Monthly Archives: May 2014

LUV

Dear Gary C. Kelly,

As a Dallasite, I’m proud that Southwest Airlines is from here. Our fair city has been the starting place for many great companies, but Southwest might top them all. And as of October this year, we will finally be unshackled from the Wright Amendment and can fully enjoy your services! (That means prices should go down, right?)

So maybe now you will let high-speed rail into Texas since you aren’t as reliant on the inter-Texas routes anymore. Southwest is in a totally different position now than it was when you derailed (no pun intended) a high-speed rail attempt in 1993. Focus on flying to Mexico. There is a sweet spot distance where rail travel is more convenient than air travel. Enter the impossibly flat Dallas to Houston route where at 200mph the trip would take 90 minutes without the security hassles. It will help the region prosper, which in turn will benefit Southwest Airlines. All Aboard!

Let this one slide and I’ll patronize your airline forever.

RESPONSE: 

Hello, Hayden –

Gary forwarded me your note and asked that I respond on his behalf.  Thanks for your kind words about SWA—it’s a big year for us right here in our hometown, and we’ve been looking forward to October for a long time.  Indeed, the sunset of the Wright Amendment is good news for anyone traveling to/from North Texas.

With regard to your comments about high speed rail, we don’t presently have a position, and we really haven’t been involved in the issue recently.  That doesn’t mean we are “neutral” because neutral is a position.  To date, there is insufficient information about a rumored Texas high speed rail proposal to support any reasoned evaluation and informed decision. 

Thanks again for your note, and we hope to see you onboard soon.

Chris

Chris Mainz | Communication | Southwest Airlines

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12 Years a Dirty Guy

Dear David Whitlock,

It has been 12 years since your last shower. You’ve unshackled yourself from the modern constructs of personal hygiene and gone native, so to speak. Humanity was just fine before the advent of showers, bathtubs, and even bars of soap. Actually, you argue (and practice) that we were better off without it. There are natural and healthy bacteria that grow on our skin for an evolutionary reason and most of us killed them all each time we shower, which in my case is twice a day.

Personally, I love showering. It’s much more than the act of staying clean for me. It’s where I get my thoughts in order. It is the symbolic start and end to my day. It’s the cap to a good workout. Don’t you miss that a little bit?

I adhere to the “less is more” theory in many aspects of my life. Showering is not one of them. And if you can maintain a relationship as the guy who hasn’t showered in 12 years, then all the power to you.

Rock on.

PS: I hope you at least wash your hands.

Post Secrets

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.

Not so anonymous or secret.

Not so anonymous or secret anymore…

Memorial Day

Write an American soldier and make their day. Info can be found at www.anysoldier.com

Dear PFC Cody Mullins,

Happy Memorial Day! I wanted to reach out and thank you for your service today even though this letter won’t get to you and your company until well after the holiday. Thanks to your dedication to our freedom, all of us back home can enjoy our long weekend. I spent mine on the Texas coast getting a nice little sunburn. Hopefully ya’ll had  a burger and a beer to commemorate. Maybe even two beers.

You are stationed in South Korea. My grandfather served during the Korean War, luckily after the armistice. I think he mostly spent his time burning stuff with incendiary grenades and playing volleyball (not to discount his service). I hope to travel there some day. Have you explored much of the country?

So in an attempt to make you smile here is a fun fact and a joke about South Korea. Try to figure out which is which:

  • Spin a Korean person around and they become disoriented.
  • South Korea has the smallest average penis size in the world.

Come home safe and again, thank you for your service.

Yahoooooooo

Dear Marissa Mayer,

You used to work for Google. Now you are the President of Yahoo. A conflict of interest there?

Actually, I would say no.

Where Google acts as the world’s favorite portal to the limitless information of the internet in a simple and straightforward format, Yahoo offers a more curated experience. It is a platform for news, fantasy sports, and other clutter. It promotes digital communities through these categories for what it’s worth and oh yeah it’s a search engine also.

Yahoo is the third most used search engine behind Google and Bing. Do you go after Bing’s segment or try to out Google Google for a piece of their pie?

Ok maybe it’s unrealistic to go toe-to-toe with Google. But I would like to see them have some competition. Competition create a better product and I’m looking at you.

Where is the Google X equivalent for Yahoo? Why aren’t youcreating self-driving cars and floating server barges? Where is the Yahoo browser to compete with Chrome or the Yahoo social network to compete with Google Plus (even though no one uses it)?

