Monthly Archives: May 2019

Have a Great Weekend: The Anniversary Edition

A lot of anniversaries hit over the last month, mostly falling in the 30- to 20-year range, but one big one goes beyond that. On this date in 1984, I officially graduated from Lewisville High School in scenic Lewisville, Texas. (Not that I actually attended the actual graduation ceremonies: the best way to describe the dynamics was “Anton LaVey getting an invitation to the Pope’s bat mitzvah.”) I bring this up because I’m fully expecting an invitation to another class reunion any day now, and I’m looking forward to a singalong of the school’s fight song so long as everyone else remembers the lyrics:

The Texas Triffid Ranch Occasional Newsletter and Feedlot Clearance Sale -10

(The Texas Triffid Ranch Occasional Newsletter and Feedlot Clearance Sale is a regular Email newsletter, with archives available on the main TTR site at least a month after first publication. To receive the latest newsletters, please subscribe.)

Originally published on April 24, 2019

Installment #10: “Snappy Answers To Carnivore Questions”
 
By the end of April, spring is pretty much established in North Texas. The last surprise freezes and cold snaps are two weeks in the past, and we aren’t going to see any precipitation other than rain and hail for at least another six months. The temperate carnivores are either starting or finishing with blooming, and the tropicals respond to longer daylight hours with increased growth and the occasional bloom. Here at the Triffid Ranch, show season is underway: getting to an event no longer comes with the risk of everything in the truck freezing to death, and yet we haven’t hit the traditional “swimming through pools of molten concrete” heat of summer. Since we won’t see temperatures and skies like this until at least the beginning of October, we all rush out like the characters in the Ray Bradbury story “Frost & Fire,” acting as if we are born, grow to adulthood, and die of old age within seven days.
 
Because it’s show season, and because of the current boom in Dallas-area shows, a lot of people ask a lot of questions and make a lot of statements. The vast majority of these are ones I welcome and cherish: one idle conversation with a couple of Air Force airmen turned me (and subsequently a slew of friends interested in preserving them in the wild) onto a population of Sarracenia pitcher plants on the east side of the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. I’m constantly coming across improved growing methods, new techniques and technology, and fascinating new sources of everything from heat-treated flint to vacuform tables. And the questions…oh, everyone should get at least one question per week that leaves you cupping your chin and nodding “I don’t have an answer for you, but now I want to get one.”
 
Alas, while those great questions are the next best thing to a relaxing meal and 12 hours of sleep at the end of a long day at the plant table, these aren’t the only things tossed across the table. Anyone who has ever worked retail dreads that conversation from that individual who assumes that memorizing the complete dialogue to The Princess Bride or Pulp Fiction is a suitable replacement for a sense of humor, where an item at the register that doesn’t scan automatically gets a response of “Oh, I guess it’s free, then?” (The only thing worse than the dolt who laughs loudly at his own joke is the individual who’s deadly serious, especially in stores where the line to the register already runs through most of the store.) And if they don’t get a response, they keep repeating it, louder and louder, until they either get some kind of response or they flounce off, sniffing “Well, OBVIOUSLY someone doesn’t have a sense of humor.
 
The Mad magazine artist and writer Al Jaffee is probably best known for his Fold-Ins, where the inner back cover has one piece of art that has a completely different meaning when folded in half to hide the center of the illustration. However, my second-favorite feature of  his involved his “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” feature, where the reader could pick between multiple responses to a particularly dumb question. (My favorite feature always involved his Rube Goldbergesque technology solutions, such as the range of razors that used flamethrowers, neutron radiation, or contour-following microrazors that eliminated facial hair without taking out moles, pimples, or his favorite catchall phrase, “Yecch.”) One day, I may make up a set of cards to be given out to answer questions that aren’t worth the breath, but until then, here are 29 answers I want to give and one I wish I could give:
 
