Take Me Down Little Susie

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you’re the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave
—-Rolling Stones, Dead Flowers

McKinney, Texas

A Hard Night’s Day

I am old enough, just barely old enough, to remember when the Beatles first came over to the States. Back then it was a big deal when a band, a British Invasion Band, actually crossed the pond… I’m not sure why – they had airplanes, after all.

At any rate I remember them getting off the plane at the airport in New York. We lived only a few miles north of the city then. It was covered on the evening news. I had no idea who they were… and am afraid that when I first saw them, I thought they were women. I was only seven years old and I had never seen men with hair that long.

That didn’t last long – even at my age Beatlemania swept everybody up. At that age, I remember the Beatles cartoon on Saturday Morning more than anything, but I was familiar with their music.

Oh, one other little tidbit. I remember when they flew back to England – it was like we would never see them again. Someone was talking about, “Now they are gone, there is this other band, you need to see them.” So I remember watching this “other band” on some variety show. I was too young to understand completely, but even at that age I could tell there was something different about this other band. Especially the lead singer. I didn’t know what, but I knew this guy had something … something different, something a little dangerous.

It was, of course, Mick Jagger and the Stones… and I guess I was right.

Watch this clip of the Stones from Mike Douglas… it’s pretty amazing. Check out the interview at the end (starting at about six minutes). It’s like something from another planet. The world would never be the same after this.

For someone of my age, the music of the Beatles, as much as anything else, set the stage for everything from my earliest memories up through middle school. When I hear anything from them now it brings back memories that are almost visceral, rather than the more specific memories of music that came after.

So even as something as pedestrian as a Beatles tribute band will have a reaction in my noggin’ – bring back the past in a way that’s a lot of fun.

There’s a pretty decent Beatles tribute band in the Metroplex, A Hard Night’s Day. They have been playing around Dallas for fifteen years now. They have five members, which actually makes for a more realistic, if not accurate, recreation of the sound. They usually play two sets – one of the earliest stuff from the sixties, and another of the more psychedelic later Beatles’ fare. Until you sit through one of these long concerts you forget how wide a swath the fab four cut through the music of the decades.

We’ve seen them many times and saw them again when they played on Saturday afternoon at the Cottonwood Arts Festival. It was, as always, a ton of fun and a lot of old memories for some of us and new memories for a few others.

A Hard Night’s Day

A Hard Night’s Day

Every band has their groupies.

What I learned this week, July 20, 2012

Editorial: Finding Lost Dallas

Cities should be dynamic places. The corner of Commerce and St. Paul streets, where the building that once housed the hotel still stands, is a great place to see how this works over time. When it opened in 1956, the Statler Hilton was a marvel to behold. It was home to the largest convention facility in the South. Some of the hotel’s amenities — music in elevators, a rooftop pool and televisions in every room — were trendsetting and the height of luxury.

It was also the first glass-and-metal hotel in the nation. As such, it was a precursor to the Modern movement that defines the Dallas skyline. The buildings that now seem so familiar to all of us rose from the remnants of the old downtown. When you see footage of Dallas a half-century ago, what strikes the eye is how little of it seems to be left.



Help me, I’m melting!


Shane Pennington, the artist that did the ice sculptures down in the Dallas Arts District that impressed me so much that I visited them day after day, as they melted:

First Night

Next Day

The Day After That

A couple days after that

A week and a day later

– I found a cool article about his show in Berlin – “Leaving the Shade.


The two human form sculptures, what is left of them


Not much ice left


How 8 Sci-Fi Gadgets Are Becoming Reality

A Modest Proposal: Nasher vs Museum Tower

Howard Jacobson’s top 10 novels of sexual jealousy

The 50 Best Rolling Stones Songs (in case you were forgetting….)



A while back I wrote about a Foodtruckapooza event at the remains of the old Valley View Mall. It was such a success the mall owners are trying to bring in a little business by making it a regular thing.

New Valley View owners hope to park food truck test kitchens in vacant food court stalls

It’s a fascinating story of urban devlopment, timing, and the death of a mall.

A few weeks back, the Becks rolled in more than two dozen food trucks for a fest that filled the parking lot — first time that’s happened at Valley View in a long time. Said Scott last night, the traffic jam brought in ’round 12,000, which is why the Midtown Food Truck Fest becomes a regular event beginning July 20 and scheduled for the third weekend of every month, with an indoor component that will include a beer garden.

Concurrently, they’re partnering with Jack FM to create food truck “test kitchens” in the seven empty food-court slots once populated by the likes of Sbarro, Chick-fil-A, Sonic and McDonald’s.

In two months’ time, the Becks hope to fill empty food-court spaces with food truck test kitchens.

“You will have your favorite food trucks in one location,” says Scott Beck, who notes that’s about two months off. “We won’t make those spot into national or regional vendors. We’ll have food trucks who want test kitchens for a month. They will rotate in and out — and be right there in the food court. Every food truck wants to be part of that. They think it’s interesting to do a test kitchen, because there are only so many things you can make in a food truck. This gives them the chance to do more items in an area that’s promoted.”

