Turkey Trot 2012

Every Thanksgiving for about a decade now Nick and Lee have run in the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot. I’d love to run the thing some day – but somebody has to drive the car and keep track of everybody’s stuff.

It’s a massive event – this year about 45,000 runners. There are two courses – the 5K fun run around downtown, and the eight mile timed course which goes from city hall into Deep Ellum then across the bridges into Oak Cliff and back. The kids run the eight mile course.

This makes for a very early morning on Thanksgiving – driving downtown, finding parking, walking to the start. It’s an amazing crowd – with that many runners it takes twenty minutes for everybody to get going. The fastest 5K runners are back before the end of the crowd starts the race.

Last year was cold and foggy, but the weather this time was gorgeous. We know the drill, I wait at the hill near the end to try and see the kids finish (I saw Lee, but missed Nick – with that big a crowd going by, it’s easy to miss a runner). You have to have a pre-planned meeting place (again, with that size of a crowd, cell phone service is very spotty) – most folks agree to meet at the giant inflatable turkey next to the Henry Moore sculpture… but that’s too popular – the crowd there was huge and everyone looked lost.

The crowd is massive, filling the area between City Hall and the Library, and stretching for blocks down the road.

Why is everyone looking at me? Oh, it’s the National Anthem and I’m standing under the flag.

Raise your hand if you have to use the porta-potty.

It’s a long wait at the start for everyone to get moving.

Lee took this shot on his cell phone camera of the race running out of downtown over the Trinity River Viaduct.

5K runners finishing.

Lee near the finish of the eight mile course. Mardi Gras shirt and Tulane Boxers – worn on the outside. Style is important at the Turkey Trot.


She asks me why, I’m just a hairy guy.
I’m hairy noon and night, hair that’s a fright.
I’m hairy high and low, don’t ask me why, don’t know.
It’s not for lack of bread, like the Greadful Death.
—Hair – lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni

Deep Ellum Market, Main Street, Dallas, Texas


“Stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you. I will find you!”
― James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans

F Hole Tattoo

 Logically, when you talkin’ about folk music and blues, you find out it’s music of just plain people.
—-Brownie McGhee

An F hole tattoo – A perfect back tattoo for a washtub string bass (sometimes called a gutbucket bass) player in a street band in the French Quarter.

Back Tattoo in a street band.

Playing the Gutbucket Bass and the Washboard.

My idea of heaven is a place where the Tyne meets the Delta, where folk music meets the blues
—-Mark Knopfler

Le Violon d’Ingres (Ingres’s Violin)

Man Ray
American, 1924
Gelatin silver print

“You know when I’m down to my socks it’s time for business

That’s why they’re called business socks

It’s business, it’s business time”

―— Flight of the Conchords

Swap Meet and Bicycle Porn

(Please excuse the title, but I have learned that the inclusion of the word “Porn” in a post title results in a lot more hits – a lot more)

Getting up before dawn on a Saturday off work to drive up to Frisco by 8AM is not something I usually do, unless I have to. But there was a big bicycle swap meet up on the infield of the Superdrome bike racing track and I wanted to give it a go. Since I had tickets to the Deep Ellum Brewery’s 1st Anniversary party downtown at noon – I knew I’d have to get the bicycle thing done quickly.

As I get back into riding after all these decades, I am working with two ancient bicycles. I have my Raleigh Technium road bike, which I bought around 1986, and my generic mountain bike, which I bought used a few years later. The technology used in these bikes is long out of date, but they still move when I push on the pedals, more or less.

I want a new bike, but they are so expensive. I have been thinking lately that I should be able to make do with what I’ve got. Still, I need some replacement parts and especially some accessories to help me make my way in the big city and get in the miles I want. New parts are not readily available for bikes that old and I don’t want to spend any more money than I have to – so a swap meet, where I can buy old, worn-out crap at stupid cheap prices is exactly what the doctor ordered. Since I’m now commuting to work and bumming around town – I need storage options on my bike – the more options, the more often I can work in a ride in my busy schedule.

It was cold as the sun peeked up over the steep bank of the Superdrome Track but once it did the day warmed quickly. I walked the circuit, looking at the tables, and slowly picking out what I wanted and what I could afford.

So what did I buy?

