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Sunday

RING THOSE BELLS




You Too Can Bring Change
Ezekiel Elliot didn't seek out that Salvation Army bucket. It was right there in front of him and he didn't run around it nor did he try to avoid it. He jumped in feet first. In that one moment, he changed the perception of thousands of people who also jumped in to motivate hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.  

find out how you too can help

By J.B. Blocker
  I used to feel uncomfortable about passing Salvation Amy ‘Bell Ringers’ everywhere I would go during the holidays.     It’s not that I am ambivalent about giving. But I am discerning about who I am giving to and how the money will be used. And one other thing… I feel that giving is not seasonal.
  That all changed when I answered the call and found myself working in the ‘Red Zone’ of Ground Zero on September 24th as a Disaster Recovery Supervisor.
  Now, I look for Bell Ringers. I am grateful to each and every one of them for the time they are taking and the effort they are making for a calling that is bigger than most of us know.
  From the first time I stepped into the Salvation Army’s Main Supply and Support area located just outside of the Century 21 building and in front of the burnt out remains of Buildings 4 and 5 of the World Trade Center complex, I was a believer, fan, and supporter. Before I knew it, some ‘Proud to be Cajun’ was handing a strong cup of coffee and offering me a Po’boy.
  I left New York a few months later with a huge respect for the work of the Salvation Army and an enduring love for the staff and volunteers I have met along the way. Were ever I follow disasters from coast to coast, they are there with giant hearts to go with well-prepared teams.
  One friend I made as soon as I returned to DFW is Pat Patey, a long-time S.A. Executive. We have stayed in contact over these past 17 years. Recently I told him a story I had not shared. I immediately realized it is a story that must be told.
  I was reminded of it during a Bible study about serving humbly. Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus washed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair. You can find that story in Luke 7: 36-50.
  Also in John 13: of is the story of Jesus washing the Disciples’ feet.
  Both Bible lessons came together for me in the guise of a Salvation Army volunteer within a few short days of my arriving at Ground Zero as a Cat Super. Cat for Catastrophe!

ANGELS come in many forms

Thursday

RIP Sears! A Big Piece of American Dreams

‘The Big Book’  (1893-1993) R.I.P.
Recognizing one of this country’s greatest teachers.   By JB Blocker

The Millennials don’t know about this. Much of the GenX Generation don’t either. As an immigrant from the ‘60’s, the Sears and Roebuck catalogue was one of my best friends. It taught me America!

  The first true Sears catalogue was produced and distributed in 1893. Many others were to follow. It became an iconic lifeline of what people wanted and needed across America. If you had a mailing address, you could own anything in those pages.
  Clothing, toys, guns, farm tools, kitchen, living room, garage items, even houses, and cars stirred the imagination of families from the city streets to farms, fields, and newly discovered parts of this growing country.
  I remember in the early ‘70s listening to some old cowboys at the local pool hall in my panhandle farming community. They got into a discussion about the new Christmas catalog at the Montgomery Ward’s one day. 
  The talk started over the price of things. But the discussion moved to how they had been making their wish list from those catalogs most of their lives. Those pictures of what the world looked like outside of their world gave them reasons to save their money.
  Studying catalogs allowed America to become aware of the choices they never had before and how much money they would need to save.
  A few of those senior citizens also talked about the catalogs as a teaching tool. You could learn how to read while you were learning the value of all those items available from the pages of pictures, descriptions, and prices.
My Crash Course


Wednesday

Christmas 1942, The Rifle


by Matt Miles
It was Christmas Eve 1942. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas.
We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Daddy wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Daddy to get down the old Bible.
I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Daddy didn't get the Bible instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.
Soon he came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now he was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew he was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my coat. Mommy gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what..

Saturday

Coffee, News, Interesting People, and Tasty Treats

Romancing the Bean Series
by Caffeine Cowboy

Tales from the Old County

Coffee Cantata by Johan Sebastian Bach


  “No daughter of mine will drink coffee!” declares Schlendrian. (Stuffy in German)  “­­But father, if I don’t have at least three small cups a day, I’ll soon be as dried-out as an un-basted roast!”

  Cleverly, Schlendrian proposes, “Fine, then make your choice, a husband or coffee!”  His willful daughter seemingly demurs to her fathers restriction but with a stage-whisper tells the audience, “Any man who wishes to win my hand must first promise to supply all of the coffee I want!”

