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Roadside Headlines
Archive: January 2002
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We Need the Parking Space Already
January 31, 2002

This End Up
Click to Enlarge
The unsightly Bank One Tower in downtown Fort Worth, voted 2001's Best Eyesore by Fort Worth Weekly readers, will have to remain part of the skyline a bit longer.

The 37-story skyscraper was badly damaged by a tornado that swept through the city in March 2000. Owners concluded that insurance payments would not cover costs to repair the building, so it was sold and scheduled for demolition. As crews began preparing the damaged tower for its demise, residents anxiously awaited seeing the 454-foot monstrosity become the tallest structure ever imploded.

Unfortunately, continuing complications have persistently delayed demolition, including extended asbestos removal and fire-prevention measures recently imposed for the plywood that now covers much of the tower's windows.

Even the implosion itself, first expected in August 2001, is now under review. Conventional demolition could be a possibility, which would make the Bank One Tower's annihilation slow and disappointing.

#000033
It Beats Another Horse Mural
January 29, 2002

Downtown Fort Worth's Burnett Park will soon be the home to an enormous, brushed-aluminum stencil.

The sculpture, titled Man With Briefcase, is the largest version yet of an already popular work by Jonathan Borofsky. Borofsky is well known for his large Hammering Men found around the world and for his unusual Ballerina Clown in Venice, California.

The work is a shiny, 50-foot monolith with a silhouette cutout in the shape of a businessman wearing a fedora and carrying a briefcase. It is currently being constructed in California and should be installed this summer when renovations on the park near completion.

Related Information: 

Borofsky.com

#000032
Then Why Would You Move There?
January 29, 2002

Neighbors on a Dallas street near White Rock Lake have found themselves steeped in controversy over their shared address. Some just can't come to terms with living on a roadway named Nimrod Trail.

Lisa Ball, a lawyer and reluctant resident of Nimrod, drew up a petition to have the name changed. She says that people laugh at her when she tells them her address and that the kids who live there get teased. She wants the street to be renamed Orion Trail.

Orion and Nimrod were both great hunters. Orion comes from Greek mythology; Nimrod, who was a grandson of Noah, is Biblical. But many who live on the controversial street argue that "nimrod" is now nothing more than a derogatory word and are embarrassed to be connected with it.

But not all those living on the unfortunately named roadway are on the same side many are surprisingly proud of the title. "We're Nimrodders!" exclaimed one 17-year resident.

The outcome has yet to be determined, but one proposed solution is to simply rename one block Orion and let the nimrods have the other.

#000031
Big Tex's Vocal Transplant a Success
January 25, 2002

Officials for the State Fair of Texas have announced the newest voice for their 52-foot-tall icon.

A 55-year-old freelance broadcast engineer with the appropriately boastful name Bill Bragg has been appointed next year's man behind the microphone. He will be the seventh person to provide Big Tex's booming voice since the towering cowboy was granted speaking abilities in 1953.

Bragg will replace previous vocal artist "Sonny" Rea Stolz who bowed out after only one year (Nov. 13, 2001), citing his disagreement with fair officials' opinion that the man behind Big Tex should remain more mysterious and not so much a personality himself. Both men were among five finalists chosen in a high-profile contest held last April.

Officials are hoping that this low-key manner of selecting Tex's voice will result in less conflict than the highly publicized contest. "This is the way we always used to do it," said Nancy Wiley, spokeswoman for the fair. "Running it as a public contest didn't have a real happy ending."

Bragg won't be totally new to the role of the slow-talking Texan. For the last two years, he has played the part for the State Fair information line. His announcements were only partly in Big Tex fashion, though. As he put it, "If I did it all in that slow Big Tex voice, the State Fair would be over before you got off the phone."

Related Information: 

Big Tex: The World's Largest Cowboy
BigTex.com - The State Fair of Texas

#000030
Would-Be Mascot Trots Into Town
January 22, 2002

Holliday, a town consisting of about 1,500 residents, seems to have inadvertently added another denizen to its roster. Her name is Gertrude.

