Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Future is Female

Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.  This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
 
Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have often been part of feminist movements.


I think feminism means different things to different people.  To me personally, feminism means equality and freedom.  Equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunities, freedom from sexual harassment, freedom from persecution of sexual preferences.  I think feminism is about being what ever you want to be and being supported.  If you want to be a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, great!  Go for it!  If are most happiest being a stay at home mom or volunteering at your child's school, wonderful!  Raise those little humans to be great grown-ups!  I think feminism is not questioning someone else's decisions.  I've always said I've been on both side of the working mom/stay-at-home-mom fence (as well as the great "to breast feed or not to breast feed" debate) and one is not easier than the other.  You've got to do what's best for you and for your family.  Women don't need to bash other women and I hope I've instilled that in my girls.  You don't need to put someone else down to raise yourself up. 

So here we are, almost a full month into 2019 and we've had some incredible "firsts" so far this year.  It got me to thinking about where we're headed in sports, in business, life in general.  And how far we still have to go. 
 
 In case you missed it this month: 

Sarah Thomas  is an American football official from the United States, and is currently an official for the National Football League (NFL). Thomas was the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate a bowl game, and the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium. On April 8, 2015, Thomas was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history,and for the 2018 NFL season, she is on the officiating crew headed by referee Ronald Torbert. She was originally assigned officiating uniform number 153 (as seen in many photos), but currently Thomas is a down judge with the NFL officiating uniform number 53, worn in past seasons by umpire Garth DeFelice, line judge Bill Reynolds, and field judge Frank Kirkland.  
Thomas was born in 1973 in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  She attended Pascagoula High School, where she lettered five times in softball. She attended the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship and was an academic all-American.

Thomas began her officiating career in 1996, when she attended a meeting of the Gulf Coast Football Officials Association. She worked her first varsity high school game in 1999.

In 2006, Gerry Austin, Conference USA's coordinator of officials and a former NFL official, invited her to an officials' camp. Austin was impressed with her skills and hired her for the Conference USA staff.  In 2007, Thomas became the first woman to officiate a major college football game, working a game between Memphis and Jacksonville State.  Before that game, Austin said, "She came highly recommended by two NFL scouts. She has a good presence and demeanor. I feel like she has the ability and courage to make a call, and the guts to not make one, too."

During the 2009 season, Thomas was one of five female officials in major college football and the only one at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.  She was assigned to a crew and given a full schedule of 11 games. At the end of the season, she was selected to work the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl between Marshall and Ohio, making her the first woman to officiate a bowl game. Regarding her presence, Marshall running back and game MVP Martin Ward said "I noticed her before the game, but that was it. Once the game started, she was just doing the job that the line judge does in every game we play. It didn't matter that she was a woman at all."

On November 12, 2011, Thomas became the first woman to officiate in a Big Ten stadium, working as a line judge when Northwestern hosted Rice.

Thomas has officiated United Football League games, and in 2010 worked the league championship game.

In 2013, Thomas became one of 21 finalists in contention for a permanent NFL officiating position. 

Thomas worked New Orleans Saints scrimmages and was part of the NFL officiating development program, spending three days at the Indianapolis Colts minicamp.

On April 8, 2015, the NFL officially announced that Thomas would become the first permanent female official in NFL history. Thomas made her NFL regular season debut in a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 13, 2015, as part of Pete Morelli's crew as the line judge.

In 2017, Thomas moved to the down judge position. The change in the position name from head linesman coincided with the move in order to use a gender-neutral term. 

Thomas is the first woman to earn an on-field assignment for a playoff game. She was named to the crew for the game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers on January 13, 2019.  She was an alternate for the 2018 Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams Wild Card game.


NHL 2019 All-Star Competition
The Skills Competition took place the day before the All-Star Game on Friday January 25, 2019 at the SAP Center. The winners of each event were awarded $25,000 in prize money.  The league invited Renata Fast and Rebecca Johnston from the Canadian Women's National Team, and Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne Schofield from the U.S. Women's National Team, to demonstrate some of the events. After Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche (Central Division) pulled out of the fastest-skater event due to a bruised left foot, Coyne Schofield was named as his replacement, becoming the first woman to compete in the All-Stars skills competition.
Brianna Decker demonstrated the premier passer skill, but she was not part of the competition. She was, in fact, three seconds faster than Leon Draisaitl and would have won had her time been included as they did with Kendall Coyne Schofield.  This prompted the hashtag #PayDecker on Twitter, as women's hockey salaries are a fraction of men's hockey salaries.  On January 26, hockey equipment company CCM announced they would give Decker the $25,000 she would have received for winning the competition.

