Moontower #116


I’m a bit more than halfway through this summer’s travels. So far we have been to Tahoe, Jupiter, Disney, DFW, and Austin. We are headed to Puerto Plata this week before our last leg in the NJ/NYC area.

I didn’t publish last week and likely won’t publish next week. Other than checking Twitter a handful of times a day, I’m pretty offline this summer. I read maybe an article a day. I’m listening to none podcasts (to borrow my 5-year olds grammar). I’m not even reading a book so any intellectual side I have is being totally starved of stimulus. Total GTL life minus the gym.

The upcoming week is always a fun one. My birthday is on the 12th and Zak is on the 13th. We actually went to the hospital for his birth on the 12th but I guess he wanted his own day. July 12th has captivated me for another reason. It is the anniversary of the horrific shark attacks that inspired Jaws. In another self-centered twist, they occurred a few miles from where I grew up contributing to my and my sister’s obsession with sharks (my sister actually went as far as tagging nurse sharks in FL for a summer job in college. She subscribes to any shark news so she pointed out a video of a Great White spotting in Jupiter two weeks before we went there in June. We hid this bit of info from the rest of the family).

The shark attacks of 1916 make sense as the inspiration for Peter Benchley’s monster which he infused with vengeful intention. From Atlas Obscura:

IN JULY OF 1916, NEW Jersey became the site of a series of vicious shark attacks that would span 12 days and take the lives of four people and severely injuring one.

With previous deadly attacks in Beach Haven and Spring Lake, New Jersey, the shark made its way north and down a freshwater creek in Matawan, New Jersey on July 12, where it would attack and kill 12-year-old Lester Stillwell and 24-year-old Stanley Fisher within an hour of each other. Matawan hadn’t prepared itself for attacks like other shoreline towns in New Jersey, as they were so far inland along a freshwater creek. 

The suspected man-eater would be caught two days later in the nearby Raritan Bay. To be sure it was the killer, the over 300-pound monster was dissected, and 15 pounds of human remains were found in its stomach.

It’s has been determined that the shark was a bull shark, the only shark that can survive in both fresh and saltwater. The incident was a heavy inspiration for Peter Benchley, who would write his 1974 novel Jaws set on Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod in the fictional town of Amity.

While it’s unclear if it’s a permanent addition, the site of the shark attack is currently marked by a painted shark. The town of Matawan also has two separate memorials to the victims.

For the full details, check out the Wikipedia page: The Jersey Shore Attacks Of 1916

It’s a great beach read in the same way that it’s fun to read about serial killers in your tent at sleepaway camp in the woods.

The Money Angle

Before vacation, I listened to fund manager Dan McMurtrie’s interview on Howard Lindzon’s podcast. It was provocative and entertaining enough for me to jot some notes.

I recommend taking a full listen. Dan is funny. And gifted at the art of troll.

To see my notes go to Dan McMurtrie with Howard Linzon (Moontower Meta)

Last Call

We’ve been up to a lot of fun stuff in Texas. Some of it will make for good discussion when I’m ready but in the meantime, I’ll just mention a few DFW places that we have enjoyed in the past couple of weeks.
  • FC Dallas MLS games

    We went 2x. For less than $40 you get amazing seats. The overall environment is fun and positive. I have never been to an MLS game before and while I know nothing about soccer, I and everyone we went with found the fan experience to be outstanding.

  • Burger’s Lake (Fort Worth area)

    We went here 2x as well (the friends we are staying with have been hosting 2 to 4 families from our NYC/CA crews the entire time we’ve been here, so we repeat activities as the revolving door requires). It’s a lake with high diving boards, water slides, a trapeze swing, and attractions catering to younger kids. Bring your own picnic or use the camping grills to make burgers. You will need to sneak booze in. On weekends they check your cooler, but we got away with it during the week. Your welcome for the tip.

  • The Stockyards (Fort Worth area)

    Also did this 2x. Step back into the history of cattle-ranching. There’s plenty of activities for kids and rows of old saloons and restaurants for the grown-ups. And if you want something less rustic, the newish Hotel Drover is a great spot to grab a ranch water (I make this drink all the time, but didn’t realize Texans have a name for it). It also looks like a fun spot for a weekend getaway with a nice pool and access to the stockyards. Time your visit to see the daily longhorn cattle drive up the main drag.

  • Deep Ellum (Dallas)

    This is an area of Dallas that reminded me a bit of Wynwood in Miami. Cool restaurants and shops (Jack White’s baseball brand Warstic is headquartered here). Plus lots of locals flexing their muscle cars (my kids are totally obsessed with cars right now especially Challengers with kits such as Demons, Super Bees, and Hellcats. Hellcats come with 2 keys, a black and a red one. The black one is the regular one. The red ones unleash the beastly Hellcat engine. These cars are built for drag racing. If Fast and Furious movies didn’t have cringey sex scenes, I’d take the boys to see F9). If you visit and dig tequila/mezcal you need to go to the Ruins. I tweeted about it.

  • Bar hopping in Dallas

    Grab a cocktail at the Mitchell, see the decor in the Adolphus Hotel, and end at the Thompson Hotel. There you can see some prettiness and pretty people at Catbird before grabbing dinner at Monarch or sushi at Kessaku. The sushi was outstanding by any coastal city standard but pricey. Sake choices were underwhelming, but the view is a consolation prize. Finally, end the night, at a ridiculously good mezcal bar hidden in a bridal store. In a strip mall. The empanadas and cocktails are lit at this tiny spot started by two bros from Mexico City. It’s called La Viuda Negra. It was better than the movie we saw of the same name last night in IMAX.

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