Saturday, April 27, 2013

Classics, #248.5

Not turning this blog into a commercial, but my buddy (name withheld to protect the not-so-innocent; avoiding wifely condemnation over cholesterol count) and I went to lunch at good ol Bellaire Broiler Burger today.

Everything about it is classic Houston ca. 1957 (Other 1957 classics:  the Chevrolet Bel Air, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, my buddy, and me!).  The burgers are only exceeded in awesomeness by the fries.  For the heart-attack-on-a-plate, get the Bellaire Special—1/2 lb hamburger with huge slabs of bacon, with a large order of double-fried fries.  Add one of their tastes-like-the-real-thing syrupy Cokes---mmmmmmmm, nirvana.

In this world of franchises and cookie cutters, I love a family-owned eatery that has stayed true to its roots.





Mmmmm—you can see ‘em broilin’.  Note slab of bacon broiling as well.  And yes, that’s my fat reflection in the window, taking the picture on the iPhone.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Love Houston—Rum and Pirates!

So today’s payday, and my routine is cast in stone.

Leave work.  Drive to Shell station.  $65

Shell station to Petco for dog food:  $55

Petco to H-E-B for me food:  $100

H-E-B to Spec’s for “sustenance”:  $35


Today’s trip to Spec’s was great!  For those not from Houston, Spec’s is this gigantic liquor store with an amazing selection.  They have a tasting bar set up as you walk in, and they always have nice folks there with samples of whatever they’re pushing that week.

I always stop by….

Today, there was a beautiful blonde, a gorgeous African American princess…and a my-age white dude.

The white dude turned out to be Mike Jakle, one of the partners who actually distills the rum he was demo’ing.  White Hat Rum, made of South Texas sugar cane, distilled in Manor, Texas (just outside Austin) (pronounced “May-nor”, not “Maaanor”).

I had a great conversation with Mike, and his rum is really excellent (I bought a bottle).  So if you get a chance, hop over to Spec’s and buy some.  Mike told me all about starting the company, searching south Texas for the “right” sugar cane, learning the distilling process, practicing, getting it perfect, designing the graphics for the bottle and the website—it was a really neat visit.  I think he did a great job with the graphics—the label has a tactile sense to it, and it’s very distinctive.  And, of course, I had some White Hat to go with it!  Very smooth. He signed my bottle for me.

So Mike, here’s to you (raises glass of White Hat on the rocks)!  Good luck in your business venture!


Having been to Spec’s and finished my rounds, I headed home.  I know one guy who bought a house in my neighborhood so he could be within walking distance of the Bull and Bear (next door to Spec’s).  I prefer to come home BEFORE having my cocktail…

On the way home, I passed this lady on a bicycle.  Probably 30’s-ish?  Had her hair piled up on top of her head—it’s already summer here, 85 degrees today, so no wonder she didn’t want that hair sticking to her as she rode.

Of course, when one goes out bike riding, one always brings one’s LARGE GREEN PARROT with one!  I mean, what self-respecting girl goes out for a bike ride without having a LARGE GREEN PARROT perched in her hair!?  A real parrot, because he/she was moving around while his/her owner pedaled.

So, Rum and a Parrot.  Where’s Johnny Depp when you need him?  And remember, Dead Men Tell No Tales!  (Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland). 

…and Austin thinks THEY’RE the weird ones! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Last Roll From the T90

When I was going through Dad’s camera equipment the other day, I discovered that the T90 still had a roll of film in it.  I then vaguely remembered borrowing it and running off a roll the year before we moved to Houston (so that would be 2006).

I managed to find a Walgreen’s that still had a photo processing facility in the store (and it looked rough—I’m sure that the very next time it needs anything, it’ll be toast).

And here they are.  These are unretouched; I didn’t use any of the photo processing tricks on them.  These were scanned.  The scans are not as good as the photos.


I always think of Simon and Garfunkel’s “My Little Town”.  It fits.  Malvern, Arkansas












Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fooling Around With “New” Lenses Today



Post Oak Blvd.