 
Super Bowl LIII
History will be made Sunday night at Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, but it will happen on the sidelines, not on the field.

That's where you'll spot Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams. 
 
Peron and Jinnies will be the first male cheerleaders at the Super Bowl in NFL history, cheering for the Rams alongside their female counterparts. The men already made history at the start of this season when they -- along with dancer Jesse Hernandez of the New Orleans Saints' cheerleading squad -- became the first male cheerleaders in league history.
 
In a tweet last week after his Rams secured a spot in the big game, Peron sent out a shout out to his squadmate:  "Napoleon, you think Atlanta is ready for us?" Peron tweeted. "NAHHHHHH. We're going to the Super Bowl!"
 
The men, both dancers, made the Rams cheerleading squad back in March. Jinnies called making the team a "humbling and amazing" experience. Peron said there wasn't a good reason for him not to try out for the squad.
 
"I was at (an L.A.) Lakers game (right before making the team) and I was watching the Laker Girls," Peron told "Good Morning America" last summer, "and I was asking myself, 'Why can't I be down there?' I've choreographed for girls who dance on pro teams, I've danced with girls on various pro teams. I just thought, 'why not me?'"
 
Other teams, like the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, have had stuntmen before, USA Today reported, but Peron and Jinnies danced alongside their female teammates and did the same moves during the season.
 
Peron and Jinnies' success inspired 25-year-old Jesse Hernandez to try out for the New Orleans Saints' Saintsations cheerleading team.
 
He told CNN affiliate KATC that his mom sent him a link with their story.  "She told me it was my time to shine," he said in a video posted before his final audition.
 

And then we have this bullshit.  Which, sadly, is not the first time this has happened nor will it be the last. 

The Bachelor
Caelyn, who is competing for Colton Underwood’s heart on season 23 of The Bachelor, was sexually assaulted during her sophomore year at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The 23-year-old Miss North Carolina USA opened up to Underwood, 27, about the incident during last night's episode. 
“It’s definitely the most difficult thing in the world,” a teary Miller-Keyes says to the former NFL player in a teaser for Monday’s episode. “It’s affected every single person in my life.”

After she was raped in college four years ago, “my life was flipped upside down,” Miller Keyes tells PEOPLE. “And even though I’ve moved on, it is something I will struggle with forever.”

A girlfriend at the get-together, who had not been drugged, alleged that one of the men had had sex with her while she was lying unconscious in the bed. In addition, before the alleged assault, Miller-Keyes says that a friend alleged that  “another guy, I was passed out on a couch from the drugs, and … in front of his fraternity brothers … lifted up my dress, they watched and laughed and took photos and Snapchats. It was horrible,” she told Underwood on The Bachelor.

“These situations happen when you’re safe,” she tells PEOPLE. “They don’t necessarily happen when you’re walking down a dark alley. It’s when you’re comfortable and when you let your guard down.”










Friday, January 25, 2019

Bachelor Recap

I looked back at my first post regarding this season's Bachelor and I was kind of surprised at my comments about Hannah B from Alabama.  After this week's show?  Wow.  I mean.  Just, wow.  She has no chill and has zero F's to give.  The girl seems a bit unhinged.  She's got some triggers for sure.  I'm not trying to be funny, I'm dead serious.  She has a deep, deep need to be perfect and it just about killed her when her roommate placed higher than her at Miss USA.  This goes much deeper than a pageant.  This sounds like a girl who's been pushed to perfection her whole life. 

This is a pic of Hannah B, Caelyn and Miss Louisiana USA from their pageant days.  I think they need to bring Miss Louisiana on the show and see if she can shed some light on the situation.  Maybe Hannah B is wacky, maybe Caelyn is fake and lying.  Who knows? 
 