Vintage Raleigh Seat – $5
Cage Rocket Storage Pod – $5
Two matching silver bottle holders (my bike now has a pink and a purple one) – $5
Retro Profile for Speed Aero Bars (don’t need these – but always wanted a pair) – $10
New tiny cable lock (not extremely secure – but good for a quick trip into a store) – $5
Zefal Rack Pack (already finding this really useful) – $5
Bar ends (mine are all beat up from falls) – $5

Working now on getting this stuff cleaned up and installed. Now I need to get out there and ride.

Bicycle Swap Meet inside the steep walls of the Frisco Superdrome racing track.

(Click for a larger version on Flickr)

The bell for the last lap at the Frisco Superdrome racetrack.

Lots of buying and selling.

Bicycle Parts Porn

More bicycle parts porn

A beautiful bike is a work of art.

(Click for a larger version on Flickr)

First Anniversary at Deep Ellum Brewing

A Pollinator Bock on the right, Dallas Blonde (I think) on the left.

Saturday was a very busy day – in a good way. There was a lot of stuff going on, stuff I was looking forward to, and I had to pick and choose what I could get into my schedule.

First, at 8 AM, was a bicycle swap meet up in Frisco, in the infield of the Superdrome. I’m beginning to think I might be able to keep my two ancient bicycles running a bit longer, and I could use some cheap used parts and accessories.

Then, at noon, was the 1st Anniversary Party at the Deep Ellum Brewing Company – I’ll write about that today…. Then, there was a Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, which is always fun. And then Candy and I wanted to eat dinner at a place we’ve been eying – Il Cane Rosso, also in Deep Ellum.

I’m not sure exactly when I first had a Deep Ellum Brewing Company beer – perhaps it was at The Foundry, earlier this summer, or maybe at the Gingerman, or Oddfellows in Bishop Arts. This sounds a little silly, but I had almost completely stopped drinking – I simply had lost the taste for it. But I loved the beers… all the beers, from the Deep Ellum Brewing Company and really, try to restrict my patronage to establishments that sell their stuff.

Well, it didn’t take long to find our from their website that they have Saturday beer tours at their brewery, complete with tastings, live music, and cool people. It’s one of the best times in Dallas… really.

So when I read that they were having a big blowout for their 1st anniversary of operation I bought tickets in advance online, knowing that there was going to be a big crowd. I was especially excited about a new beer they were going to debut – Pollenator Bock, with real honey in it.

So once we showed up and waited in line to get our glass and chart showing the beer offerings and tap locations I immediately went to the end of the long line to get a glass of Pollenator.

I am not a beer expert, but that stuff is about the most delicious liquid I’ve ever drank. I couldn’t help but walk around with a stupid grin as I sipped it down.

Now, it isn’t for everybody. I talked to a couple of beer fans that said it was way too sweet for them . I asked them if they were “Real IPA People” and they nodded yes. That might be why I liked it so much – it doesn’t really taste like beer. You can really taste the honey in it, it’s almost sweet. It’s very complex and not like anything I’ve ever had. That’s why I loved it so much.

It’s the sort of thing you will really like if you really like that sort of thing.

What I really like about the tours at Deep Ellum Brewing is the live music. Today they had a double bill. Up first was Cody Foote, who I had seen a couple months back in the same place.

Cody Foote

Then, the O’s came out and played the place dry. I’ve seen the O’s a couple of times – first was down in the Arts District at one of the cool Patio Sessions Concerts that I love.

One of the two O’s.

The O’s must be famous, they have their portrait on the Hall of Fame Wall. And how can you not love a band that sings a song about Tietze Park?

The place was packed – maybe a little more packed than I would have liked – but they had plenty of beer taps going and everybody was having a good time.

So congratulations to Deep Ellum Brewing Company on their first year. I hope I’m able to get a growler full of that Pollenator Bock somewhere – it’s something special. The are starting to bottle now, though I still thing a tap is the only best way to drink a beer. I’m sure there will be a second and third and more and more anniversaries for the brewery – I hope they are able to stay local, though, and stay good and true to their vision.

Otherwise I guess I’ll just have to quit drinking again.

