Most people know of Fort Worth as Cowtown. This is the city that touts the slogan “Where The West Begins!” While it is true that the cattle drives of yesterday helped put Fort Worth on the map. The airplane took Fort Worth higher, further, and faster. The city built the B-24 Bomber that helped win WWII. The F-16 Fighter is also built here, and has become one of the greatest combat aircraft ever built. Besides manufacturing there has always been a large military aviation presence. Many aircraft and airman from the area have been deployed across the globe. While Fort Worth is a world leader in aviation the entire North Texas region has also contributed. The Fort Worth Memorial Air Park showcases this regional effort with Aircraft displays and Aviation Artifacts. The Air Park is actually a cooperative effort between the Forward Air Controller’s Museum, B-36 Peacemaker Museum and the Fort Worth Air & Space Museum Foundation. I met with a Museum Guide named Buster that had been a C-5 Galaxy Pilot and also worked at the Lockheed Factory. He was passionate and knowledgable about every aircraft on display. It was contagious as I would catch myself gazing at the angled lines of tapered wings and streamlined fuselages of Cold War Aircraft. All of these planes served us well and continue to do so as they inspire future generations of Airman and Aviation Enthusiasts. Please visit http://facmuseum.org/
The Garden Gnome has been around for a long time. They have visited more destinations throughout the globe than I will ever have the privilege of doing. This has been proven and is extensivley documented. That’s ok I don’t mind so much, we have Ted. He is now a part of our family. I named him as my wife and I browsed the shelves at our local Target. He was conceived in Germany, made in China and purchased in the Great State of Texas. So I guess he has already existed in one form or another on three continents. I have a feeling that Gnomes are loosing their appeal. They have peaked in popularity. That’s ok though I may be a late adopter but I was brought up to “dance the with the one that brought you.” So Ted has a home in front of our large oak tree. The only competition that Ted may have one day is the Pink Flamingo. I doubt that a saintly St. Francis or a serene Buddha would pose any threat to our chubby friend. So Ted, with all that you have been through. I have to say, Welcome To The Family.
I came across this magnificent machine at the car show that I wrote about in my previous blog entry. What makes this vehicle so significant to me is that it marks the end of an era. The Ford Mustang Mach 1 as shown was manufactured from 1970 -1973. This is when the muscle car era started to come to an end. The War in Vietnam was coming to a close, the economy was not so great, and the price of gas was rising. One side effect of the changing world was the idea of planned obsolescence. Granted nothing lasts forever but this car and those before it were made to last. I am inclined to believe that as this era ended designers and bookkeepers realized there was more profit to be made in cars that would need to be replaced rather than repaired. If I were to guess the early 1970’s was the time that the WWII generation began to retire. Twenty-five years or so earlier the Auto factories in Michigan had manufactured the jeeps, aircraft, and tanks that won the campaigns in Europe and the Pacific. These machines were rugged and were easily maintained. They were not only pretty to look at but also utilitarian in nature. These ideals carried over into the Great American Cars of the 1950’s, 1960’s, and early 70’s. After the mid 1970’s everything changed, as that was the time that disposable culture came into total fruition. In short the era of “Built to Last” had ended.
This past weekend as I drove by a local burger joint called the Fabulous 50’s, I noticed a car show was taking place. I had to stop and admire the sculpted metal before me. For most of my driving life I drove an American classic. As those classics became antiques their age caught up to them. It was no longer feasible to have one as a daily driver. I reluctantly updated to a new vehicle that has the solid reliability and empty soul of an appliance. Even though I drive a plastic foreign car my heart still belongs to the Detroit of yester year. What was so cool about this car show is that all of the vehicles that were present were like the people who owned them, they were real. These were cars that were considered plain jane in their time. The Mustangs were not Shelbys and the Camaros not Yenkos. Not all of their numbers matched but they ran strong and were maintained solid. There was not a museum piece in sight and not one auto collector, only cars and drivers.
The Clarks Desert Boot is a brown suede, crepe sole, loose-fitting shoe. It has a laissez-faire vibe stitched in the fabric. This is the shoe that the British Army wore in North Africa during WWII. When worn it is not a shoe or a boot, but somewhere in between. As is with most things derived from military gear it is truly functional. I would have to say that the simplicity of the Desert Boot is what makes it worth owning. This beautiful simplicity is also shared in the design of the Field Jacket, Ruck Sack, Cargo Pant, and countless other things born in Olive drab and Desert Brown.
To Mike Modano, thanks for bringing Hockey to Texas. You made me proud to be a Star. I would have liked to have seen you retire in Dallas. Unfortunately Seven Division Championships, Three Western Conference Crowns, Two Presidents Trophies, and a Stanley Cup don’t mean much to the powers that be.Yeah, Tom Hicks that’s you! You are a terrible owner that has no passion for Hockey, Baseball, or English Football. Apparently your word means nothing as you have done everything to hold our teams back. Like him or not if you had half the heart of Mark Cuban imagine what we could do. If anything you would not be one of the most hated owners ever. Best of luck to you Modano, whatever team you go to I am sure you will get the respect you deserve. No matter how you look at this, this is ugly. Win or lose I will always be a Star, but wherever Modano goes so will I. Give’em hell Mike!
Today was a good day for US Soccer. I know it’s not a win, but a draw is also something to be proud of. I have to admit that I am not an avid follower of the sport. When I was young my brother and I played for a league in Dallas. Later as a teenager I also played pickup games that took place behind my high school. Most of the players were from Mexico or Central and South America. Their English was not the greatest and my Spanish was among the worst. That did not matter on the field as that was some of the most intense Soccer I ever played. Other than those unofficial games my sporting life has been occupied by watching American Football on television, notably my favorite team of all time The Dallas Cowboys. Which brings me to where I am today. I have made it no secret I love America. So naturally there was no question that I would be watching our USA Soccer Team take on The Three Lions, The Saint Georges Cross, and Our Closest Friends across the pond, England. A draw for England against The United States might as well have been a loss. For us it was as close to a win as we could have had. I am proud of our team and look forward to seeing us advance from here to the future. Well done USA!
UPDATE – 06/18/2010 Team USA ties Slovenia, 06/23/2010 Team USA defeats Algeria, 06/26/2010 Ghana defeats Team USA. We showed up and we came up short. I ask myself what does all this mean? It means that there is always next time. Win or lose we will always be Americans.
While driving on East Lancaster in my hometown of Fort Worth Texas, I came across this beautiful piece of sculpted metal. It lay displayed high above the other wrecks that occupied the parking lot of an auto body shop. It stood out like a Thoroughbred among a field of mules. Most likely this car will never be restored to its former glory but I am grateful that its owner thought enough to showcase its regal beauty.