Colton was getting all involved in the drama and I didn't think that was very cool (although he was totes cute as a pirate!).  He clearly likes Caelyn and believes her side of the story.  How these girls feel about each other really has no bearing on how he feels about them individually. 
 
And then they did that whole Bridal Wars competition which was kinda funny, kinda sad.  But it was very nice to see Terry Crews and his wife Rebecca (I had no idea they have been married almost 30 years!).  Unfortunately, Rebecca's hair reminded me of a vanilla swirl ice cream cone. 
 
Meanwhile, Hannah G is over here just looking cute as usual!!  I really like the way she's coming across on the show.  I'm so glad she's not humiliated herself, she hasn't talked bad about other contests, she's not acting crazy or desperate. 
 
 


 
 

 
 


America's City (Part 5)

Day 5 of our romp through Dallas! 
 
Dallas has a thriving arts community with amazing murals and art installations scattered throughout the city. Here are just a few: 
 
 
 
 
Depending on which corner of the Dallas neighborhood you find yourself on you might catch a different chapter of the story of giant robot, The Traveling Man, be it his birth, his stroll or his rest. 
 
The three large installations in the neighborhood are the work of artist Brad Oldham who created the figures in order to replace a previous bunch of murals that were once seen as the welcoming symbol of the neighborhood. Once the murals had to be taken down due to construction of a light rail system, The Traveling Man statues were born. Each of the figures is built of polished metal sheets held together with rivets, all meant to evoke the railway history of the neighborhood of Deep Ellum.  
 
Moving from one statue to another the story of the Traveling Man proceeds from birth to life. The first statue, called Awakening, features just a portion of the Traveling Man’s head and one of his clamps emerging from a pit of gravel as one of his songbird pals looks on. According to the story devised by the planners of the robot mascot The Traveling Man began life as a regular locomotive buried beneath an elm tree, but when a splash of gin was spilled on the roots of the tree, the weird folktale transformer emerged from the ground. 
 
Continuing down Good Latimer Street, you next find the huge robot reclining against a piece of debris salvaged from one of Deep Ellum’s old rail tunnels. This time The Traveling Man is represented in full with a smile and a guitar as he sits with his legs leisurely crossed in a piece known as Waiting on the Train.    
 
Finally The Traveling Man lives up to his name in the last, and tallest piece of the three. In Walking Tall The Traveling Man is seen taking a jaunty stroll with his avian sidekicks on his arm and around his feet. 
 
The Traveling Man, in all of his forms, are located not far from the Deep Ellum light rail station making him the ambassador for the area, reminding visitors and locals alike not only of the neighborhood’s history with trains but also its more recent history as a cradle for the arts.
 
@thetravelingtacos
The Blue Walkway
Location:  Dallas Museum of Art

 
 
@agirlfromtx
Dallas Love Mural
Location:  The Great American Hero in Oak Lawn


 



@agirlfromtx
Love Equation Mural
Location:  Pier 247 in Bishop Arts District

 

@christenstrang
Bishop Arts Wings
Location:  Bishop Avenue and Melba Street Intersection

 

@adventureswithasha
Rise Above Mural
Location:  Trinity Groves Restaurants
 

 

@nickievu
West Village Color Blocked
Location:  Parking lot behind LOFT in Uptown

 

@twinkiiex3
Good Morning Dallas
Location:  Dallas Contemporary near Design District

 

@agirlfromtx
Like to Know it Hearts
Location:  Standard Pour in Uptown

 

@kaseygoedeker
I love Tacos So Much
Location:  Urban Taco in Uptown


Thursday, January 24, 2019

America's City (Part 4)

Dallas is filled with many iconic images (think Book Depository, Dealy Plaza, Reunion Tower, Dallas Cowboys) but one of my favorites is the Pegasus, the mythical winged horse.  I think it brings out the 10-year old little girl in me who was obsessed with unicorns.   

PEGASUS

For some strange reason, Dallas loves Pegasus. 

It's on Deep Ellum murals and downtown street signs. Its name is used for local shops and parks and even craft beers. From the top of the Magnolia Hotel, it shines as a symbol of the city. 