I thought the juxtaposition of shapes was interesting


Mystery Puzzle Quiz:  Where is it?


Williams Tower


Greenway Plaza


With Circular Polarizing Filter


Without Circular Polarizing Filter

Friday, April 19, 2013

I Am So Excited I Can’t Breathe!

I’ve loved photography since I was old enough to hold a camera.  I never said I was any GOOD at it, but I’ve always loved it.  My Dad (also a shutterbug) gave me the old family Kodak Brownie when he got a new one, and I played with it endlessly.  When Dad saw that I was really trying to take pictures, he started buying me film and flashbulbs.  None of those survived (fortunately).

SLR cameras came out and became affordable. Dad and I both got one at about the same time.  Canon had come out with the AE1-Program, and they had their top-of-the-line A-1.  Santa brought me an AE1-Program, and Santa brought Santa an A-1.  Dad and I were both in Hog Heaven, taking lots and lots and lots of pictures—including one that has always been a favorite:  (this is Christmas Day, 1981)


Ok, some semi-snide observations—Wowee, look at that cloud of puff-cut hair on me!  Look how MUCH hair DAD had!  The portraits on the wall are my sister and me, each at age 2, each from Olan Mills.  The mirror in which we’re taking the picture is on Mother and Dad’s dresser, which is in my bedroom now.  Dad was 58 in this picture; I am 56 now.

But, I digress.

I loved that camera, and I loved that lens.  It was a good lens, nothing special, but it was a 28-80 3.5 macro zoom.  I took many photos with that setup, and it went with me on all my travels.

Unlike me, Dad had a retirement income; then, he went to work on his third career and made pretty good money.  Ergo, he had money for some nice toys—like some nice lenses to go with his A-1.

But, tragedy struck—Mother and Dad came to visit me in Dallas.  They were bringing the suitcases in, and sometime between Dad’s last trip and his next (he having left the van door not just unlocked but open), someone zipped in and took his camera case, with his camera and all his lenses.  He was heartbroken.  The insurance company paid to replace everything, and he upgraded the Canon A-1 to a Canon T-90, but somehow that took some of the shine off it for him.

He kept that equipment all these years, even after having stopped using it.  It cost a pretty penny, and was worth something at the time.

(movie voice) Time…passes…

When Canon came out with their EOS system, they changed mounts.  This means they abandoned their loyal customer base, forcing everyone to buy all new lenses if they wanted to upgrade.  Canon made a converter, but it was both hideously expensive and not broadly available.  By that time, the digital revolution was in full swing, and the little point-and-shoots (like most people have today) had come out.  Computers had gone from room-sized to business-applications-only to “everybody’s got one” to Windows 98 to Windows XP.  Dad and I both had Canon point and shoots (we both still have them).  The T-90 and its lens family stayed in their Halliburton case in the hall closet while we all went digital.

In 2006, I upgraded to a Nikon D50 (at the time, one step under state of the art).  I paid $700 at Bedford Camera in Little Rock (you can get them on ebay now for about $70) for the camera and lens.  Most (not all) of the photos with which you’ve been inflicted on this blog (the ones I took at least) were made with this camera and lens.  I think the camera is good for what it is; the lens was always “ok”, but a temporary stop-gap till I could buy what I really wanted.  Well, what I want is STILL $900 (!!!).  I don’t have $900 for that, so it’s just got to wait.

When Mother and Dad moved from their house in Arkansas to an apartment in Texas, Dad gave me all his equipment.  By then, film had become as archaic as buggy whips, fax machines, and other technology-gone-by.  Kodak stopped making Kodachrome! 

The camera and lenses have been in my bedroom closet, untouched, for 5 years.  My old AE-1 Program was in my top dresser drawer, dusty as hell and non-working.

YESTERDAY, I discovered (I’m a little slow, but I do catch on eventually) that they make ADAPTERS so that all these old Canon FD lenses will not only fit on a Canon—they make an adapter to fit it on a NIKON DSLR!  Like, for example, my D50!

