WHAT ARE THE BEST SWAMPLOT COMMENTS YOU’VE EVER READ (OR MADE)? Here’s another request for longtime readers: Help us identify the greatest reader comments ever posted on Swamplot! Why is your help needed? A whopping 133,000 or so reader comments appeared on this site over the course of 12 years, making it tough to find all the gems. Fortunately, Swamplot’s regular Comment of the Day feature highlighted some of the best (all 1,500 or so of them, over the course of 12 years). But a lot of great comments missed their day in the spotlight for various reasons — often because too many other great choices came in on the same day. For many, absorbing the comments and back-and-forth from our diverse readership was the whole point of reading Swamplot. Can you help us surface the best, to help show why? Add your links to the comments section below, or send us your picks privately, in an email. We hope to create a more definitive list from what you gather. Illustration: Lulu
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE GREAT MONTROSE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ROUTE THINNING “The Fairview bus route replaced the streetcar line and operated for decades. Thirty years ago a significant number of people in Montrose relied on public transportation. As demographics changed, METRO decided that ridership didn’t justify some routes through Montrose. In addition to Fairview, they also eliminated the University (Hawthorne) and Alabama (actually W. Alabama) routes. It’s surprising how much of a difference there is between walking one or two blocks vs. five or more to the closest bus stop. I agree that a revived Fairview line would be convenient, and a trolley would be great. The question is, will residents of $500k townhomes willingly commit to giving up their cars? I wish they would, and think they won’t.” [Big Tex, commenting on Houston’s Vanished and Current Middle-of-the-Road Rail Networks, Close Up and Personal] Illustration: Lulu
TRUE ANOMALY IN LOCAL ROBO-JOURNALISM New sour-beer hotspot True Anomaly Brewing Company, which opened last month in the former electrical warehouse at 2012 Dallas St. just west of the main East Village campus in East Downtown (and possibly in the path of the planned expansion of I-45) “seems to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood,” declares a writeup appearing on the Houston Chronicle website. But this is not your average new-place-opening report — well, at least not yet. A note at the bottom indicates the report was “created automatically using local business data” (presumably from the Eater Houston story and 3 Yelp reviews noted in the text), “then reviewed and augmented by an editor.” The source: Local-story bot purveyor Hoodline, “a collaboration between experienced local reporters and innovative data scientists and engineers, combining the latest computational methods and tools with journalistic insights, news judgment, and thoughtful design to develop a new form of news reporting.” Hoodline has been quietly feeding stories and listicles to both ABC News and Hearst Media since last year — but you can skip the middlemen and soak up the company’s regular stream of assembled and ready-for-publication Houston auto-stories directly from this link. [Houston Chronicle; Eater Houston; Hoodline] Photo of True Anomaly Brewing Company: Charles W.
WHEN THE CAR’S JUST TOO NICE FOR THE GARAGE “It takes a little bit of maneuvering,” explains Nick, the proud owner of a blue-and-orange McLaren Senna and the reworked 1954 William Floyd bayou-side home just north of Woodway Dr. whose living room he parks it in. “I usually leave 2 cars in here. I usually have to come in,” he explains to globetrotting carhound Alex Hirschi, “drive one into the kitchen and then bring in the other one. If you would have came here last night you would have found there was a purple Porsche sitting right here and the McLaren was pulled in there — because it was raining.” Video: Supercar Blondie via KHOU 11
WEEKEND CROWDSOURCING EVENT YIELDS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM HOUSTON NEW OLD ARTIFACTS AHEAD OF ITS GRAND REOPENING Note: This story previously stated that the museum had accepted artifacts as donations over the weekend. While the museum has agreed to consider certain items further as donations, it has not officially accepted any of them yet.
Owners of Holocaust-era documents, photographs, and other Jewish WWII memorabilia made their way out to Holocaust Museum Houston’s temporary location in a Kirby Dr. office park south of 610 yesterday between noon and 5pm where curators scrutinized their belongings and — in some cases — agreed to consider them further as potential donations. If accepted, the new artifacts would help fill up the museum’s more permanent home at 5401 Caroline St., which is scheduled to reopen in June having more than doubled in size to 57,000 sq.-ft. since last year. At least 2 of its mainstay exhibits are already there: a 25.7-ft.-long German rail car like those used to carry Jews to their deaths during the war and a 37.1-ft Danish fishing boat of the type used to rescue thousands of them in 1943. After being moved over to an adjacent lot in early last year, a crane airlifted the 2 vessels back onto the grounds of the museum in May so that a new portion of the campus they belong to could be built around them as part of the expansion. [Previously on Swamplot] Rendering of museum expansion: Holocaust Museum Houston
STUDY OF GIANT UNDERGROUND DRAINAGE TUNNELS TO BEGIN ONCE COUNTY CASHES FEDERAL CHECK
Remember that massive network of underground tunnels that the county’s flood control experts said they were looking into last year as a way to drain floodwaters from at least 7 different bayous before discharging it into the Ship Channel? This week, the Harris County Flood Control District received a $320,000 federal grant that — along with $80,000 of local funds — will pay for a 4-month study to determine whether the tunnels are worth building. Of particular interest: whether Harris County’s soft soils and high groundwater table could realistically house the deep-underground cylinders, which would measure 20 ft. or more in diameter, according to the county. “If the use of tunnels is found to be feasible, future efforts could examine potential tunnel routes, complete hydraulic analyses to determine the required tunnel diameters, and determine proposed inlet and outlet shaft locations.” The 2018 flood bond program that county voters approved last August includes $20 million to pay for that work, as well as other early-stage engineering efforts for the tunnel network. [Harris County Flood Control District; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Harvey flooding near UHD: Kelsie H. Dos Santos
OFF FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY
Swamplot’s taking off today in observance of George Washington’s birthday, better known as Presidents’ Day. Come tomorrow we’ll be back at the keyboard with news from around town, and we hope you join us to digest it. Photo of Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, 5656 Kelley St.: Harris County