But what's the deal with this winged horse, an oil company's old logo, as Dallas' unofficial mascot? 
 In 1934, a brilliant neon Pegasus icon was placed on top of the headquarters of the Magnolia Oil Co. It was the tallest building in Dallas for years, and even pilots in Waco said they could see the red beacon in the north. 

Magnolia was folded into Mobil in 1959, and Mobil adopted the red Pegasus logo. Even today, the city of Dallas has an agreement with Exxon Mobil to continue to use the image as a symbol for the city.
 Others who try to adopt it have been confronted with legal action from the corporation.
 


The red Pegasus stayed lit atop the old Magnolia building until 1999, when the rusty symbol was removed and replaced with a shiny new version that was lit on Jan. 1, 2000.
 
The original Pegasus, however,  was hidden away in a storage shed until 2015, when it was renovated and placed in front of the Omni Dallas Hotel downtown. That street-level location makes it more visible up close than the high-flying horse on the roof of the Magnolia Hotel.                    
                            
That's the myth of Dallas, anyway. It's an oft-repeated origin story: No one knows why Dallas is named Dallas, and although its position on the Trinity River made it an important crossing at one time, it was by no means created as an inland port. Dallas has defied odds since its inception, just like the mythic winged horse.
 
According to ancient mythology, a natural spring would bubble up on every spot of ground that Pegasus touched. That symbol makes sense for an exploratory oil company, and is easily applied to a city that prides itself on making something out of nothing.
Dallas, as a city, sees itself as exceeding expectations while building a shining city on the prairie where none should be.

Finding Pegasus in Dallas is like a massive game of "I spy." Just look around and you're bound to spot the winged horse nearby. It's on street signs downtown and murals in Deep Ellum. It's the mascot of the Dallas Wings WNBA team, as well as the mascot for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

The Pegasus iconography also can be found in the North Texas beer scene, like Pegasus City Brewery in the Design District. Deep Ellum Brewing Co. also has used an inverted Pegasus to symbolize rebellion from the Dallas way.

You can go to a play from the Pegasus Theatre company. You can fly an unofficial city flag featuring the red horse. You can grab lunch downtown at Pegasus Plaza, next to the Magnolia Hotel. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

America's City (Part 3)

Today's blog post is dedicated to some of the beautiful parks located in Dallas.  Some of these parks are located in urban areas, some are in suburban settings.  Either way, Dallas has lots of spots to relax and recharge. 

ARBORETUM AND BOTANICAL GARDENS
 


 
 The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a 66-acre botanical garden located at 8525 Garland Road in East Dallas, Dallas, Texas, on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden was founded upon the dreams of a few visionaries with a passion for preserving both history and nature. Though the gardens themselves are comparatively young, the work that went into creating the current gardens began long ago.
 

KLYDE WARREN PARK
I always think of Klyde Warren Park as being a mini Central Park.  On one side of the park you can head over to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher sculpture gardens, on the other side is the Perot Museum. 
 
Located in the heart of the city, Klyde Warren Park is an urban, five acre green space built over the old Woodall Rogers Freeway in downtown Dallas. Bustling with activity, this park provides entertainment for families, young adults, and even pets. The children’s park provides playgrounds, a small amphitheater, interactive fountains, and a storytelling tree for creative and educational fun, plus there are reading and game rooms. This park also has several daily activities, such as a Dallas skyline tour, zumba and yoga, and a variety of food trucks. There are various opportunities to see live performances, which vary from music concerts to theater performances to dance recitals in the Muse Family Performance Pavilion. For the furry family members, the My Best Friend’s Park area provides a safe, fenced space that allows the opportunity for off leash activities and socializing, as well as fountains to cool down on warm summer days. With daily activities and dining options, Klyde Warren Park is a great spot for people of all ages to spend a nice day out in downtown Dallas.

 
 
REVERCHON PARK
Established in 1914, this 41 acre, 100-year-old park is a great space for every Dallas resident or visitor to enjoy. Reverchon Park runs alongside Turtle Creek and the Katy Sports Trail, making it a perfect spot to go for a walk, run, or bike ride. The park features baseball fields, tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, and a sand volleyball court. Each of these sports areas are well kept, and some are open for athletic leagues, like the North Texas Amateur Baseball League. Reverchon Park also has a playground and recreation center for the younger park-goers to enjoy. In addition, there are several garden areas, pavilions, seating and picnic areas, and grills available for public use, plus the park offers a twist on the traditional yoga class with their Hiking Yoga along the Katy Trail. The park is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic or cookout, casual sports games, and recreational activities for Dallas residents and visitors of every age.