$42 and 24 hours later, the adapter was delivered to my house.  (I remain amazed that you can select something from Amazon at 5:16 pm CDT and have the item—from their warehouse in Indiana in this case—delivered to your house at 3:00 the following afternoon).

After I ordered the adapter, I went in and pulled the Halliburton case out.  The foam interior had degenerated into effectively molten goo.  The big telephoto lens had it all stuck to the side.  Oh, NO!  But, Google to the rescue—Rubbing alcohol and a soft toothbrush.  By golly, worked like a charm.

So, today, the adapter came.  I have never taken the lens off the Nikon.  I used to change out lenses all the time, but it’s been years and I was very nervous.  Afraid to get my hopes up.

Lens off, I carefully installed the adapter (insert, turn ring, “click”).  Then I got one of Dad’s favorite lenses and thought, well, here goes nothing….

Would it work?  Would it even FUNCTION after all these years????

I don’t know, you tell me!!!!  (big smile)


Ok, acid test 1 passed.  Now for acid test 2.  I went in and opened the dresser drawer and got out the trusty old AE1-Program.  Should have said DUSTY old AE-1 Program.  Cleaned it up, carefully removed my 28-80 Macro Zoom lens.  I loved that lens.  I guess I could have stood it if it didn’t work, but I was holding my breath.

It slid into my hand, and my HAND remembered how to work all the various rings—macro, zoom, focus.  Hello, old friend….


So I am thrilled to death—I’VE GOT A WHOLE NEW COLLECTION OF CAMERA LENSES!  Including one dear old friend!  (Did you miss me?  I missed you…).

Now, using these (effectively antique) lenses means NO automatics AT ALL.  I’ve had an auto-focus, auto-everything camera for a long time, and I’m going to have to study up and remember basic Photography 101.  f-stops (you have to stop down at least 3 stops to use these with the Nikon), shutter speed, light meters (my light meter still works!).  But I used to know how, and I can learn again.

So, dear reader (those few but dear ones), get ready, because I am going on a photo expedition this weekend with my new old lenses!

(And, more money to be spent; I’ve got to have a new cap for the Promaster, plus I’ve got to have multiple all-new filters, the ones I have are mostly ruined, and I’ve got to replace all that foam in the Halliburton…but what FUN!!!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Houston Code

My friend Larry Scott posted a funny bit on his facebook page, which I reproduce here in its entirety:


When giving directions in Florida , you should always start with the words, "take I-75 or take I-95..."

If you're a snowbird or a non-working retiree, you Absolutely cannot drive between the hours of 6 AM and 10 AM and 4 PM and 7 PM. This is considered to be rush hour and you're not in any rush. No exceptions.

Freeways can only go north and south. Not east and west..

Tolls are a fact of life down here, the state has to make money so deal with it!

I-275 will always be under construction... that's the Law, there is nothing anyone can do about it, period!

A1A and ALT A1A are the same streets.

Traffic lights aren't timed and never will be.

We measure the distance you travel in time, not miles.

If you travel more than 5-10 miles on any road in any part of Florida without seeing an orange 'Bob's Barricade', you're lost!

If you miss your exit on I-75, I-4 or I-275, its perfectly acceptable to back up.

Every street in Florida has both a name and a number (i.e. Adamo = 60th,) just for the hell of it and for the pleasure we get from the reaction of visitors when we give them directions.

Once the light turns green, only 3 cars can go through the Intersection, eight more go through on yellow, and 4 more on red.

Know the difference between Sun Pass , Sun Fest, Sun-Sentinel, and Sun Trust.

Flip flops, tank tops and baggy shorts are also known as business casual.

Your blinker means nothing.

English is our first and second language.

It is perfectly acceptable to brag about the size of your Generator.

We have alligators here in Florida and they WILL bite You... Don't be stupid and try to feed or pet one.

