Friday, May 18, 2007

2007- #6: More Texas: Dallas and Fort Worth; El Paso

Dallas: About the first thing we thought about was, of course, where Kennedy was shot. This is the Texas School Book depository. The entire sixth floor is a museum; very poignant, but they wouldn't allow pictures. Where he was shot: the X on the street doesn't have any explanatory sign. Doesn't need one.
But there's a lot more. For one thing, the oil. They had this old Mobil sign, just uncrated, and were going to put it up somewhere.Then we rode a Streetcar named Petunia (one of the others they got from Australia; that was named, naturally, Matilda)
To the Dallas Art Museum

Where they had a lot of stuff. This is by Max Ernst: The King playing with the Queen. You could think of chess of course, but of other things too.

Joan Miro's Mooncow:
Jonathon Borovsky: "Walking to the Sky". Had to really crane our necks to take it all in. The guys on the ground are part of it too.

And, the old downtown area. New Orleans is not the only city that's gotten flooded out.But apparently they learned to laugh at it a bit.Dallas is a big city, somebody told us, but Fort Worth is still a town. It is a city, of course, but there was a sort of small-towny feel to it.
If Dallas is oil, then Fort Worth is cattle. First, the Stockyards (now closed): Locomotive turntable, so the trains that came in empty could load up with cattle and go back the way they came.

Statue of Bill Pickett, credited with inventing Bulldogging a steer, and the first champion at it. He was black; apparently a fair number of them were black, the heyday of it all being right after the Civil War. Yep, they still brand the horses...
Conditions were a bit rough in the old days...

After the museum, the Buffalo Butt Bar. On the other side of the partition, in the dining room, was the front half of the buffalo. Seemed a shame to waste the other half, I guess.
Texas TaxidermyThen, the museums, which are all in this one park. The National Cowgirl Hall of Fame: Mostly rodeo riders; but Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is in it, for having grown up on a ranch and written a book about it.
Barb saying hi to T-Rex

The Kimbell Art Museum

The Amon Carter Museum specializes in Western art: After all the press they give to the guys who ride the horses, this is a kudos (Yes, being a Greek word, kudos is the singular form) for a horse:

A Grant Wood of Parson Weems, who preserved the story about G Washington and the Cherry Tree. A bit tongue in cheek - note the old head on young George.

The Fort Worth Botanical Garden: The 'EarthKind' idea is to develop roses that will grow in Texas without using a whole lot of water and fertilizer.

' Julia Child' Roses
'Hot Cocoa' Roses Wild Blue Yonder Roses (No, I don't know why they're red)
Pond with a whole lot of turtles on the rock
Cactus Garden: Prickly Pears
'Texas Horse Crippler'
A really Texas-sized Japanese Garden, including this lake

And a Zen garden

Bird statues; doesn't the real bird look a little disdainful? Then, to El Paso. Greater El Paso has about 1 million people; Juarez, across the border, has two million. A lot of them cross evey day to go to work
And a whole lot more try and (maybe) get caught. There was a border guard about every quarter-mile, plus barbed wire, the Rio Grande River and an irrigation ditch; but still a lot of them try.

A stutue in front of the main library:
A Zen-garden looking drainway for when it rains

El Paso is a rail hub. Note the flatcars: They can carry containers off ships, or by raising the platform at the end of the car, Semi trailers.
The rare and sought-after Jackalope, a cross between the jackrabbit and the antelope. There have been numerous sightings, so they say, but all of females, who of course don't have the horns...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

2007-5 Texas: Houston, refighting San Jacinto, Johnson Space Flight Center

Houston: A city that doesn't mind mixing industry with urban life (unlike some of us wimps in the Northeast). And off to the Battle of San Jacinto, arguably one of the most important in our history, since it resulted in Texas being independent instead of a part of Mexico (which could easily have happened, as we'll see).
Juan Seguin (with Barb). He led a group of Mexicans who wanted to fight with the 'Texicans'; Houston said, how will we tell you from the actual Mexicans in Santa Anna's army? Solution: the playing cards in their hats. Santa Anna wasn't all that popular, even in Mexico; he'd recently trashed the very progressive Mexican constitution and declared himself Emporer.
A big help in the war was 'The Twin Sisters', two cannon donated by the citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio. All the artillery the Texicans had. Loading up...