I remember when you were on top! I used Yahoo for everything. Now where are you going? What is your identity? Hopefully you have something in mind and can learn from the ghosts of search engine’s past (Netscape, Excite, MSN).

Take care!

PS: You’re kinda hot.

 

 

Rex’s Blues

Dear Wrecks Bell,

The Strand is lame. The Seawall is trashy. It’s Post Office St. that is the real Galveston that I love, with Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe standing as the anchor. I try to stop in whenever I’m in town from Dallas and the musicians are always a treat. The venue has an aura of authenticity about it that can’t be faked. It might be the dank salt air and comfortably worn hardwood floors, or perhaps the legacy of Towns. Probably both.

You aren’t a household name like Townes Van Zandt or Lightin’ Hopkins, but you were right in the middle of the Texas blues scene at it’s peak. Though I missed it by a few decades, I feel connected to that era of through Old Quarter. It lives on through your venue.

My intro to Townes’ Live at the Old Quarter album was through an Austin musician named Shakey Graves. He is certainly influenced by your era of Texas blues and is pushing it forward with his own style. It would be too cool to see him perform at your venue.  Maybe time for another live album?

Hopefully I’ll catch you behind the bar someday. Happy Memorial Day.

Too cool man

 

The Dude Abides

Dear Jeff Bridges,

Dude. Duder. El Duderino.

Yeah I’m one of those dudes who constantly quotes The Big Lebowski. There is a quote for every situation in life: “Phone’s ringing dude” is very applicable but subtle. Then there is the “Fuck it dude. Let’s go bowling” for when no one can come to a consensus on what to do.

You channel The Dude at some point in basically all your roles post The Big Lebowski. Men Who Stare at Goats is an obvious one but even when you play a villain like in Iron Man it comes out. Maybe I just can’t disassociate you from that role in my mind. I’ve read how you wouldn’t mind if your role as The Dude defines your career.

My next favorite role of yours: Crazy Heart. Furthermore, it’s pretty legit that you’re touring as a musician now with “the Abiders”. Sorry to have missed you in Dallas this April.

Well, keep takin’er easy for all us sinners.

#NoKungFu

Dear DeAndre Upshaw,

I avoid Uptown for the most part. It’s never really been my scene but of course there are those nights when all your friends want to overpay for their drinks and dress up to do it. I can usually restrain my whining and complaining, except when we go to that pocket of bars off Cedar Springs centered around Concrete Cowboy, 6th St., and Kung Fu.

I venture to say there is no higher concentration of scum anywhere in the state on a given weekend. I’m not alone in my assessment of the area; see Douchiest Bar’s in Dallas.  I’ve personally seen African American’s get turned away from Kung Fu when they were dressed WAY nice than myself. I guess I look like the clientele they have in mind (white). Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the gathering yesterday  but it looks to have been quite successful at least from a local media standpoint (shout of to Central Track for the early scoop).

Awesome job getting this movement together. What are your next steps on this crusade?

The Other HP

Dear Councilman Jerry Allen,

I’m a relatively new resident to your district after growing up in Lee Kleinman’s district. Thankfully he is no longer my representative but that’s another story.  Tonight I attended my first Hamilton Park Civil Union meeting. Now I’m a card carrying member.

I think it’s pretty cool that you came through for the meeting. You obviously have a good relationship with the community here as everyone seemed happy to see you (and vice versa). Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself but I was the red-headed white dude there (the only one).

I am intrigued by Hamilton Park and wanted to hear your thoughts on the neighborhood: where its been, where its heading, how it has changed. The meeting today had lots of positive news about crime rates and community programs. I’ve been very comfortable here in my few months here, but I can’t help notice the many empty and often bordered-up homes. I literally don’t have any neighbors on either side of my house or across the street.

What is holding this area back from developing the with rest of North Dallas? I’ve read how Hamilton Park resisted major buyouts in the past but it seems stagnant at this point. How can the area be revitalized without losing its identity? That’s a mostly rhetorical question, but it has been on my mind.

Thanks!

PS: Keep up the fight against shady payday lending.