When a hurricane is headed our way, even though you have advanced warning and you are told to be prepared, you're not a true Floridian unless you wait until the absolute last minute to go to Home Depot to pick up plywood or to Publix to stock up water, ice, beer, and potato chips.

You know how to spell Okeechobee. There is an Okeechobee Blvd , Street, Avenue, Town, Lake and County.

A true Floridian does NOT own a boat. They make friends with someone who already owns one. That way you don't have to deal with any of the headaches.

You weren't born here. If you were, you're angry that everyone else moved here.

There's always a Walgreens across the street from a CVS on almost every corner - with more being built every day.

When picking up a woman on South Beach , always check for an Adams apple.

It's normal to sweat when you are putting up your holiday decorations.

There is a city called The Villages where 77,000 old people drive golf carts and dance in the streets.

Jupiter is a city, not a planet.

Seniors have to do their errands during the weekdays. Not Weeknights or weekends - that's for the working Folks.

There are three types of dolphins: Mahi-mahi, Flipper, and also one called a football team.

You can't say; 'this is how we did it up North. If you think that way, then go back. Just Remember I-95 runs both ways.

No matter what they decide in Tallahassee you will never, Ever be able to figure out your property taxes.

Learn how to dress in layers. It will be 95 degrees outside but inside any restaurant or business it's 65 Degrees.

There are three things you will need to survive a Florida Winter: A long sleeved T-shirt, sunscreen and the ability to Mock all those extremely pale' visitors' with the Bright pink ' Florida tans'

The same neighbor who smiles at you every day will be the First one to rat you out if you are violating water Restrictions.


Having laughed my ass off at that, I humbly present

The Houston Code

Directions in Houston are very simple:  whatever it is, it’s probably on Westheimer.

There are two speeds on Houston freeways:  stopped and floored.  Frequently, you can be in “floored” mode, come over a rise in the freeway, and have to instantly convert to “stopped”.  Brakes are good.

  • Corollary:  Under absolutely no circumstances should you impede somebody else’s progress.  If they are coming up fast behind you, the Houstonian way is to move over.  Failure to do so could result in your being rammed.  In the alternative, he might have a gun.  Just move over and let him go by.

The Cardinal Sin is to impede traffic.  Average speed (on all streets, roads, boulevards, country lanes, freeways, and tollways) is 10 mph over whatever the marked speed is.  If you drive slow, or if your car breaks down, or if you have an accident, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY.

We do not have access roads in Houston.  We do not have service roads.  We do not have frontage roads.  These are all for lesser Texans.  We have “Feeder Roads”.  Directions include terminology like, “Stay on the Feeder past Kirkwood, then turn right before you get to Wilcrest…”.   

We have tollways.  They are a fact of life.  We do not care whether you object to them or not.  Texas is a pay-as-you-go road construction state, it was either build them as tollways or not have them.  The thought of not having them is enough to make strong men cry.  If you are from somewhere else, or if you have a nervous breakdown about the tolls, you are welcome to traverse the (not making this one up) 77 red lights on Gessner Rd. between Beltway 8 South and Beltway 8 North.  I’ll pay the $6.80 in tolls and be there in 20 minutes.  You may or may not get there in 20 hours.

It is impossible to figure out addresses on the Beltway.  Forget it and call for directions (“Take the Beltway north from 290 and exit Gessner…”) .  “West Sam Houston Tollway North” and “West Sam Houston Tollway South” are different from “West Sam Houston Tollway”, but all are part of the “West Belt”.  Keep in mind that NOBODY calls it the “Sam Houston Tollway”, everybody calls it “The Beltway” or “Beltway 8”, but all addresses are given as “Sam Houston Parkway”.  The tollway in the middle is the Sam Houston Tollway; the feeder roads on the sides are Texas State Highway 8, colloquially called “The Beltway” or “Beltway 8”.

  • Corollary:  GPS does not work in Houston. Just call and ask for directions.  Really.