 
DRAGON PARK
I have not visited Dragon Park yet but it's on my list due to it's "quirky" factor! 
While this may not be an ‘official’ Dallas park, Dragon Park is a small attraction hidden in the Uptown neighborhood, with the main entrance at Cedar Springs Road and Hood. The entrance can be easy to miss if you don’t look closely, but the park itself is home to a rather strange group of statues, such as dragons, fairies, gargoyles, Buddha heads, angels, and griffins. Dragon Park is not very well known to all Dallas residents, but it has been known as a quiet and tranquil place for yoga and meditation. It offers a terraced area with benches, perfect for a short picnic, or just a place to sit and take in the unique characteristics of the statues. Although small and somewhat concealed, Dragon Park is a different type of park that still offers a calm and beautiful scene for any Dallas resident or visitor.
 
Tucked away at the corner of Cedar Springs Road and Hood Street, Dragon Park is privately-owned secret garden in Dallas’s Oak Lawn neighborhood, and offers a quiet reprieve from a city often mired in traffic. The entrance is shrouded in thick green trees that largely obscure it from the sidewalk and at a casual glance, the park looks like nothing more than the very overgrown front yard of an eccentric home (an impression further reinforced by the two Chinese guardian lions which sit watchfully along either side of the stairs, greeting visitors with a fierce cordiality).
 
Dotted with sculptures, the space indeed has a cool, innate serenity about it and feels like the sort of place the wise, old, witchy character from a novel might retreat to, to cast spells or mull over the protagonist’s journey. Though the space is small and the hustle of civilization buzzes on all four sides, a protective aura permeates the plot of land, as if it is insulated by some mystic charm too ancient and transcendental for us to understand it (perhaps it is the effect of the Chinese guardian lions).
But that’s not to say it has a completely unapproachable and alienating atmosphere– Dragon Park is designed for impromptu selfies of people halfway through their morning run and engagement photos alike (if the unofficial Facebook page is any indication). Dragon Park very much has the character of a neighborhood spot, where anyone of any age might find a tranquil moment to collect their thoughts, read a book, or play some Pokémon Go (allegedly, Dragon Park is a Dratini spawn spot). For anyone in Dallas in need of some soothing green surroundings (and maybe just a little magic),
 
 
 
 
LAKESIDE PARK
Quirky and cute overload at Lakeside Park.  How can you have a bad day walking around sculptures of giant Teddy Bears???

Beautiful Lakeside Park sits on over 14 acres of exceptionally landscaped grounds along Turtle Creek, located between Beverly Drive and Armstrong Parkway at 4601 Lakeside Drive.

The walking paths and numerous benches along the way are the perfect place for a leisurely stroll.  Enjoy the scenic views from the bridge atop the Turtle Creek Dam, the whimsy of the Teddy Bear statues, and the tranquility of the Read Memorial.
 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

America's City (Part 2)

Day 2 of my multi-part series about Dallas, our home for the last four years!   Today I'm focusing on Fair Park and, of course, Big Tex! 
 
FAIR PARK
We've only been to the State Fair once and I was blown away by the beautiful art deco buildings and the lush landscaping (I'm used to state parks being on fairgrounds, not in a permanent setting).  And, of course, I love quirky Big Tex! 

 As the host of the annual Texas State Fair since 1886, Fair Park is a site full of history, art, and culture. The park includes the Dallas Children’s Aquarium, several different museums, the Fair Park Music Hall, and the Texas Discovery Garden. The aquarium is open seven days a week, with different feeding demonstrations each day, as well as options for birthday parties, field trips, and even overnight stays. The museums in and around Fair Park include the African-American Museum, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Hall of State. The Fair Park Music Hall offers a year round source of live performance entertainment, including children’s musicals such as Peppa Pig Live; family musicals like The Little Mermaid; Broadway shows like Wicked; and features Dallas Summer Musicals, which provides students interested in performance the opportunity to audition for and act in Broadway musicals. The Texas Discovery Garden is a 7.5-acre botanical garden featuring different native and adapted plants and insects all year round. The garden also offers several specials such as free admission days, gardening workshops, family festivals, and the Earthkeepers student education program. Fair Park is also home to the largest collection of Art Deco Architecture in the U.S., which can be seen along the many landscaped walking paths. With all of the attractions in the area, Fair Park is a major provider of live performance, education, and entertainment for those in Dallas.



