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Friday, April 18, 2003

Lone Star Millionaires- Roby’s Rubies

From Time magazine of December 16th 1996-



Battered by drought, pestilence and crashing cattle prices, tiny Roby is suddenly awash in millionaires

By S.C.Gwynne/Roby

At the precise center of Roby, Texas, on one of the town's more expensive pieces of real estate, is a crudely made sign: good used clothes 10 cents to $1. It sits in front of a faded little store and tells you everything you need to know about the economics of this dying cotton-and-cattle town. The average house here costs $30,000. The average income is barely $20,000. Everywhere buildings are boarded up, abandoned, sinking in the rust-red dirt. The population is 616 and dwindling.

The town needed a miracle. And over Thanksgiving weekend it got one. With a mixture of shock and gratitude, Roby……

-Time magazine-


So what did happen to the residents of Roby?

This week I reclaimed a yellowed press clipping whilst cleaning out the piles of trash resident in my studio: the clipping originated from a NYT page of December 1996, and stirred a lingering perception. Every now and then I wonder whether I shall partake in a lottery? My intuition rules that I will board a spaceship as soon as material conditions take a permanent nosedive..

I may be getting close..


-From the original NYT report-

ROBY, Texas- ‘We’re your typical little West Texas town, struggling real hard not to fade away,’ says Bill Brezezinski, the proprietor of of the Silver Star café on Highway 180 here. Mr. Brezezinski says this with a smile. ‘Of course though, that woman over there, she’s a millionaire. There’s another millionaire! And look! Here comes a millionaire walking into my restaurant right now!’ Roby, population 616, has 39 instant millionaires. The Texas Lottery Commission confirmed the news that a pool of struggling farmers, ranchers and store owners here hit the $46.6 million state lottery jackpot. Roby has been transformed from an economic hardship case to the town with the highest per-capita population of millionaires in America.


Was the little Texas Town hit by the jackpot or struck by a media tornado? Minutes from the Texas Lottery' online ‘Milestones’ section, permit a quick look into some of the lottery’s winners whose lives and fate may have fundamentally changed after they struck gold. This section gives an overview of the main events, the winners and highlights of every year since the Texas Lottery has been in existence.


December 20- A Lotto Texas ticket for a $13 million jackpot expires at midnight after not being claimed within the 180-day time period. The Quick Pick ticket was bought in Humble for the June 23, 2001, drawing. The player(s) chose the Cash Value Option, which would have paid out $7.3 million. It is the second time in the lottery's history that a jackpot has gone unclaimed.


November 10- The largest Lotto Texas jackpot to date in calendar year 1999, $38 million, is won by Candelario and
San Juanita Garcia of Victoria. The store clerk mistakenly sold San Juanita 10 annuity Quick Pick tickets. She decided to keep them anyway.


October 15- Cisco dishwasher Fidencia Ramirez finally gets to sleep late after winning an $8 million Lotto Texas
jackpot. For the last 18 years, she had been rising at 4:30 a.m. to get to work by 6 a.m. at the White Elephant Restaurant where she purchased the ticket. She and her husband, Perfecto, move to Presidio to be closer to their children.

July 26- Using the numbers on road signs between Laredo and San Antonio, Rosa Zamora fills in a Lotto Texas
playslip and wins $6.6 million. Her husband, Jesus, quits his job at the Coca Cola plant in San Antonio, and they and their three children return to Matamoros, Mexico to start a business.

July 16- After 15 years of layoffs and business closings, Billie Harrell of Porter claims a $31 million Lotto Texas
jackpot. "I wasn't going to give up. Everyone kept telling me it would get better. I didn't realize it would get this much better," he said at his check presentation ceremony.

April 23- "The Wild Bunch," a self-proclaimed zany group of 17 mostly-retired Corpus Christi residents come to
Lottery Headquarters to collect approximately $6 million. This group of country music musicians entertain the staff, and themselves, by plucking their guitars, belting out songs, and two-steppin'.


December 18- ‘Forty-three winners from the farming town of Roby come to Lottery Headquarters to collect a $46.7
million Lotto Texas Christmas present. These friendly winners receive international media coverage - including stories in USA Today and Time magazines, and coverage on "Good Morning America" and "The Today Show."