Getting reaqdy to fire - note guys holding their ears..
Boooom! (My brother Jim, who reenacts Revolutionary War, says there are two kinds of reenactors: Those who are interested in history and those who like loud noises.
More reenactors

The flag: Nobody seemed to know who the lady is, or why she's dressed that way...Exemplifies Freedom of some sort, I guess.
More reenactors
A bullwhipper - you see he's wrapped the whip around the legs of the man on the right, who has his little kid in front of him. Deft. Btw, the crack of the whip is not from the end of the whip hitting itself, but from the end going supersonic. Supersonics in th 19th Century.
A tomahawk thrower. They have separate tomahawk-throwing competitions, in which this guy competes.
Hawking Barbecue Sauce...

Yep, a flea circus. Of course, you pretty well have to take the guy's word as to whether the flea has actually done what he said it would...Naturally it ends up with a pitch for Chief Wahoo's Miracle Elixir.
Or, you could buy a real branding iron, with your choice of brands, and brand your own cow or horse. What fun!
A country band
with what they called a finger piano.

Texans: Juan Seguin whom we've met, Sam Houston, and in white Deaf Smith, chief of scouts and a famous Mountain Man.

Texican troops.General Santa Anna. He was 'President' of Mexico (actually dictator) eleven times - kept getting deposed and coming back; called himself the Napoleon of the West.
Mexican troops; they were mostly conscripts. But they did get to wear neat uniforms. The Mexican cannon.

They had one neat wrinkle I haven't seen before: Just after the Texas cannon fired, a charge blew up in front of the Mexican one, like a real near-miss.

The Mexican infantry firing a volley...

and the Texans.

A cavalry skirmish.

The unseen hand - he explained everything that was going on, if you happened to be near enough to the loudspeakers.

The foregoing was what happened on the first day of the battle: Mexicans fired artillery, Texans answered; Both sides advanced, fired rifle, then retreated, all at pretty long range; the cavalry skirmished inconclusively; nobody much git hurt; then both sides went into camp.

That night, Santa Anna, convinced the Texans would attack at dawn, ordered his soldiers to sleep in formation on their arms. He woke them up at the crack of dawn and had them stand in ranks. By noon, the Texans hadn't gotten up. At that point, Santa Anna decided there wasn't going to be a battle that day, so he told the soldiers to stand down (they were all dead-tired, by then) and he retired to his tent without even bothering to post sentries (By the way, having already beaten the Texans several times, he had divided his forces into four columns, of which his was the smallest).

At about 4 PM, Houston finally decided to attack. The texans advanced clear to the Mexican tent; killed apout half of them and captured the other half, losing only two men killed; and captured Santa Anna himself the next day. Hoiuston got him to send a note to the other three columns telling them to gto home. So that was the end it; Texas, after what was really a pretty near-run thing, was independent.

The final march-pasat: fifers
Texans, including one Indian

Other stuff in Houston: The Menil Museum

With shrubbery

Dinner with Barb's friend Denna (center), husband Nelson, and one of his associates (who was taking the picture).
At teh Sam Houston Homestead: Old Sam hisself.
And work of a guy I'd never heard of, John Rogers: Norman Rockwell in 3-D:"Checkers Down on the Farm"
"The next Pew" - I call it "What hymn are we supposed to be singing, anyway?"

"Visiting the Parson"
General Grant explaining his plans to Lincoln and [Secretary of War] Stanton
Othello: Cassio, Othello, SDesdemona and the snaky rat Iago off at the corner.

Lastly, the Johnson Space Flight Center (you know, "Houston, we've got a problem' and all that).

The International Space Station: One of the Russian modules

Two US modules:

Banners of some of the other pqarticipants, which include Italy, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Japan in addition to the US and Russia:

An astronaut practicing walking And a bunch of people watching him do it:
The manipulator arm, by Canada: The final version will have two identical endsw: One to attach to one of several docking points on the exterior of the ISS and the other to do work of attach itself to another point so the first one can detach and do something. Sort of like an inchworm:

The next generaqtion manipulator: It has eight legs, so naturally it's Charlotte as in Charlotte's Web:

The Space Shuttle: The pilot's station
The experimenters' station
A space meal (yum!)