 
 
BIG TEX
Big Tex is a 55-foot (16.75m) tall statue and marketing icon of the annual State Fair of Texas held at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas. The figure has become a cultural icon of Dallas and Texas. Since 1952 Big Tex has served as a cultural ambassador to visitors, and the statue's prime location in the fairgrounds serves as a traditional meeting point.
 
On October 19, 2012, the last weekend of the 2012 State Fair of Texas, Big Tex was destroyed by an electrical fire that started in the right boot and worked its way up the structure, first becoming visible from the neck area. After the fire, a new Big Tex was created by SRO Associates and Texas Scenic Co. This rendition made its first public appearance on September 26, 2013.
 
Kerens, Texas is known as the "Birthplace of Big Tex", although his original incarnation was as a 49-foot (15 m) tall Santa Claus constructed from iron drill casing, papier mache, and unraveled rope in 1949.  The statue was an idea of Howell Brister, manager of the Chamber of Commerce, to encourage holiday sales in the town, and the "World's Largest Santa Claus" (a claim later disputed) stood over Colket Avenue for two holiday seasons — drawing press attention from as far away as Iran and Australia. Modeled after Kerens residents Ottis Franklin Spurlock and Hardy Mayo, the figure was built by members of the community who welded the frame, fabricated the body and sewed the clothing.
 
After two seasons the excitement over the statue faded, and Kerens offered it up for sale. In 1951, State Fair president R. L. Thornton purchased Santa's components for $750 and had artist Jack Bridges transform them into a cowboy, giving birth to "Big Tex".
 
Big Tex made his debut at the 1952 fair, a 52-foot cowboy dressed in denim jeans and a plaid shirt donated by the H. D. Lee Company of Shawnee Mission, Kansas.  Artist Jack Bridges used a photograph of his own face, a photograph of rancher Doc Simmons and a photograph of Will Rogers to create the new look.   After the fair, his appearance was slightly altered to straighten his nose and correct an odd wink. It was in 1953 that Big Tex also began speaking. Using a custom-built recipromotor and a 75-watt speaker system housed in the figure's head, Jack Bridges devised a way to create the illusion of natural speech with a swinging jaw.  Tex also attended a convention in Minneapolis that year with the Dallas Jaycees.
 
In 1955 Big Tex received his first new change of clothes, again fabricated by the H. D. Lee Company. After that year's fair, he traveled to West Texas to participate in Abilene Christian College's 50th annual homecoming celebration. A 12-foot-tall, 19-foot long plastic model of a Hereford steer (called "The Champ") accompanied Big Tex for the 1956 fair, but Big Tex was primarily displayed alone. During the 1950s Big Tex underwent further re-design, replacing the papier mache "skin" with fiberglass. The original head was put into storage and later sold at auction in 1993 to a Dallas collector.
 
The State Fair of Texas announced the construction of a permanent, year-round statue of Big Tex in 1961, but the figure remained a seasonal feature appearing only during the fair. Instead, the Big Tex Circle display area was redesigned in 1966 with a larger mound.
 
Big Tex traveled to his hometown of Kerens, Texas in 1981 to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city.  The figure continued to travel to various promotional events until the mid-1980s.
In 1997, Big Tex was given a skeletal makeover consisting of 4,200 feet of steel rods weighing 6,000 pounds. The new skeleton adjusted the posture and allowed for a new hand that waved to passersby, but kept the original head.  Three years later his neck was animated, allowing it to turn; his mechanical mouth was also upgraded with a new system.
Big Tex celebrated his 50th birthday in 2002, receiving a giant birthday cake and an AARP card. Shades of gray were added to the hair and wrinkles were added the figure's hands and face as Big Tex continued to "age".  In 2012 the State Fair of Texas celebrated Big Tex's 60th birthday.
 