  Amused by the Parisian fad for coffee, Bach asked the famed poet and satirist Picador to write a libretto with coffee as its theme.  The story mirrored the attitude of the German elite toward women and the middle-class. Coffee was too special for the commoner and coffeehouses were no place for a lady!


  Before public music halls existed in Germany, caf├ęs attracted music lovers by sponsoring performances by collegia musica (the association of private musicians).

  From 1720 to1740, Bach performed for the public and experimented with new pieces at Zimmerman’s Kaffeehaus in Leipzig.  The Coffee Cantata was first performed there in 1734.  It was a musical and community success.

The most famous coffee snob:


Monday

Lewisville hits the Jackpot

 Music City Mall welcomes Zion Market Center
By J.B. Blocker
Lewisville wins the Asian market Lottery with the addition of Zion Market to the Music City Mall!
  With the recent acquisition of the former Sears building of the Music City Mall complex in Lewisville by Zion Market partnered with a prominent local management company, all the advantages go to the future Zion Market Center.
  
  There is an estimated 100,000 Korean population in the North Dallas region of DFW alone. Along with a significant number of Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, and Chinese, the Asian population is an economic force as well as a culinarians dream.
  
  All of these cultures are seeking a reliable source for fresh produce and complimentary supplies and services.

  The influence of H-Mart in North Dallas was a springboard for an explosion of successful Asian Centers led by the Asian Town Plaza on the George Bush and Denton Road in Carrollton.
  
  Another Korean center recently broke ground in North Carrollton off Highway 121.
But both centers are going to take an instant back seat to the advantages the Lewisville Music City Mall will offer!
  The Dallas Korean Festival will be held on Saturday, November 10th at the Asian Town Plaza. Last years attendance was estimated at 40,000 and this year promises to be an equal success.
  With a coordinated effort to speed up the development of the Plaza, The 2019 Dallas Festival is poised to be hosted by the Zion Plaza at Lewisville’s Music City Mall!

Location, Location, and Proven Management


  •    Located on the I-35 corridor between Highway 121 and the George Bush Tollway. This Asian center is easily the most accessible to significant travel.
  •    Being part of the Metro-Plex’s newly developed Music City Mall is a double advantage. Asians now have movie theatres, major nameplate retailers, and family-oriented resources to enjoy. Traditional mall goers now have new and easy access to a host of Asian dining and services.
  •    Zion has wisely partnered with The Way Management. TW Realty Advisors is credited with leading the Carrollton Asian Center to the huge success it enjoys today.
The Way Realty Advisors

  Richard Kang leads a team of local visionaries and partners who not only developed the Asian Market Center in Carrollton, but also have helped to bring many successful Asian businessmen, restauranteurs, and entrepreneurs together throughout the DFW Metro-Plex and all the way to the East Coast.
  He talks about how Kyu M. Hwang was investigating the opportunity to bring Zion Markets to North Texas. It has taken three years of considering the best options and locations to entice the prominent West Coast Asian Market chain to plant their flag in Texas.
  When the opportunity to buy the former Sears building came up, all the stars had aligned! The Way Management was established and poised to bring the 38 restaurants, retailers, and professional services to round out the Metro Plex’s most dynamic Asian concept.
  Their team was already skilled with state and local regulations and had established relationships with the local authorities. 
  Richard Kang has been a resident of Lewisville for the past eighteen years as a realtor and property manager. His team not only developed the Carrollton Asian Center but also guides Multi-Use Development projects across DFW already.
  
  I asked Mr. Kang about how this all came to be. “Throughout my experience with Mr. Hwang, I was pleased to discover many things that made our partnership an easy decision. 
  It is obvious that the Hwang family have proven to be very successful businessmen. Not only have they been courteous and very approachable, but in addition, Kyu has proven to be extremely responsive in his follow-up and always good to his word. His heart is good.
  He has proven that he cares about his employees, his community, and his associates. It has been a pleasure to be involved with such a man. I expect this project to be a great success.”


  The former Sears building is a 150,000 sq. ft. two story building with a prominent view of I-35.
  The flagship will be the 50,000 sq. ft. Zion Market on the ground level along with featured restaurants and access to family activity centers.
  The Second level will include over 20,000 sq. ft. in restaurants, retail, and professional services. A total of 38 separate business will employ over 500 full-time staff.
  It is anticipated that the Asian influence will bring an average of 30,000 shoppers per week, 120,000+ monthly, you do the rest of the math!
  The economic impact could easily bring in $150 Million dollars to Lewisville by offering an extraordinary array of options and adventures for the North Texas communities.
  Trying to calculate the impact of traditional mall goers with the opportunity to engage in Asian culture is impossible to anticipate. But given the way North Texans have embraced the foods of the Orient, this looks to be a new and exciting gateway to even more integration of cultures.