#1: So far as is known, there is no such thing as a man-eating plant. It’s not completely impossible, but because of a direct confrontation with the square/cube law, finding one in the future is very unlikely.
#2: No, there’s no plant that will eat your ex. I’m sure that your ex wants an answer to that very question, too.
#3: No, there’s no plant that will eat your kids. Judging by the expressions on their faces, they’re not worried about being fed to a plant, but they’re already making plans for your senior assisted living facility. I sure hope you like rats.
#4: Yes, I’ve seen the video of the Venus flytrap biting that neckbeard’s tongue.
#5: Yes, I’ve seen the video of the Venus flytrap wearing a Santa hat and beard.
#6: YES, WE’VE GOT A VIDEO.
#7: Did you know that repeatedly screaming “Feed me, Seymour!” at carnivorous plants leads to cancer of the scrotum?
#8; No, go ahead. Scream it a little louder. Just know that the tumor has to get really big before the whole scrotum can be cut or burned off, so you might want to buy a wheelbarrow in a few days.
#9: Oh, I’m sure that you’ve seen a Venus flytrap that can close so fast on your finger that it draws blood. [CITATION NEEDED}
#10: The lids on North American, Asian, and Australian pitcher plant pitchers don’t close on insects that enter the pitcher. The lids on each genus are rain guards to keep the pitcher from filling with rainwater. Once an individual pitcher opens, nothing short of scissors or a scalpel will get that lid to close again. 
#11: Oh, I’m sure that you DO know of a pitcher plant that can close its pitcher after capturing insects, and that your uncle is raising them in an undisclosed location “so his discovery won’t be stolen.” [CITATION NEEDED] Is your uncle a baron, last name of “Munchausen”?
#12: No, I’m not offended when I explain how the pitcher lid works and you wander off with your kid, telling him/her “That guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” I can only suspect that you have the same attitude toward expert advice from emergency medical techs, tax lawyers, and federal prosecutors, and that you’re going to make a large fortune by investing your 401(k) in Theranos stock.
#13: Carnivorous plants are defined by their ability to attract, capture, and digest insect and other animal prey. Please note that there’s a big difference between “attract, capture, and digest” and “control.”
#14: No, one lone Venus flytrap won’t control your housefly problem.
#15: No, one lone Venus flytrap won’t control your cockroach problem.
#16: No, one lone Venus flytrap won’t control your mosquito problem.
#17: No, one lone Venus flytrap won’t control your bedbug problem.
#18: No, one lone Venus flytrap won’t control your problem with raccoons, opossums, armadillos, fruit bats, chickens, stray dogs or cats, or kids that won’t stay out of your yard. Have you considered land mines?
#19: No, smoking Venus flytraps won’t get you high. Let your best friend Beavis test this for you if you don’t believe me.
#20: No, cannabis is not a carnivorous plant. 
#21: No, I have no interest in raising cannabis alongside the carnivores.
#22: No, there’s not “a lot of money” in raising carnivores, but that’s not why I do it.
#23: I’m actually flattered that you aren’t going to pour your retirement fund into selling carnivores because “there’s not any money in it.” Might I recommend pouring that money into Funko POP figures?
#24: Yes, I know you disapprove of anybody doing anything where “there’s not any money in it.” Might I give your kids a few helpful suggestions on senior assisted living facilities?
#25: Yes, the tags on each plant specifically states “Rainwater or distilled water ONLY.” That means that you can only water it with rainwater or distilled water in our area, because Dallas municipal water is best described as “crunchy.”
#26: No, you can’t boil tap water to make it safe for carnivores. Rainwater or distilled water.
#27: Does your bottled water read “Distilled Water” on the side? It doesn’t? Then it’s not safe for carnivores.
#28: Does your bottled water read “Spring Water” on the side? It does? Then it’s not safe for carnivores.
#29: Just because you put tap water in a bottle marked “Distilled Water” doesn’t automatically make it safe for carnivores. If educational organizations were subject to the same lemon laws as auto companies, your high school and college would have to be nuked from orbit.
#30: Wait.  You…you just made a fictional carnivorous plant reference so obscure that I haven’t come across it before. Would you like a job?

Other News

Well, some of you may have heard about the latest addition to the Triffid Ranch board of directors, but for the rest of you, you’ll find out about the new cat Simon soon enough. Yes, Alexandria finally has a chew toy of her very own to replace Leiber: the only thing aggravating about having two black cats in the house is that they both go out of their way to stalk me as I’m heading out of the house first thing in the morning. And unlike Alexandria, who is constantly amazed that my night vision is much better than that of most humans, Simon knows exactly where he can hide in deep shadow without being observed. The next few months are probably going to be full of Simon stories, as he’s a lot smarter than he lets on. Because of his habit of staring up soulfully and stage-falling at your feet, he’s already received the nickname of “Critter”: those familiar with the Clifford Simak short story “Drop Dead” will appreciate the humor.