Speaking of tolls, GET AN EZTAG.  They’re cheap!  You get a discount on the toll!  It’s easily refilled!  You breeze through the EZTAG-ONLY lanes.  WTF  is WRONG with you people who don’t have one???

  • Corollary:  if you are a Neanderthal or a citizen of another country and do not wish to have an EZTAG, DO NOT block the EZTAG lanes because you flew in front of the line and wish to squeeze in.  We have guns.  We can carry them in cars legally.  We will kill you.

One more item:  Freeways here have multiple names as well.  IH-10 = Katy Freeway (the Katy TOLLWAY runs directly down the middle of the Katy FREEWAY).  That’s until you get downtown, when IH-10 becomes the East Freeway.  This is different from the EASTEX Freeway, which is US 59, which becomes the SOUTHWEST FREEWAY downtown…you get the picture. 

There are 3 circular roads around the city and they are building the fourth.  The one downtown doesn’t count.  “The Loop” means IH-610, at 5 miles out from downtown (on the west).  “The Beltway” means the Sam Houston Tollway, a.k.a. Beltway 8, at 14 miles out from downtown.  Highway 6/1960 is 20 miles from downtown.  They are currently building the Grand Parkway at 26 miles from downtown. 

The rest of the freeways are hub-and spoke.  Clockwise from due north:  North, Hardy Toll Road, Eastex Freeway, Northeast Tollway, East Freeway, Pasadena-La Porte Freeway, Gulf Freeway, South Freeway, Ft. Bend Tollway, Southwest Freeway, Westpark Tollway, Katy Freeway, Northwest Freeway, Tomball Parkway.  They all have numbers and directions, too, except for the Hardy, Northeast, Westpark, and Ft. Bend, which are all owned and operated by the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

If you want to beat the traffic in any direction, leave before 2.  No exceptions.

A red light in Houston means, “Last 3 cars go through free.”

And lastly, the more expensive the car, the smaller the penis.

Rules for Hurricanes:

  1. Immediately extinguish all smoking materials.
  2. Ignore all warnings.
  3. Wait till the last minute.
  4. Panic.
  5. Get everyone you know to panic.
  6. Get perfect strangers to panic.
  7. Make an emergency run to Home Depot, H-E-B, and Spec’s for emergency supplies.

We have two seasons in Houston:  Summer and not-summer. 

If you can’t stand the humidity, don’t bother coming here.  Seriously.  But whatever you do, don’t come here and THEN complain about the humidity.

We are all about air-conditioning. Houston couldn’t exist without it. We air-condition baseball parks and football stadiums. If you’re cold, bring a sweater.

If it rains,

  1. All streets, intersections, and low water crossings will immediately flood.
  2. All Houstonians will, as a matter of course, panic.
  3. All landlines, cable tv, uverse, etc. will instantly cease functioning, and usually the main power, too.
  4. Cell phones will be ok, UNLESS it’s a hurricane.  Then they’re gone too.

Flood control: The streets ARE the drainage system (ever wonder why the curbs here are so very tall?). If one of the great “Houston gullywashers” arrives, just stay where you are. Don’t try it.

  • Corollary: Low Water Crossings and Flood Gauges: those signs are there for a reason. They are marked to a depth of 10-12 feet. The average car is 4-5 feet tall and about 8 inches off the ground. Think carefully, even if math was not your strong suit.

We have bayous (pronounced “bi-yews”, and we don’t care how you pronounce that in Louisiana…). 

The Bayous are full of the following:

  1. Snakes
  2. Alligators
  3. Snakes
  4. Coyotes
  5. Snakes
  6. Rats
  7. There are also snakes.

Enter at your own risk…and for God’s sake, whatever you do (unless you want to actually MEET God), do NOT drink or otherwise come in contact with (in any way) the water from the Bayous.  Who knows WTF is in there?  Whatever it is, it’s unhealthy for humans.

Yankees:  We do not have basements.  We are 55 feet above sea level, and the water table is 1 foot below ground.  Deal with it.

A “Yankee” is anyone from north of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina.