Like I said, Lewisville just hit the Jackpot!


- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

Zion, the Promised Land

Another American Dreamer
By J.B.Blocker
  Kyu Hwang, pronounced Q, was 25 when he completed his 3-year service as a Corporal in the Air Borne Division of the South Korean Army.
  Along with his father, mother, and sister, the Christian South Korean family found sponsorship to the U.S. and a brighter future. In their homeland, they were among the very poor and like many of that time, the American dream was freedom of religion and the opportunity to find work. And work he did!
  In 1978, the family arrived in San Diego. The family spoke little English and Kyu began working in the back of a kitchen washing dishes. He worked many jobs and many hours over the next three years including becoming an insurance agent for New York Life before his opportunity to make his own path presented itself in a little empty building in San Diego. The growing local market demand for Asian produce welcomed the addition to the community.

Zion: A Biblical term for The Promised Land

  Kyu and his brother-in-law started their own family grocery store in a 2000 sq. ft. location in 1981. Zion Market was born! Under his guidance and determination, by 1985 revenues reached $56,000 monthly and grew $3000 every month over the next three years. In 2000, they added another 4000 sq. ft...    By 2002, the market moved to a 30,000 sq. ft. location.

Zion Market Center 1 is now occupying a 100,000 sq. ft. The Zion Market itself takes up 60,000 sq. ft. and employs over 120 full-time staff. Its annual revenues exceed $38 million dollars! 

  The other 40,000 sq. ft. holds 38 other vendors and professional services with revenues of around $12 million dollars.
  This Korean Center has been a welcomed fixture in San Diego supporting the vast Asian community that has grown around the Naval port. The years of servicemen spending tours of duty in Asia has created a warm reception for Asian cuisine and a growing and welcomed comfortable relationship with products of the Asian culture.

San Diego has a 2018 population nearing 1.5 million and over 15% of the residents are of Asian descent.
  The same can be said of Texas and the tens of

Friday

Juan has been replaced!


The possibly true story of Juan Valdez

Romancing the Bean 
A Series Of Short Stories

By J. B. Blocker
the Caffeine Cowboy
  

 
  In a little over 1000 years, coffee has been elevated to the second most traded commodity after oil and is the most prepared beverage in the world. 
  Kaldi the Ethiopian goat herder is said to have discovered coffees kick and introduced it to monks who were able to chant and pray longer. A French Lieutenant stole a kiss and two coffee plants from Napoleon's garden and  brought it to the New World. Stories abound!
   I’ve got a long list of these stories if you’re interested. Most of them are true! At least parts of them are!
   The story I am about to share may or may not be true. No matter, it is close to my heart and carries a modern day lesson somewhere inside.

   Our story begins on a New Year’s Eve. In a small community hospital in South Texas, two young couples await their firstborns. All the while the hospital staff anxiously anticipate the race for the first birth of the New Year. Two expectant fathers pace into the midnight hour. As the town clocks strokes of midnight end and the New Year begins, simultaneous declarations of triumph announce two births!
   It is a tie! For the hospital and even the state of Texas, the firstborn pair of the new year are named Juan and Josephine. 


I'll Never Forget 9-11


'the Red Zone' click to enlarge
 I took this shot from about the 20th floor of the World Finance Center Building II on November the 1st, 2001. It's 'the Red Zone' inside Ground Zero. Smoke is still seeping out of deep pockets. The air is a fog of dust and will be for a few more weeks before the snow and rain bring the floating debris back to earth.
  Rising 400 feet above stands Big Red, the largest mobile crane in the U.S.A. It was perched on the spot that was once the World Trade Center I footprint.
  The Houston company that owns Big Red flew the American flag at its peak, just above the flag of Texas. Grapplers the size of semi-trailers worked 24/7 in the dust and haze that never goes away. In the background on the left, the skeleton that was World Trade Center 2 leans against the remains of buildings 8 and 9. From the back center to right are the burned shells of buildings 7, 6, and 5.
If you expand the photo and look closely you can see the billowing dust covering both vehicles and their operators as a grappler dumps its load into the waiting semis.