The first thing you
need to know about Houston is that it is a multi-cultural city
composed of many ethnic groups all speaking different languages.
Due to the many languages and our historic problem with missing
and transposed letters, today in modern Houston the phrase
“Y’all” is the probably the only word still understood by
everyone. As you remember, Yewston's problems with Language
go all the way back to the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.
Modern Day Houston, Construction of Roads is the number one form
of employment here in Yewston. This amazing phenomenon dates back
to Mr. Rose, the Chinaman who used his connections with Sam
Yewston to become famous for his great roads. Indeed Mr. Rose was
instrumental in helping Sam Yewston found and develop what we call
downtown Houston today. He became legendary as the "Yellow
Rose of Texas".
Rose eventually married a local German girl whose first name was
"Wertheimer". However Mr. Rose had trouble saying the
letter "R". After the new reporter for the Chronicle
Maxine Messinger heard Mr. Rose mispronounce her name at the wedding,
the new bride became known as "Westheimer" instead.
to Maxine Messinger's early columns, Mr. Rose was one of Houston's
first big earth movers and shakers. His major accomplishment was
building the first suburb of Houston, San Antonio, which he named
after himself, and the major street to reach it. Yes, you guessed
it, Mr. Rose named Westheimer in honor of his beautiful bride. Mr.
Rose's legacy is still felt today. After hearing "All Roads
Lead to Rome", in yet another twist of fate An Tone Rose
misheard the letter "R". He helped found downtown
Houston (as it was now spelled) and dedicated his life to the
proposition that "All Roads Lead to Home".
a result of Rose's legacy Road Construction people are considered
incredibly important. For example despite enormous inconveniences
to the vast majority of all Houstonians, Construction crews are
not said to be doing their job properly unless they close down all
lanes except one during rush hour. This is due to the fact that
through the years Road Construction workers have consistently
abused their privileged status. Ordinary people began to hate them
and would run over any Road Construction worker if given half the
chance. Well, this had to stop. However rather than try to be a
little more sympathetic to people struggling to get to work,
another strategy was seized upon instead. As a result today due to
the lane closings no car can actually move fast enough to cause
in Houston can be pretty tricky since the words “Mass Transit”
are never spoken due to an intense preoccupation with Roads by
former Mayor Bob Lanier. As the result of his inscrutable, almost
oriental ways, today Yewston is comprised almost entirely of one
way streets. This is
attributed to the famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tse who preached
about the "True One Way." As a result, the only
way to get out of downtown Houston is to turn around and start
over when you reach Dallas, Texas, a suburb of our great city that
we will probably try to annex soon like we did Kingwood.
you are new to Houston, there are many Realities that you need to
grasp quickly to ensure your safety. Most important of all, you to
need to be able to locate "Westheimer" on your map. You
need to understand that all directions start with, “Go down
is said that once people move to Houston, they never leave. One
reason for this is, like the Buddhist concept of Yin and Yang, is
that Westheimer has no beginning and no end. Westheimer is said to
span the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. This odd circumstance is
attributed to a mistake in one of Mayor Bob Lanier’s many
road-building projects to "Katy". Now it seems
"Katy" is a mythical city reminiscent to Shangri-La in
that everyone has heard of it, but no one has actually ever seen
it. Although many people are said to live there, Katy is
essentially unreachable or unfindable, although it is believed
Katy is located somewhere near the suburb of San Antonio.
Lanier was elected mostly due to his campaign promise to reach
Katy, but as they say the road to Hell is paved with good
intentions. Due to the many complex and forbidden letters here in
Yewston, it seems when a Texan says the word “Katy” and an
Asian says the word "Beijing", the words sound nearly
identical. As a result of this huge misunderstanding, the road
contractor built Westheimer straight to Beijing, which is only
slightly further west than Katy anyhow. Since the project was of
course a one-true-way street, it continued to cross Asia on its
way to Dallas. No one really minded since he brought the road in
under budget. Everyone said Katy was mostly for the birds anyway.
reason no one ever leaves Houston is they can barely get out of
their neighborhood, much less the city during Rush Hour. One
subdivision nearly starved to death recently when the city
accidentally blocked the only exit with a Neighborhood Protection
Barrier. Rescue vehicles were unable to reach the subdivision
since the construction crew also closed down all lanes.