We don’t care how you did it in Chicago.  Really.

Last year, Houston passed New York as the most diverse city in the United States.  We are not bilingual.  English and Spanish are just common languages we use to get by.  We have every language on the globe.  Just drive down Bellaire Blvd. between Gessner and Kirkwood, or visit any Wal-Mart.

Everybody in Houston speaks at least some Spanish.  If you don’t know any, now’s a good time to start.

We’re fat.  We have great food.  We have great bars.  Our motto is, “Never walk when you can drive instead.”

Level 3, the “Purple” level, also known as the “Parthenon” level in the Terminal B Parking Deck at IAH (Intercontinental Airport Houston, I refuse to call it “Bush”), is the exact same thing as Level 2, “Red” level, also known as “Coliseum” level in the Terminal A Parking Deck.  It’s the same floor, in the same building.  Terminal B is at one end, Terminal A is at the other.  (This is important to know, because the mere fact that you departed out of Terminal B does not in any way imply that you will RETURN to Terminal B).

If going through IAH, don’t bother asking anyone who works there for directions.  They don’t know either.  And unlike most airports, there are very few signs.

The PeopleMover in the underground transitway between the terminals is a WEDWAY PeopleMover, identical to and manufactured by Walt Disney Enterprises, just like the old one at Disney  World.  Unlike Disney World, IAH’s hasn’t been upgraded since 1969.  You find it by accident, because there certainly aren’t any signs telling you where it is.

There is no discernable pattern to the building of terminals at IAH, nor any discernable pattern to how they’re connected, nor any discernable pattern to get from one to the other (WEDWAY notwithstanding), nor is there any discernable pattern to United Airlines’ methodology of assigning gates or baggage claim areas.  All of these things are apparently random.  Those who bitch about Hartsfield in Atlanta have obviously never been to IAH.  At least Hartsfield has a discernable pattern.

Texans love to brag about the fact that the state has no state income tax—but they neglect to mention that Texas has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, while offering its citizens government services roughly equivalent to, say, Haiti.

Number of food inspectors in Houston:  1

Number of restaurants in Houston:  11,000

And there are many more of these, but that’s all we have time for today, kids.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

English is Such a Funny Language, part 438,374

It’s so interesting how some things burn “up”, while other things burn “down”.

For example:

Today, after emptying the contents of my favorite pot into a Corningware container to put in the fridge, instead of setting it in the sink (as any rational human would do), I just set it back on the burner.  Then I decided to make myself some tea, so put the kettle on.  Then turned on…the wrong burner.

So, the bad news is, I foolishly burned my favorite $100 pot UP:


This is after 30 minutes of scrubbing with steel wool and baking soda; I think it’s a goner.

The good news is, I did not burn the house DOWN.



What a funny language.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Last Post About My Recent Trip: This Didn’t Happen! did it?

So my meeting in OKC finished early, and I thought I juuuuuust might have enough time to make the 1:00 departure (next flight 6:30).  Raced to the airport, turned in the rental car at straight-up noon (I checked my watch, because I was worried about making it.  Whew.  Enough time.)

So I turn in the car, walk “purposefully” into the airport—and there were no customers at the Southwest ticket counter (a break!).  The nice ticket agent changed my flight, checked my bag, and gave me my boarding pass; I’m “A-List” so I got an “A” boarding pass, and at that point I decided to pay the $15 extra dollars for “Business Select”, not for the cocktail (though that’s nice), but so I could be one of the first ones on the plane.

Got to Security, breezed in the “A” line to the front and was next.  Went through Security as fast as I’ve ever been (there was nobody there), and walked out on the other side.

Wait—plane was BOARDING (they were all lined up) at Gate 16!?  CRAP, I thought I was doing well.  So I hurried over to assume my “A-10” position.  Checked monitor.  Um, I was scheduled on the 1:00 departure to DALLAS, because I had to change planes again.  This said, “Houston”.  I asked the lady in line next to me if this flight was going to Houston?  “Yes, it’s about 30 minutes late.”

Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I went to the Gate Agent and asked, “Sir, is there ANY way for you to get me on this flight?” and showed him my “Business Select” boarding pass.  “Sure!” he said.  “Did you check a bag on the other flight?”  CRAP.  “Yes, sir, I did.”  “No problem, they’ll get it on this flight.”  -me:  really?- “Um, sir, the plane is right there and they’ve started boarding?”  “Really, she’s good, don’t worry about it, enjoy your flight” he said, as he gave me an “A-8” boarding pass.  I walk right in front of the rest of the departing passengers,, hand my “A” boarding pass to the boarding agent, and walked on the plane.  Everybody else finished and they shut the door and we were #1 for takeoff.

Bottom line, I turned in the rental car at 12:00.  I changed my flight, checked a bag, went through security, changed my flight AGAIN, and boarded.  From wheels-in at the rental car to wheels up on the runway:  30 minutes.  30MINUTES.

When I got to Houston, I deplaned, went to the bathroom (no pants-down guys this time) and headed for baggage claim.  As I walked up, the conveyor starts and guess what’s the first thing on it? 

This guy:

my bag

Bottom line:  I was home (at my house) by 2:30 pm. 

That didn’t happen!  did it?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

An Update to My Love Field Post

Southwest has posted some pictures of the new Love Field:

The New Love Field

(snide remark:  anybody wanna make book on how long those cupholders will last?).

I mentioned the Yellow Concourse.  By 1982, it was completely deserted.  Security then was nothing like it is now, of course.  I had a new Canon AE-1 Program SLR camera (my first) and took lots of pictures.  I was wandering around Love Field one day taking snaps and wandered down the (abandoned) Yellow Concourse.  Nobody stopped me.  I went to one of the gates (they were the old pre-jetway kind, where the departure lounge was tarmac-level, and you walked through the door and out to your plane, then up the stairs.  I went into one of the lounges.  Nobody there.  I saw this plane out the window:  WHOA!  I went to the door and turned the knob—and it opened.  Unlocked.  I went out onto the tarmac and snapped this picture.  Nancy Reagan (then First Lady) was in Dallas making a speech, and her husband came with her.  This is actually one of the Airborn Command Center planes, so there must’ve been something or other going on:

AF 1

Suddenly, I was surrounded by several nice, very strong young men in black suits with earplugs, who invited me to return to the terminal—which I did posthaste.  They didn’t do anything to me, and was I ever glad!

I’ve got some severe scanning to do; in looking for this picture, I looked in an album I’ve not looked at in years.  WOW are the pictures fading!  I’m going to need to scan them, and then I’m going to need to go through the rest of the albums, otherwise they’ll fade away.

Here’s Love Field.  I turned to the right (before the young men got me) and took this one:

Love Field ca 1980

That’s the “Yellow Concourse” to the right (Inside, there were colored glazed brick walls; Yellow, Red, and Green.  Green was American, Red was Braniff, and Yellow was “all other”); the wing to the Braniff Concourse is just showing on your left.  Note the railing on top of the Yellow Concourse; that was the observation deck, where the general public could stroll and watch the jets.

Here’s a monochrome picture (again, if it’s yours and you want me to take it down, I will).  This was the first day the airport was abandoned; everything moved to DFW this day.  Walk under the “To All Planes” sign (which they have restored in the new incarnation! as well as the classic original mid-century modern Dallas Love Field sign, which was torn down in the hideous 80’s for a concrete wonder…) past the security guard on the right and the cocktail lounge on the left.  See where it splits?  You can’t see the colors, but green to the left, red to the right, yellow in the center if you keep going straight.

If you never saw it in this incarnation, but are familiar with it today (well, recently), I’ll tell you where you are:  This was, until November 2012, Security.  The area where the cocktail lounge and shop are to the left was ripped out and was the Southwest Ticket Counter the last time I was in Dallas (before yesterday).  After all the security remodels, they walled off the red and yellow concourses and you went through security here, then left down the green concourse to the American concourse—on the moving sidewalk.

