How can you tell the difference between your common everyday rain cloud and the storm that's going to produce a tornado? Guy Webster, my elementary school classmate, knew. Walking home from school one day after classes had been let out early because of threatening weather, Guy pointed to two jet contrails crossing the sky. When two of those get together, he said knowingly, "whoosh, you got a tornado." Sounds silly now, but it was enough to make his listener sprint the last mile home. Of course, in tornado-plagued Texas, you need a bit more reliable information than Guy provided, like that available at the 2005 Texas Storm Conference. The Texas Severe Storms Association and National Weather Service are collaborating for the free conference, which will provide information on weather safety, storm spotter training and tornado meteorology. It takes place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Bob Duncan Community Center in Arlington. Visit www.tessa.org. --Patrick Williams
How Does His Garden Grow?
Ah, gardening--pushing your hands into the rich loamy soil (cutting them on a piece of broken bottle), coaxing green things from the earth (weeds), communing with nature (chigger bites). Truly, does anything in life really suck more than that? Can someone please explain the joy of gardening, particularly in a place where the mean summer temperature is 160 degrees? Maybe Neil Sperry can. The author, radio host and expert on Texas gardening holds his 2005 All Texas All Garden Show from Friday through Sunday at the Arlington Convention Center. The show opens at 2 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and features advice and lectures from experts and exhibits of hundreds of garden-related products. Visit www.neilsperry.com. --Patrick Williams
While watching the news about a month ago, I heard a voice, squeaky yet authoritative, like a preacher with two lungs full of helium. Turns out the voice belonged to 11-year-old Bre'Ana Offord, winner of the 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. I definitely would have voted for her. If I had been invited, that is. Which I was not, but I'm not that bothered by the snub. Life's too short, you know what I mean? What does this have to do with Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Avery Johnson and his appearance at SpeedZone on February 25 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. for a live broadcast? Nothing, really, except when I heard that squeaky, authoritative voice, I could have sworn it belonged to Johnson. Can't wait to hear it on the radio. If you can't make it out, tune to 103.3 FM and listen in. --Zac Crain