Recommended Reading

The wait was worth it, the new Redfern Natural History book Cephalotus: The Albany Pitcher Plant is now out, and it’s no exaggeration to refer to it as the definitive guide to this oddball carnivorous plant. It’s going to come off as controversial in spots (the discussion on Cephalotus cultivars will probably set off a few bar fights), but its relatively small page count compared to other Redfern carnivorous plant volumes says more about how little Cephalotus has been studied before now. (A small note: if you want a copy, snag it NOW. Most copies were preordered, the book will not be reprinted once the current run sells out, and I suspect that the only way most people will be able to snag a copy a year from now is by staking out estate sales.)

Music

Seven words: new Hatebeak single “Birdhouse By the Cemetery“. If telling you “Hatebeak is a metal band whose lead singer is an African grey parrot” doesn’t get you to download this puppy as soon as you can, then we really don’t have anything else to discuss.

Have a Great Weekend

And where was this song last April 26?

The Aftermath: Texas Triffid Ranch Gallery Open House -May 2019

Best-laid plans and all that: after the last few blowout shows, it was time to come back home and let showgoers see the larger enclosures and talk about commissions. No huge new enclosures to debut: this was going to be a quiet open house, with no drama or outside influences. We knew that we might get some rain, but we had no idea how much rain.

Shortly before the open house started, pretty much everything in a line from South Texas to northern Iowa was blasted with a line of thunderstorms that threatened to blast everyone in its path to Oz. (Well, everyone else was hoping for Oz: I had bets on Lankhmar, Imrryr, or Ulthar.) This, of course, followed a four-year tradition of open houses and ArtWalks scheduled months in advance that coincide with flash floods, so we were prepared. Not so much the rest of Dallas: half the city faced blackouts, mostly due to falling or flying trees, and we’re still cleaning up broken beleanches, downed telephone poles (are they still used for telephone lines, I wonder?), and mudflats.

Even with all of that, it was still an enthusiastic turnout, seeing as how we still had power and thus refrigeration and air conditioning. (After a storm of this magnitude, the general air quality in Dallas is best described as “too thick to breathe, too thin for waterskiing.”) Naturally, we welcomed anybody willing to brave subsequent storms, and a grand time was had by all.

With luck, the next open house will be past storm season, although surprises aren’t unheard of. After shows at Punk Palooza in Denton on May 25 and Swizzle’s Waipuna Tiki Flea on June 15, the next open house is officially scheduled for June 29. After that, well, we’ll figure it out if I don’t wake up after the next storm in the gardens of Dhamsawwaat.

Have a Great Weekend

And May continues to go out like a lion: everyone is cordially invited to Saturday’s gallery open house, and that’s just preamble for the shows closing out May and starting up June. Meanwhile, a shoutout to everyone working in tech, where we ALL know a Bartleby…

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – Finale

With special shows, it’s all about the preparation. Oh, and the time for the preparation, which is never, ever enough with shows that keep growing every year. At the end of Texas Frightmare Weekend, there’s always a bittersweet tang of not wanting the party to end versus figuring that another two days of this intensity would probably kill us all. Well, Frightmare 2019 is over, done, swept up, and put away, and now it’s time to start getting ready for 2020. Approximately 350 days to go: that just might be enough time, if someone will kindly provide me with a vaccine for sleep. See all of you next year.

Fin.

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 8

Some people brag on the cast and crew at Texas Frightmare Weekend. Others want to join. Me, I just do my best to spoil everyone by bringing donuts for everyone on Sunday morning, when the end is in sight and they just need a little boost. It’s the least I can do.

To be continued…

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 7

The second question I’m regularly asked, after “So why are you selling plants at a horror convention?”, is “So when is Texas Frightmare Weekend moving to a new venue?” I’m not privy to any discussions as to the future for Frightmare, nor would I presume to have any knowledge one way or another, but what I can share is that the host hotel is undergoing a massive renovation that should be complete in time for the 2020 show. This thrills me for multiple reasons, as I have history with this hotel that goes back a full 30 years this month. Besides being a guest at several conventions at this hotel during my pro writing days in the 1990s, a show in 1989 was where I first met the individual who later introduced me to my wife. To blatantly steal from the comic artist Sam Hurt, it’s not so much a small world that’s folded over a lot.