Fortunately a mother whose child was late for a piano lesson
flattened the barrier with her two-story SUV, saving everyone.
and Veterans alike are amazed at Houston's traffic. For example,
Houston’s Rush Hour is pretty brutal. The 8 a.m. rush hour is
from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. The
5:00 p.m rush hour is from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Friday’s rush hour starts Thursday morning. Why anyone
calls it "Rush Hour" is a mystery to everyone. No one
has been able to rush for several decades. The consensus is our
Chamber of Commerce made up that slogan.
get lost in Houston with alarming frequency. Experts attribute
this partially to the fact it is impossible to go around a block
and wind up on the same street you started on. For one thing,
almost all roads either change their name every two miles or
disappear for a while and suddenly reemerge on the other side of
town. Many of these street names even change languages depending
on which ethnic group has currently gained control of the
particular neighborhood. Despite these vertigo-inducing road
phenomena, in a clever marketing slogan, the Chamber of Commerce
advertises Houston nationally as the city of many “Scenic
visitors disembarking their airplanes at Bush Intercontinental are
greeted by signs saying "Welcome to the Urban Jungle".
For a moment these tourists think they are in Kenya, especially
because no one pronounces "Yewston" the way their travel
agent did. Furthermore after a few "Scenic Drives" these
visitors are still not sure where they are because their adventures are unusually
full of perilous dead ends, maze-like turns, bizarre one-way
streets with changing names, and unexpected
barriers (Neighborhood Protection Barriers, Language Barriers). They half-expect to see Tarzan swinging from a sky scraper.
In addition there is a recent danger in Houston's Urban Jungle
that no one
managed to foresee. Recently Metro had to warn all visitors to be
careful to avoid the deadly cul de sacs. This came after many
unfortunate tourists were found starving in cul de sacs, their gas
tanks empty from hours of going round in circles during their
nothing is more frightening to the tourists than Houston's
infamous "Reversible Lanes." This is understandable
because even the "Natives" (as home-grown Houstonians
are called) find them terrifying.
Lanes are not understood by anybody. The principles of these
mysterious streets are based on the primordial Oriental force
"ContraFlow", a powerful energy first revealed by the
legendary Chinese philosopher Confuse Us. "ContraFlow"
is an anti-matter power locked in a dialectic struggle with "ConFusion",
an equally powerful force named for the great philosopher himself.
These two opposing life forces are sub-particle offshoots of Yin
and Yang, the basic forces of Existence.
As a rule these
Chinese principles are much too confusing for most Texans to fathom. Only
politicians seem to understand "ContraFlow" which is the
main reason why
we continually elect them to lead us.
let us attempt to throw some light on the matter. Essentially when
the anti-gravity Yins of "Contraflow" are aligned
properly with the gravitational pull of the Moon's Yangs, a
gracefulness and economy of motion never before imaginable in the
Western World is attained. However, when our Reversible Lane
system was first designed, the English system of measurement was
used instead of the Metric System. Since "ContraFlow" is
based on the more precise measurements of the Metric System, this enormous mistake
created distortions in the Yin Yang force field resulting in
an overabundance of "ConFusion" being created.
Tragically this elemental mistake has never been satisfactorily
a result of ContraFlow ConFusion, many people have actually been
killed in Reversible Lanes by head-on collisions!! These
horrible accidents have caused others
to become too scared to use these mysterious lanes. Confuse Us
predicted this might happen, saying it is so ironic that people
fear that which they do not understand. For another thing, drivers
simultaneously discovered that unless they worked Downtown, the
Reversible Lanes did not accomplish very much. These two facts
help explain why frequently there is only one car driving on the
Reversible Lane being watched in silent fury by thousands of cars
stuck in the regular lanes.
of the Reversible Lanes is not Houston's only phobia. Confuse Us
also wrote of the power of one rain drop to create many ripples in
the great pond of life. In yet another tragic display of fearing
that which they do not understand, Houstonians are continually
paralyzed with an irrational fear of precipitation. This
phenomenal ignorance can be partially attributed to the year-round
display of signs warning, “Danger: Bridge Slippery Due to Ice”.
These signs are kind of amusing since due to Global Warming it
never actually freezes here any more. The falling of one raindrop
or the rumored falling of one snowflake usually causes all traffic
to immediately cease for fear that a bridge has frozen somewhere.
Traffic disruptions are also caused by the change from daylight
savings time or an equally disturbing event such as a girl
applying eye shadow across the street. In addition, every passing
car must slow down to carefully examine the changing of any flat
tire. Besides rain however, nothing can stop traffic like a fender
bender. More entertaining than even the World Wrestling Federation
are fender benders. Houstonians would rather get to work late than
miss catching a glimpse of the animated arguments between the
drivers of cars that have attempted to mate. The cars, that is,
not the drivers. Gee whiz, if the drivers attempted to mate, no
one would ever get home.