Magazine Street at Sunset

“There is something strange about agony; the memory of it can be terribly short-lived when the contrast of revival and a pretty spring afternoon have dispelled the regrets. One drink of vodka in a cheerful glass, in the company of good poetry and the scent of blossoms and earth might entice the most well intended to forgo promise of atonement until a worse time. I have at times been just less than amazed how one drink merges with the second, where at some unknown point a mental transformation sets in. I have never been able to ascertain at what point that is–not precisely–and I have been conscious of trying to catch that moment, to try and understand it, to try and prevent it from happening, or at least have a fair chance to decide whether or not to cross over into that other realm. Such an elusive thing, this is.”
― Ronald Everett Capps, Off Magazine Street

When you talk to someone that has visited New Orleans, they will tend to say, “Yeah, I’ve been there, I walked up and down Bourbon Street.” On our last trip, we spent a week in New Orleans and I never set foot on Bourbon. It’s all tourist, all the time, in a bad way. Trash tourist.

There is another street that has plenty of tourist in it, but in a good way. Magazine Street. I spent a lot of time on Magazine. Our Guest House was at Magazine and Race, not far out from downtown. But Magazine runs a long way. Decatur street in the French Quarter changes into Magazine as it crosses the neutral ground of Canal and then Magazine follows the curve of the river all the way through the Arts District, Garden District and Uptown until it pierces the gorgeous Audubon Park.

At every major cross street it holds a cluster of restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and everything else. In between are fabulous examples of the amazing New Orleans architecture, from Gothic old mansions to rows of shotgun houses.

A walk down Magazine is a great walk. Be careful, though – it is a long street. I still have memories and pains in my ankles from a stroll we took a couple years ago. Near the beginning, I turned an ankle on a bit of rough sidewalk broken pavement and then hiked too far from the car. The trip back will forever be etched in my mind as the “Magazine Street Death March.”

Magazine Street, New Orleans

 (Click to view a larger version on Flickr)

I saw a bit on television about the uselessness of a college education. The reporter wandered New Orleans interviewing bouncers, bartenders, cooks, and pedicab drivers – even a woman reading tarot cards in Jackson Square. They all had college degrees – some multiple, many graduate degrees – yet they all were working in nightlife in New Orleans. The point of the piece was how useless the college was to these poor dupes – that in spite of their education, the best they could do was work in the New Orleans nightlife.

The main thrust of the concept may be true, but the reporter was missing the whole point. The folks he interviewed were doing what they wanted to do – not a single one of them expressed regret. They didn’t want to be investment bankers, teachers, or engineers; they wanted to be a part of New Orleans, as best as they could.

I guarantee that if you interview a pack of bankers, managers, and businessmen and ask them, if they could, would they want to drive a pedicab through the New Orleans night, tell fortunes under the Cathedral in Jackson Square, or hustle for the strippers on Bourbon, and they probably won’t tell you that they would d’ruther, but there will be a long pause and a wistful look into the air. It’s all a question of who has the courage and who doesn’t.

“there was something about
that city, though
it didn’t let me feel guilty
that I had no feeling for the
things so many others
it let me alone.”
― Charles Bukowski

“Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.”
― John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

“There are only two things: love, all sorts of love, with pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans or Duke Ellington. Everything else ought to go, because everything else is ugly. ”
― Boris Vian

“I’m not going to lay down in words the lure of this place. Every great writer in the land, from Faulkner to Twain to Rice to Ford, has tried to do it and fallen short. It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words and to try is to roll down a road of clichés, bouncing over beignets and beads and brass bands and it just is what it is.

It is home.”
― Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic

“People don’t live in New Orleans because it is easy. They live here because they are incapable of living anywhere else in the just same way.”
― Ian McNulty, A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina

“Jesus just left Chicago, and he’s bound for New Orleans.”
―ZZ Top

Study in the Sculpture Garden

Woman studying on a nice day in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

(Click for a larger and more detailed version on Flickr)

A sculpture garden is a wonderful place… a well-done sculpture garden on a nice day is the best of all possible places – one where the blue sky, crystal humming air, and moving spectators become part of the exhibit and integral to the pure joy of hanging out in such a spot.

A woman sits barefoot, shoes and drink nearby with her backpack not far away, and quietly studies her notebooks in the sun. How is she not as exquisite a work of art as the famous bronzes? The curve of her back, the spherical bun of hair on top of her head, and the sun gleaming from her ankles and toes – these are the simple pleasures the great artists strive for lifetimes to come close to duplicating and have to settle for a second-rate imitation, the best they can do.

