investigating whether Ruby was gay)

Click here for part three (Ruby’s stripper girlfriend, Oswald’s Texas Theater seat, Ruby’s lawyer has a heart attack, and Frank Sinatara’s Drummer’s role in the events of the day)

Click here for part four (the scene in the parking garage right after Oswald was shoot, Ruby’s Psy evaluation, and Oswald’s family visit him in jail)

Everything is from the City of Dallas’s file on the Kennedy assassination and the Oswald murder from online the City of Dallas achieves. Some are presented without comment other aren’t. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Oswald’s Original Mug Shot

mug shot lee harvey oswald

Oswald and his famous photo

oswald rifle twoIt’s interesting that the police’s file on Oswald also includes the photos below with Oswald cut out, and with a police officer standing in his place.

cut outdallas dectiveOfficer Tippit’s File

j.d. tippit's file

Officer Tippit was gunned down by Oswald shortly after Kennedy was shot.  The following is an account of the shooting.  Notice how Mr. Callaway, a used car salesmen, saw the murder, picked up Tippit’s gun hailed a cab and proceeded to try and chase down Oswald in order to shoot him.  Ballsy Mr. Callaway, I’ll give you that.

JD Tippit

Speaking of Ballsy, or not so much, two telegrams to Ruby, one from “Farmers Branch Coward”

farmer's branch coward