Static: Wednesday, June27, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Panther Trekkies

A race between sleeping panthers was slated to end June 26, with the dedication by neurosurgeon George F. Cravens of a fountain at Hyde Park, a little sidewalk pitstop near Ninth and Throckmorton streets. The fountain centerpiece is a 6,000-pound sculpted panther, blissfully sleeping on 13,000 pounds of marble. Meanwhile, another sleeping panther sculpture is receiving final touches at a foundry and being prepared for a late summer dedication near the Tarrant County Courthouse on Main Street.

Two private groups commissioned different artists to sculpt sleeping panthers, and nobody realized similar projects were under way until both were half-finished. No problem. Both sculptures are eye-catching and welcome in a city starved for public art. And both pay homage to Fort Worth’s sometimes forgotten nickname — Panther City. In the 1870s, the Dallas Herald printed a letter claiming Cowtown was so sluggish a panther was seen sleeping at noon on Main Street. The letter was intended to offend a rival city, but Fort Worth took the opposite tack and nicknamed itself Panther City, prompting a rash of businesses with Panther names.

However, there are limits to taste, and the limit was nudged a few years ago when Trekkies formed a Fort Worth chapter of STARFLEET, the international Star Trek fan association, and called themselves USS Panther City, whose mission is to achieve the “earthly pursuit of unity, brotherhood, tenets of behavior and spirit, as portrayed in the Star Trek universe.” Beam them up, Scotty — please.

How Many Does It Take?

Texas A&M University researchers, taking a break from screwing in light bulbs, are studying the different philosophies that American businesses use in training employees. An Aggie “industrial/organizational psychologist” determined that persons of higher intelligence perform better when encouraged to make errors, as a way of learning. Static’s own intelligence level is thereby confirmed, since it has had plenty of mistakes to learn from over the years (beginning with the assumption that journalism would provide a respected and remunerative career).

The Aggie psychologist’s “error encouragement” philosophy may not be news to American industry. Static can almost hear the Enron board, early on, telling Kenneth Lay not to worry, that all those accounting dodges were just learning experiences. Arthur Andersen’s document-shredding spree? A mere peccadillo — surely they’ll learn to hide the evidence better next time. Belo Corp’s nine-life-less CueCat, a $40-million boondoggle that took some worker bees’ jobs down with it? Just a signpost to more efficient corporate journalism.

Leave it to a Aggey to determine that making mistakes are a sign of intellygence.


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