Hello Texas

December 24, 2015

IMG_5639Before the food cart drags itself up behind its vanguard aroma and I allow myself to be distracted by Jermaine Clement in ‘People Places Things’ I’ll jot a few notes in some sort of acknowledgment to penmanship I have neglected and which urgently needs resuscitating. And yes, that is ‘aroma’ which you read. It’s an experience of the senses after all, this fifteen hour haul through to Dallas, with Jefferson Airplane appropriately in my headphones,  an aromatic hint of dinner, while the seat thrums in response to the airframe being pushed through that frigid air out there.  We are on our way to Texas, a transit point on a journey through to Toronto. A year ago we were thawing out in Africa as we descended to the lush skirt  of Kilimanjaro. Now we fly to colder climes and look forward to catching up with family. And seeing places I have not seen before.   Read more

Art Deco At Fair Park

October 22, 2008

art_deco_statefair290.jpgIn an area of the US which boasts one of the most rapidly growing urban areas in the country (I understand it competes with San Diego for that dubious honour) not only are places like Frisco and McKinney keeping some grip on their heritage but so too downtown Dallas where Fair Park retains most of the buildings erected for the 1936 Centennial Exposition. Read more

McKinney is Famous for …

October 13, 2008

mckinney290.jpg…being so, well,  American. It is October. So the corn stalks are out, reminding us of harvest thanksgiving. Orange pumpkins dot the sidewalks and verandas. Halloween creeps up on us after all, and only the blind or dull and unobservant could miss these brilliant cues.  Read more

Body of Lies a Body of Lies

October 13, 2008

bodyoflies.jpgOn Sunday I sat in a movie theatre  in Texas and watched Russell Crowe, Leonardo Di Caprio and others in the recently released movie “Body of Lies”. There was something in the experience that came full circle  – or rather I should say there were a number of interesting threads that came together that afternoon. Read more

American DNA

October 11, 2008

gm_challenger290.jpgWe always say that even though we speak the same language as our American cousins we often don’t hear the same words. Which is another way of saying there are lots of things which on the surface are assumed to be the same but which are in fact very different. Read more

A Maverick Etymology

October 9, 2008

maverick290.jpgI love learning where words originate. Studying Old and Middle English at Uni was therefore a complete distraction wrapped up in a complete distraction! Sticking with the Shawnee Trail for the moment (see other entries) the city of Frisco here is building, expanding, flourishing (and otherwise ignoring the madness on Wall Street) and every piece of ground is earmarked for development. Read more

Ice Hockey is a Multi Media Experience

October 7, 2008

icehockey290.jpgWe all admire the hard physical contact sport of ice hockey for its speed and well, hard physical contact. But my inaugural attendance at this game (Dallas Stars against the Oilers (no, I had no idea who they were either – all the way down from Canada)), which I thoroughly enjoyed, was an insight into a spectator culture I believe is unique to this country and unlike anything I experience at home. Let me name the ways. Read more

“It was so quiet I could hear the dawn coming”

October 5, 2008

shawneetrail290.jpgPoetry out of the mouth of a cowboy, inscribed among other quips and observations about life on the cattle trails lifting up from southern Texas and headed for the railheads at Kansas City and else where, and eventually to the slaughter yards in Chicago and New York. It is carved into the flagstones of a memorial erected to honour the memory of the Shawnee Trail near which our hotel now sits and which is now obliterated by highways. No beef in sight except for these bronze representations and the occasional burger joint. Or two or three, it being Texas and all. But the memorial is a nice surprise – its not the cattle that are commemorated but the cowboys who over the years shifted 98million cattle north. Their sanguine, laconic observations, preserved here by someone with some foresight (and insight) have the same timbre as rustic folk the world over. “A good cook is one who keeps himself clean and shaved.” Amen to that. “Only cattle know why they stampede and they ain’t talking.”

Bigger than Texas(?)

October 4, 2008

dallassuburbia290jpg.jpgOur flight into Fort Worth is a bumpy one – it looks like a hot day in Texas. As we swing from compass point to compass point we cut over railyards, sweeping freeways, sprawling acres of warehouses and endless suburbs. I think “this is a place of endless possibilities”, an indelible impression imprinted as we seem to descend forever over this remarkable place. Read more