Big Tex generally receives a new shirt and jeans every 3 seasons, currently designed and fabricated by the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company. His clothing will next be replaced in 2019.

Prior to 2013, Big Tex wore size 70 boots, a 75-gallon hat, a size 100 180/181 shirt made from nylon awning fabric and 284W/185L XXXXXL pair of Dickies jeans. The pants alone required 72 yards (66 m) of denim and weigh in at 65 pounds (29 kg). Over the years the outfit was accessorized with other articles associated with that year's State Fair of Texas theme. Big Tex has suffered a few garment mishaps over the years. In 1961, Hurricane Carla's winds tore his clothes. In 1970, his huge shirt was stolen from a pickup truck and received much publicity.
 
The recreated structure for Big Tex that appeared in 2013 required new clothing and larger sizes. The new Dickie shirt features a 14-foot collar, 23 foot sleeves and weighs 130 pounds (59 kg). The shirt is made from 150 yards (140 m) of awning material. The new Dickie jeans features a 27-foot waist, 22 foot inseam and weighs 100 pounds (45 kg). The jeans are made from 100 yards (91 m) of denim material.
  
 
 

Monday, January 21, 2019

America's City (Part 1)

I cannot believe we're coming up on 4 years in Dallas!  We love living here and there's always something to do . . . sporting events, art museums, botanical gardens, roller coasters, street festivals.  We've not even scratched the surface of all that Dallas has to offer. 

I think one of the things about Dallas that stands out to me is just how cosmopolitan of a city it is!  I was pleasantly surprised on one of our first house-hunting trips to discover a beautiful, sophisticated, cultivated, diverse city. 

Elevation: 430′
Population: 1.341 million (2017)
Metro population: 7,233,323 (4th)
Did you know: Dallas is the ninth-largest United States city by population (1,341,075)Average annual snow days: 1.3Average rain days: 81 days  The Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington MSA consists of 12 counties: Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise and has a population of 6,954,330. The Dallas-Plano-Irving MD (metropolitan division) is slightly smaller with a population of 4,604,097and is composed of 8 counties: Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall.

Dallas is located in the Central Time Zone in North Central Texas, 35 miles east of Fort Worth, 245 miles north, northwest of Houston and 300 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.

24.9 million annual visitors to the City of Dallas, with 48.9 million visiting the Metro area.  There are more than 30,000 hotel rooms in the city of Dallas with over 78,000 available throughout the area. 

Dallas is centrally located and within a four-hour flight from most North American destinations. It is served by two airports; Dallas/Ft. Worth International and Dallas Love Field that combined provide more than 2,200 flights daily. AMTRAK also provides daily service to Dallas via Union Station.

The Dallas area is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies including Exxon Mobil, JC Penney, AT&T, Texas Instruments, and others. 

Dallas is home to five professional sports teams: The Dallas Cowboys (NFL); Dallas Stars (NHL); Dallas Mavericks (NBA); Dallas Wings (WNBA); FC Dallas (MLS) and the Texas Rangers (MLB) plus NASCAR and Indy racing. The area is also home to more than 200 golf courses.

Dallas Fun Facts

  • The frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas
  • The integrated circuit computer chip (which became the microchip) was invented in Dallas in 1958
  • The 52 foot 'Big Tex' statue that greets visitors at the annual State Fair of Texas is the tallest cowboy in Texas.
  • With the roof enclosed, the entire Statue of Liberty could fit into the Cowboys Stadium.
  • During the winter holiday season, the Galleria Dallas is home to the country's tallest indoor Christmas tree.
  • The largest permanent model train exhibit in the country is on display in the lobby of Dallas Children's Medical Center.
  • The Dallas Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the United States.
  • The Trinity River Corridor Project, when completed, will be more than 10 times the size of New York's Central Park.
  • Highland Park Village Shopping Center, developed in 1931 has the distinction of being the first planned shopping center in America.
  • The first convenience store, 7-eleven, got its start in Dallas and the corporation is headquartered there today.
  • Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League and son of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, was a noted Dallas resident when he coined the phrase 'Super Bowl'.
  • A few celebrities from the area: Angie Harmon, Luke and Owen Wilson, Nastia Luikin, Lee Trevino, Norah Jones, Erykah Badu, Jessica Simpson
  • A few of the movies/TV series filmed in the area: Dallas; Silkwood; Places in the Heart; RoboCop; Born on the Fourth of July; Walker, Texas Ranger; Prison Break (more listed at http://www.dallasfilmcommission.com/)
  • The Dallas area is the largest metropolitan area in the nation not on a navigable body of water.
  • The Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington Metroplex is the No. 1 visitor and leisure destination in Texas.
  • The Dallas Public Library permanently displays one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, printed on July 4, 1776, and the First Folio of William Shakespeare's "Comedies, Histories & Tragedies."
  • The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to 23 of the richest Americans. 
 