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 6

Ever since the beginning, there’s always something new at the Triffid Ranch booth Texas Frightmare Weekend, and that’s very deliberate. Frightmare will always have a large selection of good beginner carnivores: as I keep pointing out, it’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to the plant to sell you a plant that requires more maintenance than you’re capable of handling. Increasingly, as regular attendees master the beginner plants, more exotic species and hybrids enter the mix: that’s the reason why two tables are necessary to show everything.

The real fun, though, is watching someone fall head-over-heels in love with a long shot. Terrestrial bladderworts are a tough sell for beginners: without a microscope or at least a good magnifier, you’ll never see bladderwort traps, even after washing the soil away, and you’ll never see the traps in operation. However, watching someone go absolutely goopy over bladderwort blooms is worth all of the effort: I brought one Utricularia calycifida “Asenath Waite” purely to show what it looked like, and had no idea as to the response. Next year, available room willing, it’s time to expand the bladderwort section.

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 5

The ongoing normalization of fandom in all of its forms is a bit of a mixed blessing. For the most part, it’s thrilling: being seen at a science fiction or horror convention is no longer a career or social liability. (In tech, that could be a liability on multiple levels: I once had a supervisor who nagged me about my not being at a local big-media show, and got angry when I told him I was having breakfast with Harlan Ellison at the time.) The only issue, especially as a vendor, is when you try your utmost to separate Day Job and show time, especially when a cheerily drunk coworker walks up and says “You look like someone in my department, but I know you’re not him!”

To be continued…

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 4

Texas Frightmare Weekend offers a lot of reasons to attend, but one of the best is the effortless community it engenders. There’s literally no telling who is going to show up, where they’re from, and what they’re looking for. Over and over, I’ve watched two complete strangers meet while discussing the plants, hit it off right then, and get into animated conversations about their other shared interests. In many cases, they’ll show up years later, still the best of friends, and I’ve even been introduced to longtime couples showing off their first children. And yet I’m still asked by people unfamiliar with the Frightmare family, “WHY would you want to sell plants at a HORROR CONVENTION?”

To be continued…

Have a Great Weekend

Out at the Garland Urban Flea this Saturday, weather willing, so I’m trying to count the number of shows and events I’m doing in a row…

EDIT: Thunderstorms are hitting the Dallas area until Saturday afternoon, so I’m having to cancel my participation in the Urban Flea on May 11. I’m going to try again in June, but glassware and high winds generally don’t mix.

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 3

Every once in a while, I’m asked “so why do you take pictures of your customers at Triffid Ranch shows?” Well, it’s for three reasons. The first is because all of you are the best customers a boy could ever want, and I know plenty of you who are just tickled to see your photos posted every year. The second because it’s even more fun to watch everyone grow up, change hair and makeup, and generally hop down the timestream. For me, as I’m on the downward slide toward 60, these are also a handy memory device. I’m not being rude when I don’t remember someone from five years earlier: it’s just I’ve probably met a few dozen thousand people and slept once or twice since 2014. With a photo archive, I can go back and exclaim “So THAT’s who you are!”

And the third? It’s funny how many people, especially at Texas Frightmare Weekend, recognize each other from the photo archives and make a point of introducing themselves at the next show. That’s me: responsible for a multistate rampage of lifetime friendships, relationships, and the occasional child. We all should be this lucky to see this happen over a decade.

To be continued…

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 2

Half of the fun in coming out to Texas Frightmare Weekend every year is being able to debut new projects at every one. This year’s Frightmare debut was the Nepenthes hamata enclosure “Z’Ha’Dum” (2019) , and bringing out this one had multiple layers of significance. The first is the most obvious: a sympathetic and very dark audience that stares inside and chuckles “Where the hell did you come up with that?” instead of backing away slowly. The second was that I’ve described the famous upper traps of N. hamata as “resembling a condom designed by Clive Barker,” and everyone at Frightmare gets it even without my having to show pictures. The third and most important reason, though? The third and most important, though, is that longtime attendees have heard me talk about constructing a new enclosure specifically to house a hamata for years, and they weren’t shocked when they came by the booth and discovered that I’d followed through. They were surprised at the backdrop, but mostly they were just thrilled to see one of the great legendary carnivorous plants of the world in close up and in person.