I think I might head down there after work today.

Some very interesting editorials about the future of energy in the US.

The Energy Revolution Part One: The Biggest Losers

Energy Revolution 2: A Post Post-American Post

Energy Revolution 3: The New American Century

While the chattering classes yammered on about American decline and peak oil, a quite different future is taking shape. A world energy revolution is underway and it will be shaping the realities of the 21st century when the Crash of 2008 and the Great Stagnation that followed only interest historians. A new age of abundance for fossil fuels is upon us. And the center of gravity of the global energy picture is shifting from the Middle East to… North America.

The One I Missed Before

It’s been almost a month since I went with my Writing Group down to the Arboretum to take some photographs of the Dale Chihuly exhibition there. I know I have posted a lot about this, put up a lot of pictures, but I’m not done yet, not by a long shot.

For father’s day, Candy bought me a year-long membership to the Dallas Arboretum – so I can go as often as I want, sit around, and maybe stare at strangers. We were talking the other day when we had gone to the Zoo to see A Hard Night’s Day – a Beatles Tribute Band – about the fact that there weren’t any Rolling Stones tribute bands. So she also bought tickets to a concert at the Arboretum by Satisfaction… a Stones tribute band.

The Dallas Arboretum is massive and maze-like. When we were there, I wondered if we had missed any of Chihuly’s stuff. In the interim, I was able to learn the layout a bit better and I slipped away from the concert several times to walk the grounds, both in the evening light and the darkness (nighttime Chihluly photographs to come).

It turns out we did pretty well, only missing one Chihuly piece. It was a beautiful one though. In the second phase of the Woman’s Garden there is a little pond full of water plants (the Pool in the Genesis Garden). The artist had placed some white glass sculptures in amongst the green lily pads and colorful blooms.

It was gorgeous.

Roku and roll

Rabbit Ears

Rabbit Ears

 I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.

—Roy Batty, Blade Runner

My father’s day present arrived in a little box yesterday – Candy bought me a Roku box.

I remember when I was a kid, people had only one television. Now, our house, a family of two when the kids are in school, has five televisions set up, plus any number of laptops (I usually watch entertainment on my laptop). Once, I told my kids we didn’t have VCRs when I was a kid (this was when we were all still watching VHS tapes – which already seems a long time ago) and they said they couldn’t imagine how anyone could get through the day. I tried to tell them that when I was a small child we didn’t even have color TV and they only looked confused, with their eyes scrunched up.

In many ways, I miss the one TV days. There were only three channels so everyone watched television together and they watched the same thing. I had a friend with a large family and I used to like to go to his house where the living room would fill up with family, friends, and hangers-on. My favorite was Saturday Night at the Movies, where second-run films would be edited, chopped up and interspersed with commercials, then sent out over the ether in glorious blurry black-and-white.

In the middle of the extravaganza would always be a Coca-Cola commercial. My friends’ mother would immediately haul herself up from the couch and stride to the kitchen for a cold bottle of Coke – The Real Thang. It was like clockwork. We would laugh but she never figured out what we were laughing about. She never knew that the commercial was sending her out for a cold, sweating bottle, either. She actually thought she was thirsty.


Since everybody across the land watched the same thing every evening there was always a discussion of the evening’s entertainment around the water coolers the next day.

In 1964, I remember when the Beatles went back across the pond. That seemed to be a big deal back then, like it actually mattered where a rock band was physically located. It felt like we would never see or hear from the adorable mop-tops again. Though I was only seven years old, I was saddened by this – it felt like an era was passing.

It seemed like only a few days later (the exact chronology is very fuzzy – I was only seven years old) another British band appeared on Ed Sullivan. There was some buzz among the adults in the room that these kids would now replace the Beatles, so I watched and paid attention. This was almost fifty years ago, but I still remember I had a glass of milk in my hand when they came on.

Right away, I was mesmerized. They didn’t have the energy of the Beatles, but there was something…, something I couldn’t figure out, something that I knew a seven year old kid wasn’t privy to, but something, something special, something somehow unsavory yet seductive about these guys, especially the lead singer.

It was, of course, the Rolling Stones, and I was right – nothing would be the same again.

You can Watch it Here. You can’t imagine the effect this had on a seven year old kid in 1964.

So now, a half century later, in this best of all possible worlds, I spent a few seconds hooking up the Roku (they aren’t lying when they say that hooking it up is simple) and the rest of the evening running back and forth from the TV to my laptop in another room carrying a series of slips of paper with passwords and setup codes until I could get the channels working (they don’t tell you about this part).

So now, we can sit down with a small pile of remote controls in the darkened corner of a back bedroom (we’ll move it to Lee’s massive TV when he goes back to school) and stream the whole world into that little box.

It’s really cool, it really is, but it doesn’t have the effect of a blurry static-besmirched Mick Jagger wriggling beneath a pair of aluminum-draped rabbit ears. It’s not the television’s fault – it’s not the technology – it’s my eyes. They aren’t seven any more. They are worn out now. They have seen too much.