Metro Bus System has been credited with creating a strange
phenomenon known as the Disappearing Houstonian. Early in the 90s,
Metro actually considered a Mass Transit system using buses. In
conjunction with our Chamber of Commerce slogan spinners, Metro
adopted the Chinese Proverb "Journey of Thousand Miles Begins
with One Step" as the marketing approach to selling bus
travel. People were encouraged to take the Step whenever "The
Bus Door Opens". If you’re standing on a corner and a Metro
Bus stops, Houstonians were encouraged to get on and go somewhere.
almost like Alien Abduction or the Bermuda Triangle, many
Houstonians simply vanished from sight in the early months of this
program. Then to everyone's surprise after several years these
MIAs started to consistently show up again here in Houston. It
turns out by mistake they got on the Westheimer bus which has kind
of a long route, especially considering all the stops it has to
make at places like Hawaii, Guam, and of course Dallas on the way
back. These people, who were gone so long they were legally
certified as dead, can be identified by the distinctive “Great
Wall of China” tee shirts that they are fond of wearing. Now
back in Houston, they quickly became popular because they are able
to read those mysterious Asian street signs in their neighborhood.
Everyone was shocked to discover the signs all said
Bus Program was started due to road building problems. By the 90s
construction on the Gulf Freeway, I-45, and all other Freeways has
become a permanent way of life and a perpetual source of
depression since no one actually ever gets anything done. It seems
by the time the road workers put down the orange cones to close
all but one lane, it is usually time for the Road Construction
Supervisors to go home since they need to leave early to beat the
traffic. Although Houston receives national praise for the beauty
and symmetry of its magnificent interlocking freeway system, it
turns out to be so highly integrated that if one car stops due to
a raindrop on I-10, cars on every other freeway must come to a
simultaneous stop as well. Since the Freeways are usually reduced
to one lane anyway, everyone eventually learns the fastest way to
get anywhere is to take any road conveniently marked by those
huge, hard-to-miss bumps in the road. Sadly the writer of this
story was unable to think of one single Chinese proverb to relate
to these bumps. So sorry.
1990s are a pivotal time in Houston's history. At this point An
Tone Rose's early road-building legacy has been embraced
vigorously by each generation of Houston politicians with Mayor
Bob Lanier and his successor Mayor Lee Brown as the most recent
advocates. By the 90s Houston has become a very large city as the
result of this continual road expansion policy. Everything about
Houston seems Big. As a symbol of Houston's endlessness, Gate One
at the Airport is built 32 miles away from the Main Concourse.
Houston is known as "Space City" for more reasons than
just NASA. One enormous problem created by the development of
Houston's vast urban sprawl is the growing trend that most
Houstonians only know their way home and their way to work. A
frightening by-product of this city-wide disorientation is that by
the 1990s no one can actually find any of their sports stadiums
any more. Attendance begins to fall and the teams all start to
leave or threaten to leave.
note of this disturbing trend, in a stroke of genius Mayor Lee
Brown makes a signature decision. After studying the writings of
his spiritual predecessor, An Tone Rose, one day Lee Brown emerges
with a stunning vision : "All Roads Must Lead to Home
Brown decides perfectly good stadiums such as the Astrodome and
the Summit/Compaq are now useless. This has a major impact on
Houston's development since it means that every single one of our
sports stadiums has to be rebuilt Downtown since this is the only
place that anyone can actually find any more. Although Houston
voters think it is a big waste of money and object to all the
stadiums, Lee Brown eventually sells his vision to the people.
However instead of two stadiums, we end up building six : one for
baseball, one for outdoor football, one for indoor football, one
for basketball, one for ice hockey since the basketball and ice
hockey team owners don't like each other, and one for a woman's
woman's soccer team meets a bizarre fate however. Due to trademark
difficulties, all the decent names for a Houston sports team are
still owned by the many franchises that have gone out of business
or moved elsewhere. In an attempt to find any nickname that will
establish a strong Houston identity, they decide to call
themselves "The Smog Princesses." However it proves to
be highly embarrassing for the women to play in their open-air
stadium wearing gas masks. Plus it is difficult to take their
shirts off over the gas masks whenever they scored. Disgusted, the
team owner quickly moves the franchise elsewhere, leaving the
gorgeous new two-billion dollar stadium completely empty.
a few bumps in the road, Mayor Lee Brown takes his vision
seriously. Houston embarks on a new frenzy of building Reversible
Lanes to Downtown, but nowhere else. This strategy is brilliant at
reviving our sports teams, especially after Mr. Brown decrees that
on game days all roads will be closed except the Reversible Lanes,
all of which lead straight to the new Stadiums.
effect on Houston's economy is phenomenal. Downtown Houston grows
and grows. Reversible Lanes are everywhere. But somewhere along
this path to success an enormous cloud begins to loom ominously
above us. They call it Smog.