To be continued…

Enclosures: Z’Ha’Dum (2019)

Description: One of the El Dorados of the carnivorous plant world is the highland Asian pitcher plant Nepenthes hamata. Native to Sulawesi, N. hamata is notoriously difficult to keep in captivity, as it requires both cool daytime temperatures and a significant drop in nighttime temperature. The plant keeps attracting devotees, though, because of its distinctive traps: besides its uniquely hairy lid, the main draw involves the peristomes of its lower and upper traps. The sharp serrations on the lips of the lower pitchers are immediately noticeable, but the real draws are the upper pitchers, which bear hooks.

Dimensions (width/height/depth): 18″ x 24″ x 18″ (45.72 cm x 60.96 cm x 45.72 cm)

Plant: Nepenthes hamata

Construction: Glass enclosure. polystyrene foam, vacuum-formed plastic, found items.

Price: $500

Shirt Price: $400

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 – 1

A quick discussion about “water weight.” Anyone working with plants at any given time will relate that water weighs more than most people expect: carrying around 18-liter (5-gallon) jugs full of rainwater is a great way to build up biceps and triceps without benefit of a gym. Combine lugging tubs of carnivorous plants with severely low humidity, both in and out of air conditioning, and it’s possible to lose nearly five kilos just from sweat. At the very least, now you know why they’re called “sweatshirts.”

To be continued…

The Aftermath: Texas Frightmare Weekend 2019 -Introduction

Ten years. A solid decade ago, a hobbyist carnivorous plant grower with delusions of expansion signed up as a vendor for a fledgeling horror convention, then located just outside of DFW Airport, on the idea that “horror film and literature enthusiasts might like carnivorous plants, right?” Based on previous shows and crowds, a decent selection of beginner plants, all crammed into the back of a PT Cruiser, should get the job done, right? And at the end of three days, when packing up the literal handful of plant containers that didn’t sell, I sighed and figured “Next year, I’ll be more prepared. It can’t get any larger than this.”

That’s the story every year: coming out with my $150,000 in jelly beans to drop them at the feet of what is easily the best and most enthusiastic audience a carnivorous plant rancher could ever want. Every year, I start earlier and earlier to prepare for the crowds, and every year I run out of time when facing even larger audiences. It’s a matter of watching people who casually walked by and wondered “Who’s the weirdo with all of the terrariums?” five years ago who now run to the back of the hall first thing on Friday evening to see what’s available at this show. It’s a matter of teenagers at that first Frightmare show who come by to introduce their own kids. One of the reasons Texas Frightmare Weekend is so ridiculously successful is because of its sustained efforts to encourage a gigantic virtual family, and most of that family stops by the Triffid Ranch booth to catch up.

This year’s show…this year’s show was HUGE. At a time when national and local conventions continue to implode, Frightmare continues to grow, mostly because its founder and staff continue to push the limits of what they were told the could and couldn’t do. Most three-day shows of this sort start to wind down by noon on Sunday, as everyone checks out of the host hotel and prepares for the long car or plane trip back home. A tremendous number of Frightmare attendees, though, stay until Monday just to recuperate and commiserate, leading to jokes of how many of us would die of exhaustion if the show ran for four days. We all laugh, both because many of us know we have to go home and because most of us want the party to continue for just a little longer.

For anyone who had any questions, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Triffid Ranch will be back in 2020. Approximately 360 days until the next show…I can be ready, even if I’m already running behind.

To be continued…

Enclosures: O’Keefe (2019)

Description: The request was for a custom carnivorous plant enclosure that invoked the style of Georgia O’Keefe without plagiarizing it, and the challenge was to synthesize both O’Keefe’s skyscraper period and her New Mexico period in the context of a durable carnivore enclosure.

Dimensions (width/height/depth): 18″ x 36″ x 18″ (45.72 cm x 91.44 cm x 45.72 cm)

Plant: Nepenthes x. ventrata

Construction: Glass enclosure. polystyrene foam, vacuum-formed plastic, found items.

