Five stories that have North Texas talking: The invasion of the spider webs, Ted Cruz's talkathon vs. Wendy Davis filibuster, Big Tex as a work of art, and more.
The ultimate TED talk: While Sen. Ted Cruz may have ended his 21-hour speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday, analysis of his talkathon continues. Was the Texas Republican’s speech a waste of time or an act of political courage? KERA’s Shelley Kofler has a report. Cruz’s so-called faux filibuster continues to keep him in the national spotlight, the Texas Tribune reports. And how does Cruz’s speech compare to Texas Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster from over the summer? Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News offers some perspective on ‘a tale of two filibusters.’ “Both were long. Both energized elements of their party's political base. And both were fated to end in failure,” Slater writes. But he adds: “The big difference bet–ween the twin talkathons is that while Davis energized her party, Cruz divided his.” NPR has plenty of coverage, too.
- North Texas has spider fever: Lacey, silky spider webs covered Dallas-Fort Worth Tuesday morning – and more may be coming today. Is Charlotte coordinating the world’s biggest spider web? Actually, spiders are attempting to make their annual move for the fall – baby spiders in particular, The Dallas Morning News reports. The strands were filled with tiny spiders – and they ended up floating in the air because it was so still, Patrick Dickinson of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center told WFAA-TV.
- More on the Washington Navy Yard killer: Aaron Alexis, the government contractor who once lived in Fort Worth and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last week, was driven by delusions that he was being controlled by low-frequency radio waves, The Washington Post reports. Alexis scratched the words “End the torment!” on the barrel of the shotgun he used, the FBI said Wednesday. Other etchings on his gun included “Not what y’all say!” and “Better off this way!” In Fort Worth, Alexis had wanted to become a monk, Buddhist temple members told KERA’s Courtney Collins last week.
- Hire Calatrava? It’ll cost you: A front-page story in Tuesday’s New York Times reports that architect Santiago Calatrava — he of the ‘signature bridges’ that Dallas is building across the Trinity River — has earned a reputation for cost overruns, Art&Seek’s Jerome Weeks reports. In Spain, one politician runs a Web site called Calatravatelaclava, which loosely translates as, “Calatrava bleeds you dry.” Calatrava’s design for the train station at Ground Zero has gone from a budget of $2 billion to $4 billion. And it’s six years behind schedule. The story notes that some cities are pleased with his work – including Dallas. But the Dallas City Council voted earlier this year to increase the budget for the city’s second Calatrava bridge from $74 million to $103 million.
- Big Tex fever continues: The big guy will be unveiled at 2 p.m. Friday at Fair Park. And now he’s a true piece of art, thanks to Brian K. Jones, part of the Dallas art duo of Chuck & George. On Friday, Jones opens a show featuring the folksy cowboy. It’s called “Meanwhile … back in Dallas!” and features animations made from paintings of Big Tex. Jones is presenting a film, at 24 frames per second, made from 50 paintings. “The exhibition, part homage, part freak show, will offer many unexpected visual and sensory delights,” says the website of R02Art, which is hosting Jones’ first solo show. The gallery promises that it’s a “must-see for anyone who delights in the campy tradition of the State Fair of Texas.” Art&Seek’s Jerome Weeks has posted a cool animation. Can’t get enough about Big Tex? Brush up on his history and learn cool facts in KERA’s online Big Tex 101 series.