The granite chair behind her is Settee, by Scott Burton. His works blur the distinction between furniture and sculpture. I’ve always enjoyed his piece at the Nasher, here in Dallas, Schist Furniture Group (Settee with Two Chairs). I’m never really comfortable sitting on his work – it seems wrong to wear the art like that, even though that’s exactly what he intended.

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.
—-Joseph Addison

When a finished work of 20th century sculpture is placed in an 18th century garden, it is absorbed by the ideal representation of the past, thus reinforcing political and social values that are no longer with us.
—-Robert Smithson

Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump.
—-Auguste Rodin

Sculpture occupies real space like we do… you walk around it and relate to it almost as another person or another object.
—-Chuck Close

There is no substitute for feeling the stone, the metal, the plaster, or the wood in the hand; to feel its weight; to feel its texture; to struggle with it in the world rather than in the mind alone.
—-William M. Dupree

What I learned this week, November 16, 2012

Exclusive: Justin White’s ‘Rated G’ Art Show – Your Favorite Movies Reimagined As Animation Cels

In  preparation to see Skyfall at the theater, I’m watching the two previous Daniel Craig 007’s – which I haven’t seen – first. Not only that, but I rewatched the original Casino Royale, catching it on some odd cable channel – the 1967 comedy with David Niven as 007, Peter Sellers as the hero, Orson Wells as Le Chiffre, and Woody Allen as the evil mastermind. I had forgotten how much fun that silly mess was – especially the msuic by Burt Bacharach, Dusty Springfield, and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

Oh, one more James Bond thing… I’m finally reading a few of the original Ian Fleming books, starting with Casino Royale. Not surprisingly, they are very different from the films. The oddest thing is that they are told from James Bond’s point of view, and actually convey exactly what he is thinking. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the films is the fact that 007’s innermost thoughts are a complete mystery.

And, as far as the “Shaken, not stirred,” thing goes. Here’s a quote from Casino Royale:

 “A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”

“Oui, monsieur.”

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.

Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”

Oh, and here’s another quote from the same book:

It turned out that Leiter was from Texas. While he talked on about his job with the Joint Intelligence Staff of NATO and the difficulty of maintaining security in an organization where so many nationalities were represented, Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.

Ha…. Really can’t think of Daniel Craig’s 007 thinking something like that.

Which 90s Films Are Cult Classics?

I am going to this on Saturday… it is sold out. I am going to drink some of this stuff. Be jealous, be very jealous.

Great Movies With Terrible Endings

Top 10 Films That Shouldn’t Be Remade

Hot Sauce Overdose

Halloween, French Quarter, New Orleans

Tabasco, Crystal, or Louisiana

I don’t think there is such a thing as too much hot sauce, but this guy will disagree. Not even the cool Mardi Gras beads could protect him.

Notice he has all three of the Louisiana Hot Sauces… the Holy Trinity: Tabasco, Crystal, and Louisiana (Red Dot) Brand on the table in front of him. No establishment should have less.

But that means you have to choose. Life is full of tough decisions. Though I have great respect for Tabasco, and like the Red Dot, I am a Crystal man myself.

Travelin’ Light

Travelin’ Light by Alison Saar (detail), Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans, Louisiana

Travelin’ Light, Alison Saar

Travelin’ Light presents a formally dressed man, hanging by his bare feet, a powerful but dignified reference to torture and abandonment. Saar has made the figure into a bell. When the chain on its back is pulled, a sonorous sound is heard, ringing for all victims of violence and terror.

I looked at Traveln’ Light and walked around it. I read the little nameplate and the blurb in the guidemap and discovered it was a bell. I thought about reaching out to the metal chain inside the hollow of the hanged man’s head and giving it a ring, but my reticence to actually touch artworks on display was greater than my curiosity as to its sound. A few minutes later, while I was a third of the way around the little pond, some guy with a gimme cap on backwards walked up to it and was ringing away with abandon. It had a dolorous sound, not bright like a church bell, more of a dull peal.

No human beings more dangerous than those who have suffered for a belief: the great persecutors are recruited from the martyrs not quite beheaded. Far from diminishing the appetite for power, suffering exasperates it.

—-Emil Cioran