Gertrude, like many who live in Holliday, frequents the town's Dairy Queen. The rest of the time, she's waiting around for her boyfriend, mostly while sitting atop one of the town's two stoplights.

Gertrude, you see, is a turkey. According to the DQ's manager, Nancy Boggs, she started showing up the first of this year. Theory suggests that she's been staying around because she's waiting for her tom to come back. Unfortunately, someone ran him over. So, Gertrude will probably be waiting around a while.

At least one family has already tried to bag Gertrude for dinner and children sometimes chase her down with sticks. Boggs, her employees and her customers run to Gertrude's rescue. They also make sure the widowed foul stays fed probably another reason she hangs around.

When she's not begging for a Blizzard or perched on a stoplight, Holliday's feathered friend tends to hang out on a roof across the street from the DQ. Boggs swears she's seen Gertrude look both ways before crossing the street, but visiting motorists hoping to meet the town's new mascot are urged to keep a look out.

Perhaps one day Holliday will honor Gertrude by building a "world's largest" monument in her honor.

#000029
Dimple Your Own Chads
January 19, 2002

Remember those Florida voting machines that caused so much controversy during the 2000 presidential election? Well, they've apparently become collector's items. At least that's what Tim Kelley and Steve Phillips are hoping.

The two entrepreneurs from Lewisville purchased 200 of the machines, called Votomatics, and are selling them at this year's Fort Worth Stock Show. Phillips, dressed as Uncle Sam, invites patrons to give the voting machines a try. So far, most who have given it a shot have admitted that it is indeed confusing.

The Votomatics, which introduced America to the term "hanging chad," can be acquired for the reasonable price of $80.

Related Information: 

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

#000028
Giraffe, Spotted
January 18, 2002

On Jan. 8, Texas Twisted reported on the disappearance of a giraffe from an exotic-animal ranch in Bayview.

The 10-foot female, named Winnie, was finally found on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after she vanished. Harold Girault, the ranch's owner, discovered her in a drainage ditch while searching by helicopter. Apparently, Winnie had drowned.

Unfortunately, giraffes are among the very few mammals who lack the ability to swim.

#000027
Attempted Pegacide
January 15, 2002

It appears that eccentric public art isn't as popular with some people as it is with Texas Twisted fans.

The eclectically stylized Pegasus statues, reported earlier by Texas Twisted (Sept. 21, 2001) and currently on display around Dallas, have apparently become the targets of vandals. So far, four statues have been reported as having suffered damage by unidentified assailants.

Two of the statues, being repaired by their sculptor Ken Robison, have sustained wing cracks, base damage, a loose hoof and a missing ear. A third has already been repaired and returned to its original location.

A fourth statue was stolen from its position near the Magnolia Hotel, the historic building sporting the neon flying horse that inspired the citywide project. The purloined Pegasus has luckily been recovered, but with minor damage.

Betty Switzer, director of the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, isn't positive that all the damage was intentional. Citing one incident in which a street sign appeared to have been struck near one of the statues, she proffers that it's possible someone accidentally ran his car over a curb.

Robison, the Pegasi's creator, is adamant, however. "It was definitely vandalism."

Related Information: 

Dallas Soars

#000026
Long Gone
January 8, 2002

How does a 10-foot giraffe up and vanish? That's what Howard Girault, owner of the Girault Farm, is trying to figure out.

The story-high female disappeared last Wednesday from Girault's exotic-animal farm, located about 15 miles north of Brownsville. Search parties have covered four or five miles square, according to Girault, with no luck in finding any clues.

Girault says there's no way the giraffe could have jumped the fence, and since all the gates were locked, it's likely that the animal was kidnapped. He fears that the $30,000 creature was tranquilized and taken away in a trailer. "They probably already have her in Mexico or back up in the Hill Country."

Girault is offering a reward for the giraffe's return.

#000025
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