Monochrome 1

To the Braniff Concourse:

To Braniff Concourse

And finally, a color picture:  Green concourse!  By golly you can find anything on teh innerwebs!  This was totally remodeled several times, but it’s the way you go to the American –now Southwest—concourse.

Love Field Slidewalk

Note also how the NEW design for the airport strips off the ugly aluminum they put on in the 80’s (rolls eyes) and restores the original 1958 colors.

Classic 1958: (the picture is actually from the “LLove” disco days, see the sign under the word “Field”?  But, it’s still wearing its orignal classic colors)

Classic Love Field

Hideous 80’s redo:

Hideous 80s redo

2014 grandeur:  It’s gorgeous and it returns the class of the original design

Love Field artist rendering but this is close

I was flying to Houston a lot during those days, and took lots of “Dallas vs. Houston” pictures.  Here’s a familiar view of Hobby:

1982:  (taken by me from the plane.  Note the old “A” concourse on the far right, and the observation deck on top of the round part (that was the swanky restaurant inside).

Hobby ca 1980

2013:  (ripped off from the internet) (note that the “William P. Hobby” neon is exactly the same—except now it works again).  The old main terminal building is now the entry hall for the airport.

Hobby new interior

One more Hobby pic made by me about the same time.  Houstonians, what’s wrong with this picture?  (Ok, I’ll tell you:  Where’s the Parking Deck?  Not built yet, that’s where).

Hobby ca 1980 wheres the deck

And a few more from days gone by:

I do have a date for these:  May 12, 1982.  That is the date Braniff was grounded forever.  I raced out to DFW with my new camera and took my last pictures of “Flying Colors”.  Braniff may have been hideously expensive, and may have fought Southwest (my favorite) tooth and nail, but they were classy and stylish, always.  (Note the American DC-10 on takeoff in the background of the second picture).

The End of Flying Colors 1 - May 12 1982

The End of Flying Colors 2 - May 12 1982

I don’t know what it is about all this that fascinates me, but it does.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

End of an Era for Me

I am posting this from the departure lounge at Dallas Love Field; on my way to OKC for business.

And, just as I typed that, something baaaaad happened--- they paged me from the podium. By name. Oops. Turns out baggage claim caught an error--my bag was headed irrevocably for El Paso. But they caught it, so hopefully it will be in OKC when I get there. It's a bad weather day; flights being diverted all over the place because of bad weather. Who knows when I'll get there...

In any event, this is my very last visit to an icon of my youth. They are doing a multi-zillion-dollar remodel on Dallas Love Field. I remember this being the "big" AirPort; being turned into a night club (!!) "LLove", then Southwest starting up.

At first Southwest used one of the "walkout" gates in the yellow concourse (the one that was never finished, that was "all other" airlines, airlines with names like Eastern and Ozark and Republic and Trans-Texas). Braniff had had their own Concourse (complete with Alexander Calder murals), and American had their own concourse, which also had a couple of Continental (then "the Proud Bird with the Golden Tail") gates.

The part of the terminal Southwest now uses, the part with which we're all familiar, is the old American Concourse. I remember when they first started using it, all the old service counters, complete with airline logos, were still there, abandoned.

In the next three weeks, the new concourse at Love Field will be ready, and Southwest will move. They will then tear down the old American Concourse, where I now sit.

56 years I've been going through here. But, the gates are small, the concourse is narrow, and it's always jammed. It has outlived its usefulness. Sometimes, old is a priceless treasure; other times, old is just...old.

So adios, old friend. Next time I come to Dallas, it will be to the new terminal.

I don't know how to caption photos on the iPhone version of blogger, so, in order:

1. The American Concourse
2. The big open area that I used to think was sooooo cool
3. The infamous gates 3, 4, and 5: the Houston gates.
4. A Southwest 737-300 in front of the new concourse (former location of the yellow concourse)
5. Update: It did not go to El Paso!!!