Sunday, December 28, 2008

Masonic Texas: Hiding in Plain Sight

IMG_2011, originally uploaded by old.curmudgeon.

Freemasons.  You know, the sneaky, conspiratorial architects of doom secretly plotting secret plots to take over the world the day after tomorrow.  So sneaky, they have websites, public tours of lodges and extremely large memorials to previous brothers.  How insidious.

Since the Masons started as a guild of skilled labor, many of their lodges are architecturally striking.  I had been working on a map of such places in the US when some productive Googling over the holiday led to this discovery...

... a map of Masonics lodge in Texas.  Complied by a brother Mason, this is a gold mine for me.  With 1,400 locations listed, I don't have a need to visit every small town lodge in rural Texas.  However, it may lead me to some new intriguing places to visit, in hopes for finding some architectural treasure I would have been unaware of otherwise.

My wife walked up behind me as I was looking at the Texas Masonic map, and knowing my love of road trips and strange attractions, started hitting me on the head and saying, "No! No! Bad! Bad!"  I reassured her that we wouldn't have to visit every lodge in Texas.  Just some of the more interesting ones, I thought silently. 


Plano Texas Masonic Lodge, originally uploaded by Coyote2012.

Masonic Temple Waco, TX, originally uploaded by Seth Gaines.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Night Photo Post: Other Houston Photographers - "The Never Ending Addition House"

From meltedplastic entry...

"This house located in the 2200 block of Wichita Street in Houston, Texas has been added onto so many times and with so many styles I really do not know what to think. But I love the witch on a broomstick weather vane at the top of the tallest tower. Check out that deck too. "

A coworker drove me by this place on Monday. Made me very happy. So, in celebration, I will be looking for great houses of visionary genius in Houston and tagging them "With Neighbors Like That..."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Housewives and Beer Drinkers of Houston: Reality. Really? Really!

Part 1:
My dream reality show: "Hour of Power with Dave and Rachael," hosted by Dave Attell (accomplished alcoholic/comedian and former host of Insomniac with Dave Attell) and Rachael Ray (bubbly, bouncy, mini-Martha Stewart and good-time gal).  Dave and Rachael pound a shot of beer every minute for an hour and take on various food and strange social quests in a new city every episode.  No city has a population more than 200,000 and none of them are in English speaking countries.

Hilarity ensues.

Part 2:
The wife and I were at our respective computers, when she started snickering.

She says, "They're going to be filming the "Real Housewives of Houston."

Dear God, why?!! Why must we know about more pneumatic, highlighted, shrill, soon-to-be ex-trophy wives and their compulsive consumption and laughable "talents"? The only thing good about the timing of this new show might be how the rich and shallow handle (or don't handle) the impending economopocalypse (financial meltdown). Oh, the tragedies that will ensue!  See how the folks of River Oaks survive with all that they hold dear.

"How can I be seen in a 2-door Bentley? What will the neighbors think?"


My wife thinks I should try to get on the show, seeing as how I am a househusband and baby wrangler. Let's look at the show's  Craigslist posting and see how I do...

Veteran Hollywood Reality TV Producer is casting NOW for:
Real Housewives of Houston

Ladies, we are looking for REAL women of Houston.
- Totally sexist!

* 20-50 yrs old
- Sadly closer to 50 than 20 :(

* Group of 4-8 friends
- Hmm... nope.

Looking for fun, outgoing, photogenic, attractive Houston ladies who all lead
real, interesting, lives.
- I blog and surf the internet ALL the time!  That would make for great TV!

* A flair for TEXAS styles and TEXAS fashions a must
- When I show up in my denim miniskirt, cowboy boots, a longhorn's shirt and rhinestone earrings, I'll be a total shoe-in.  What else would a person from California expect a Texan housewife to wear?

Once again I'm sure my feelings about humanity will be reconfirmed when Bravo starts airing this quality new show. But something tells me that there will be some televised entertainment about the men of Houston that will be equally deserving of snark.

Attn: Male Beer Drinkers between the ages of 25-34

We are recruiting for 4hr focus groups, on the 16 December, in the Houston area. In the group you will share your beer drinking experience and expertise. If you are selected you will be compensated for your time. All participation is confidential.

If interested please contact us by emailing leaving:

Your name
Your age
Your Location (City you reside)
Best phone number to reach you:
Best time to call:
Best email to reach you:

Please feel free to pass this on to friends that you think might qualify

I'll totally do that!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

NarrowLarry presents: Selected Visionary Folk Art Environments in the United States

I love weird roadside attractions, so when I discovered Houstonian NarrowLarry I was pleased. He's a fountain of information and one of his many interests is American folkart environments. A recent visit to his site shows the welcome addition of a google map with over 100 such locations. Most of the places have corresponding weblinks and he has visited many of the places personally. A quick look at some of the Texas locations has me itching for a roadtrip. With gas so cheap, we could even afford it!

The embedded Google Map below may not be displaying correctly, a problem on Google's part. This KML link can be opened in Google Earth and will properly display the locations that Narrow Larry has kindly placed for all to see.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dead Pope Tuesday: Pontiffs at the National Funeral History Museum

Opening on Tuesday, the National Funeral History Museum will be exhibiting “Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes.” I might have to go if only to see who else would be seeing a Dead Pope Show on its opening day. I hope they have a Pope Formosa display (who was exhumed for a post-death trial - found guilty). Now that would be worth seeing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dead Pope Is Installed In Funeral Museum - Trunkations

Bars For My Birthday: Houston Recommendations, Please

On December 4th I will turn Wicked Old and I'm looking for some drinking suggestions. Having a new kid means either not going out or drinking where she can join us (thank you, W. Alabama Ice House.) So, in the past we haven't been able to get our party on. I like my bars kinda divey, kinda tacky and not crazy loud. New Orleans and Vegas had some good ones, anyone with a suggestion would be helping me. Places of interest I have stumbled across in my internet searches are the following:

Notsuoh - Looks funky and promising from the Flickr pictures. But they also have bands and their MySpace page has a broken link to their show calendar. Might be a deal breaker if I can't hear my friends.

Anvil - A Google search for absinthe in Houston led to the booze blog Drink Dogma. The bloggers/bartenders on the site say they will be running a new bar named Anvil. But damned if I can find if it is open. I've never had a date with the Green Fairie and I'm itching to see what the fuss is about.