Price: Commission: not for sale.

Shirt Price: Commission: not for sale.

Have a Great Weekend

By the time you read this, the Triffid Ranch will be set up at Texas Frightmare Weekend, where I’ll be bumping elbows with Scott Ian of the band Anthrax. And because online writers posting listicles of songs inspired by comics characters never mention Anthrax’s tribute to the classic British character Judge Dredd, here you go.

State of the Gallery: May 2019

So there’s no State of the Gallery report for April 2019. This is completely my fault, mostly due to my addiction to gas station sushi, but I have an excuse. After a little over ten years of trying to turn the Texas Triffid Ranch into a viable and sustainable business, the last month is where things got busy. VERY busy. The show and open house calendar is now so packed that there might be a break around Canada Day.

(And as a note, you may notice that the photos in this posting are much better than average. This is deliberate: after years of doing for carnivorous plant photography what Jeffrey Dahmer did for vegan cuisine, it was time to hire a professional who could capture the look of Triffid Ranch enclosures. Allison David not only is a consummate professional, but she and I ran in many of the same circles with the same people that make Dallas so interesting and yet never ran into each other before now. Expect to see a lit of her photos in upcoming Triffid Ranch promotional material, particularly press releases and portfolios, and feel free to contact her for your own photographic needs.)

 

To start, most activities for the past two months have gravitated around getting everything ready for the Triffid Ranch’s tenth year at Texas Frightmare Weekend, running the weekend of May 3 at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport. I think the only person more shocked than I at the incredible growth of Frightmare is Loyd Cryer, the founder and grand poobah, and he has every reason to be proud of this monstrous baby of his. As I write this, the plants are potted and awaiting loading, and now all I’m doing is waiting for the inevitable potential disaster to start off what turns into a spectacular show. In 2016, it was having the truck struck by lightning as I was arriving: so what happens in 2019?

Most years, the weekend after Frightmare is dedicated to quiet introspection. Well, if lying on the floor and twitching all day Saturday is introspection, I’ll take it. However, it’s time to take a lead from the title of my most-missed 1990s-era glossy magazine and plan for the next weekend. This time, it’s a matter of putting down roots in my home town, as the Garland Urban Flea opens its may event in downtown Garland, Texas on May 11. Previously, work schedules and weather conspired against setting up a tent at Garland Urban Flea (when the National Weather Service describes the day’s weather by running clips of the Star Trek episode “The Doomsday Machine,” odds are pretty good that nobody is coming to the show unless they own a bathyscaphe, as I’ve learned to my sorrow in the past), so here’s hoping that the weather that Saturday is clement and calm. And stop laughing: Texas weather isn’t THAT bad.

The next weekend is a quiet one, right? Noooope. Because June promises to be even busier, we’re holding the next Triffid Ranch open house on Saturday, May 18 from 6:00 to closing, with the opportunity for those previously unfamiliar with the gallery to view new plant enclosures and arrangements. No theme this time: it’s all about being glad that you’re coming out to take a look.

The next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. That’ll be a weekend to relax and recuperate, right? Well, maybe on Monday, but Saturday, May 25 is dedicated to the Triffid Ranch’s first-ever show in Denton, Texas for Punk Palooza.  This is going to be a return for a lot of reasons, the least of which being in a very disturbing alternate reality, I’d be returning to the University of North Texas to celebrate the fruits of either my journalism or my Radio/Television/Film degree from UNT. Yeah, that’s an alternate reality that keeps me awake at night, too.

And after that? June 1 and 8 are reserved for private events at the gallery, but then it’s back on the road for Swizzle’s Waipuna Tiki Flea in Dallas on June 15. Those who may remember last year’s Swizzle event may remember how much fun it was even with rain and a cold front coming through, and June in Dallas is generally noted for “warm and sunny.” Besides, having several friends in the tiki bar culture gives then excuses to visit Dallas, so everybody wins.

Well, that’s about it for the next six weeks: after that, it all depends upon the weather and whether we have a reasonably mild summer or another repeat of 2011 or 1980. If the former, lots of long-range travel is in the forecast. If the latter, guess who’s getting additional air conditioning units for the gallery and stocking up on frozen blueberries?