If you drive into downtown Houston via I-45 from the north or I-10 from the west, you will be greeted by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen F. Austin, and Sam Houston.
Each of them weigh two tons, and are the work of exurban sculptor David Adickes. He made them, and 39 others, in 2004 for a theme park in Virginia that never opened, so the entire bustle of busts never left Houston.
These four were relocated to a cut-off corner overlooking the freeways at 1400 Elder Street. Officially, itʼs called American Statesman Park. But most commuters know it as Mount Rush Hour.
The atmosphere is having a nice little hissy fit in Las Vegas right now. A touch of rain about an hour ago, and now a windstorm. More interestingly, we had some thunder. We hardly ever get thunder here, because with the effort involved in getting over the mountains, thereʼs usually not enough energy for lightning. Itʼs the same story in Seattle.
People talk about all the rain in Seattle, but itʼs almost always a very calm, gentle rain. What the Navajos call “female rain.” I donʼt know what the Quileute in La Push, Washington call it. But when we visited, Darcie took a smooth rock home from the beach, and didnʼt find out later that youʼre not supposed to do that. We ended up having all kinds of bad luck right after that. Go figure.
Thereʼs a Door Dash guy trying to deliver something soggy and greasy to my neighbor, and the wind just made off with his big red bag. Run, Dasher, run!
Todayʼs coffee is Starbucks Christmas Blend. Not to be confused with Holiday Blend.
Holiday Blend is much more widely distributed than Christmas Blend. When I lived in Seattle, you couldnʼt find it at all. Here, itʼs available if you hunt for it, and I managed to get this one delivered.
Itʼs good. Iʼm not sure what makes it Christmassy. It doesnʼt taste of peppermint or elves or anything. Itʼs heavier than Blonde, but not going to mug you in an alley like Italian Roast. Itʼs just a shade darker than Pike Place, in my estimation. Itʼs a good coffee since I like my coffee the way I like my women: ordinary, but elusive.
I started going to Tullyʼs when I lived in Seattle. There was a Starbucks next door to the building where I lived, but I liked Tullyʼs better because it attracted nerds and I liked to listen to their conversations and get inspired.
There was a Tullyʼs in the Xbox/Bing building across the street, and one in the REI headquarters across from where Darcie worked. Tullyʼs only existed in the Seattle area, and because of foreign investment, South Korea. Much like how Caribou Coffee only exists in Minneapolis and Saudi Arabia.
Tullyʼs is gone now. Starbucks ate Tullyʼs after it ate Seattleʼs Best. But because of those investors, Tullyʼs still exists in Seoul, and those people licensed the brand to Green Mountain, which is Keurig, which explains why I was able to find a box of Tullyʼs pods at Safeway.
Even though this is both French roast and decaf, it was really strong. Like needs an extra half-a-Splenda strong. But thatʼs OK, because I like my coffee the way I like my women: Rich and bitter.
One of the things I miss about not working in the office anymore is that I canʼt squeeze in a quick lunchtime mass anymore.
I sometimes used to go to the noon mass at Guardian Angel Cathedral, but it wasnʼt exactly a contemplative atmosphere. Standing room only, and half of it tourists. Thereʼs a special Catholic church just for the tourists, paid for by the casinos, but the tourists still end up at Guardian Angel. I guess being a cathedral, itʼs got more gravity.
I see stories in the media all the time saying that church is dying, but I canʼt help but think this is just a cliché, and not based on facts. Yes, churches in Chicago are closing all the time, but thatʼs because of bad decisions made by the archdiocese in the early 1900ʼs.
Because the various immigrant groups in Chicago couldnʼt get along, instead of having a church for each neighborhood, each neighborhood was given several churches — one for each ethnicity/nationality/community. So, Bridgeport, for example, had a bunch of Catholic churches: one for Germans, one for Poles, one for Lithuanians, one for Irish. But now that everyone gets along, all those churches arenʼt needed, so theyʼre constantly consolidating. The church I went to in Chicago (Assumption) was an Italian church, formed because Italians in that area of town werenʼt welcome at what is now Old Saint Patrickʼs Church.
Here in Las Vegas, and most of the southwest, there simply arenʼt enough Catholic churches for the number of people who want to use them. I go to Saint Elizabeth either for the 4pm Saturday, or the 6am on Sunday, and both times it is absolutely packed. This is a church with a capacity of at least 750, which to me seems pretty big. Iʼve heard from a person I know in Ohio who says itʼs the same situation there.
There are Roman Catholic congregations here that meet in the lyceum of the Lutheran high school down the street, for lack of space. We had a similar situation in Seattle, where the noon mass at the cathedral was so packed that there was another Catholic mass down the street at the Unitarian church.
I feel bad for the people who live in small towns around here. Amargosa Valley and Pioche are 250 miles apart, and have to share a priest, so they only get a single mass every other week. Other towns only get mass once a month. Because of this, we have special dispensation from the Archdiocese of San Francisco to watch mass on TV. The church I go to records a mass on Thursdays that is broadcast state-wide Sunday morning. Thereʼs no communion, naturally, but it still counts somehow.