One Record A Day

Dear Alex Schelldorf,

My personal project is to write a letter a day for a year. Your personal project was to  listen to and write about one record a day for a year. You have accomplished your goal. You persevered through 365 days of job obligations, vacations, drunk nights, laziness, and good ole’ fashion writers block. Hell, I’m writing this letter at 1:30 AM on a Monday. I think you can agree that you just aren’t inspired to write something worth reading everyday. No one is.

So why do it? Who cares other than your parents? At the end of the day (everyday) the challenge is  to push yourself to think, to articulate, and to create on a daily basis. To hold yourself accountable and commit to a project (for many reasons) mainly for your own personal fulfillment. And though the adversity of this daily commitment to write and think, you become a stronger writer and enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

I was excited when I found your project completed. That inspires me. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve missed about 15 days so far this year, but I guarantee there will be 365 letters on December 31, 2014. Plus you reviewed many of my favorite albums, in particular Tycho Dive, OutKast Aquimini, Toro Y Moi Anything in Return, and interestingly enough, Little Dragon (S/T).  That was a tough day for you but you still got your review up. Respect man.

So, any advice on staying fresh with a project like this?

RESPONSE:

Greetings Hayden,
First, thanks for reaching out! I’m glad that I’ve been some sort of inspiration.
While I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I agree that it was difficult to find inspiration every day. Toward the tail end of the project, I was especially hard pressed to find new ways of saying what I felt to be, at times, the same types of things I had been saying all year. It devolved into a strange place, where I was still driven to complete the project but increasingly fatigued by the daily rigors. I’ve catalogued that time here: http://onerecordperday.wordpress.com/category/things-have-gotten-weird/
Why do it? Someone asked me this very thing the other day, and I think I responded with “Insanity, mostly.” I began as a creative writing major in college, which equates to majoring in unemployment. I switched gears to a more traditional (but equally poor) route in journalism, but was encouraged by my fiction and poetry instructors to write every single day, length be damned. Could’ve been a page, or a graf – even a sentence. 
I knew I needed a vehicle to do this. I had tried to publish my top 12 albums of 2012 from December 1st through December 12th. As you’ve experienced this year, life got in the way, and I ended up not completing those posts till… I think the 19th. It was really late, and I was disappointed in myself, even if my lofty goal was self-imposed.
When I realized I owned close to 365 albums, it seemed like some sort of divine intervention to do a year’s worth of blogging. I didn’t tell anyone about the project for a couple of weeks so that if I failed, I would’ve only let down myself and not anyone else.
I think I lost my spark in late summer. How I kept it going that long, I’m still not certain. I was in the last semester of my senior year of college, taking 5 classes. I was interning at two different organizations: a video production company, and a National Hockey League team. I remember waking up sometimes at 5 am to write my post before class. It was insane. Who does that? At that point, it’s less about the music and more about sticking to the arduous but arbitrary – and, again, self-imposed – tenets of the project.
In September, when I moved to Washington, D.C. to intern for NPR Music’s All Songs Considered, I was losing steam. What kept me going was hearing from folks at work that since I was 70% done, I had to finish it. There was no other option. It would have been a pity to get that far into it and quit. That was what kept me going, through the boredom and general malaise towards albums I no longer cared about but still ownedones that I ironically needed to further the progress toward my goal.
Who cared, other than my parents? That’s also difficult to say, because I don’t think there’s an especially satisfying answer. I wasn’t expecting a ‘microwave’ response. I went in with low expectations, so when I was up over 1000 views in the first month, I was floored. When I hit 3000+ in June, I was wondering where all those people who read it lived so I could kiss them on their face for being so kind.
NPR Music certainly cared. They said specifically that my project was what put me over the top to secure my internship at All Songs. Then again, I also bribed them in my cover letter with cookies.
Readers like you have cared, I suppose, else you wouldn’t have emailed me. While I set out to accomplish the project for myself, I’m grateful and humbled by the response. It’s truly overwhelming.
More than anyone else though, I cared. It has to come from you first before anyone else can.
While I don’t feel like I have any authority whatsoever to speak on this kind of thing, the best advice I have for persevering is to realize that you’re making an investment in yourself, and that you may not see any ‘dividends’ until much, much later. By the time I heard back from NPR, it was August, well past the halfway point of the project. You’re sending me a note in May of 2014, almost a year and a half after I began One Record Per Day, and more than 5 months removed from when I completed it. That for me says everything.
So on those days when you hear that voice telling you to quit, know that your investment is well worth the hassle. 
Cheers,
-a