November 12- Jean Graham's record doesn't last long. Joe Jones, a service station owner from Mansfield, wins the $54 million Lotto Texas jackpot. Says Jones: "I'll never pump another gallon of gas for the rest of my life!"

September 21- Jean Graham, a Houston nurse, matches all six Lotto Texas numbers. Graham, her husband, son and
daughter form a trust to claim a $41.8 million jackpot -the largest single prize so far in Texas Lottery history!




‘But a year after the "Roby 43" hit the $46 million Thanksgiving lottery jackpot, local farmers - winners and nonwinners - are fed up with reporters, cameras, questions and curious stares. If they see an unfamiliar car in Terry's lot, they'll turn right back around and head home.’


‘Many things did change in Roby after the jackpot, Mike Terry says, not because of the influx of income but because of the ongoing media blitz. Suddenly it was reported everywhere that Roby - now a town of "millionaires" - was a place where people left their homes unlocked and their keys in their cars. Right away, some of the old attitudes began to change, he said.
Teresa Terry, another gin employee, thought she was sneaking off one weekend a few weeks after the lottery. She left with her husband for Las Vegas, telling no one. The television news magazine "48 Hours" was there to greet her.
At a stock show just after the drawing, Kathy Terry discovered what might be in store for her family in the next year. Her children, wearing Roby, Texas, jackets, were somewhat alarmed when strangers asked permission to "touch them" for luck.
"It was kind of a wreck for a while," she said. "We had to watch the kids real close."
Long after the people of Roby have stopped talking about the jackpot, the rest of the world is still interested. Most only mention the lottery every once in a while - when they go to buy more tickets.

"Somebody somewhere has got to win this thing twice," Mike Terry said. "If it happens again, I'll move. And I'll leave an unlisted phone number."

-Gretchen Parker- Avalanche Journal


posted by Walter at 4/18/2003

Sunday, April 13, 2003

SHoP -In the mix-

This is a remix from an article in Blueprint magazine about New York based architectural design company ShoP; whose partners originate from diverse professional backgrounds. Part of the company’s success hinges on a combination of business instinct, and astute deployment of advanced 3-D computing technology- hitherto used only in cinema and aeronautics- which helped the company to establish its first design landmark: the Museum of Sex in Manhattan.


-T H E F O L D-

Contemporary Architecture has become a platform for Mind blobs- transferred into public space

Examples of such developments may be preceeded by PR bullets like-

‘It’s about a pliant link between a functionalism and an estheticism and about an inclusive
system of influences that generate a unique solution’
‘We would like to be positioned for the way that we practice rather than the buildings that we build’
‘We’re looking through a variety of lenses and strive for downhome sophistication’
‘We use esthetics and design as a method to solve problems, but it’s not about style’
‘The practical is no obstruction but a means of expression’
‘Surface and programmes all collapse into one’

-Thus ensues-

A mirage of esthetics, sawdust and power tools- wielded by Vanitas’ agile contourists-
Ready to propagate ‘New ways of thinking’ as exemplified by-

Q: ‘Does a beach need water and sand?
A: ‘No’


‘The worst thing that this building could have is a dark door that people are embarrassed to go in’

Now sit down in a corner- draw a building and feel you’ve made the grade –
Newcomers concentrate on getting a degree in finance or marketing first-

Don’t hesitate -Glass-Steel-Concrete- all can be molded- bent- and played with- by a bank of computers

-Form that does not inform-
-Progressive design for conservatives-

The powerful flex of the Maya modeler can be used for the engineering of undulating landscapes-
The sculpting of cedar planks- or the rendering of the voluptuous structural skin for -MoSEX-

/Maya Rosa

/Maya Blue

/Maya Granite

Lack of a technical degree need not be a hindrance for the three-dimensional escape plan that is the root of a
Performance space governed by an ironic, analytical and adjustable Board of Men and Women-


In the fold.


Remix from ‘Talking SHoP’ by Zoe Ryan- Blueprint- magazine for Architecture, Design & Contemporary Culture -September 2001


posted by Walter at 4/13/2003