Dallas is a clean, walkable city with several great parks, botanical gardens and plenty of green space and lots of hidden gems.  So, over the next couple of days I've decided to highlight some of the wonderful attractions Dallas has to offer. 
 
THE GIANT EYEBALL
I love weird quirky attractions and the Giant Eyeball is one of my favorites! 
 
The eyeball popped-up in August 2013 on a cleared vacant lot in between Main and Elm Streets, across the street from the Joule Hotel. Since then Tony Tasset’s sculpture, a massively enlarged replication of his very own eyeball, has been the focal point of plenty of conversation. Mayor Mike Rawlings praised it as an indicator of the kinds of things that could help boost energy downtown. Dallas's Glenn Hunter aptly made the comparison to the glaring, ever-fixed gaze of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg in The Great Gatsby, an advertisement that functions as a kind of ambiguous symbol of a moral universe, ante-uping Pascal’s Wager, so to speak. And in the wake of the NSA surveillance revelations, they eye could be seen as a tongue-in-cheek reference to an ever-watching Big Brother.
But not so, says artist Tony Tasset in this interview with Interview Magazine in which he discusses the piece at length. The eye, he argues, is just an eye:
“People have been so conditioned to not understand art that when something’s obvious they feel like they’re missing something,” Tasset says. “It’s a big eyeball.”
But even if we accept the artist’s insistence that there is no symbolic or metaphoric intention with placing a giant eye in downtown Dallas, that hasn’t stopped the eye from instigating a range of peculiar reactions:
Tasset’s focus is in pinpointing objects that are widely recognizable, easily construed by anyone. As far as spurring reactions, Eye seems to be working: On one end, a homeless man wrote an enraged screed proclaiming the Eye was a false god; on the other, Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne shared the pithier sentiment “…fuck yeah!!!” in an Instagram of the still-under-construction sphere. “I was quite honored,” admits the artist.
That’s where Tasset’s eye becomes interesting.  Where it occupies this space between intentionality and interpretation, a sculptural positioning achieved merely by utilizing objects that can’t help but carry allusive qualities. Similarly to Claus Oldenburg, who re-positioned our apprehension of consumer products by monumentalizing mundane or toss-away items, Tasset’s piece is about exploring the inclination of the perceptive mind to extrapolate meaning from a thing, subtracting intent so as to reveal any particular interpretation of the object as a projection of meaning by the perceiving viewer. The eye, then, as the dominant sensory tool of perception, is an appropriate symbolic tool. And like Oldenburg’s work, it’s a form that carries both symbolic weight and surrealist humor.
 
“So, you put in a 30-foot eyeball and it turns the downtown into this surreal, funky set, and it makes you, the viewer, a participant in this weird stage set,” Tasset says. “An eyeball is just a classic. I try to make work that kind of keys into things that are already familiar. They know what an eye is like. There’s no mystery to it. Still people ask, ‘What’s it mean?'” 
 
 
I love this section of the city because it's super close to everything . . . the Majestic Theater, The Joule with it's amazing cantilevered pool, Dallas Chop House, Main Street Garden Park, Iron Cactus Mexican Restaurant and Margarita Bar, Pegasus Plaza, Belo Garden, Neiman Marcus, The Adolphus Hotel and the Statler.  A short walk down Elm and you're at the Grassy Knoll and the Sixth Floor Museum. 
 
 

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