Thursday, May 10, 2007

Re Houston and Dallas

Notice the title is not Houston v. Dallas, for a couple of reasons. First, I've spent very little time in Dallas: a handful of short business trips and three or four days for LJ's wedding. It's a bit of an exaggeration (but not much) to say what that I know about Dallas I have seen from an office or rent car window and LJ's backyard. Consequently, I can't say anything intelligent about Dallas. I don't have LJ's perspective, and so can only comment on what I know about Houston, which leads to reason number two: Try as I might, I'm having a hard time disagreeing with much of what LJ has said, although there are some points to address.

Hot and humid: check. I'm sure Dallas has a higher average summer temperature than Houston, but lower humidity. Unfortunately it's the humidity that makes you suffer. On the other hand, Houston's average low in the winter has to be quite a bit warmer than Dallas' and that's just fine with me. We don't get the occasional snow like Dallas (well, once a decade maybe), which would be neat, but I'll trade the generally mild winter temps for that.

Dirty, yes, more often than not. For the life of me I can't understand why the City can't mow the grass and pick up trash on the freeways and major streets.

The billboards are hideous. It's been a long time since I paid attention to the Billboards Wars, and I guess things are better than they used to be (although I don't see how), but we apparently have a Billboard Lobby that has every Houston politician in its pocket. It's a shame.

The Chronic is a pitiful rag. I've liked the Morning News since I was a student in Austin and picked it up when I couldn't find the Chronic or the Post.

Not mentioned by either LJ or Scooter (maybe because they're not natives) is the fact that among cities in the U.S. of any real size, Houston is the only one without zoning. I used to be able to spout the advantages of the lack of zoning, but they escape me now.

LJ, I'm afraid your dismissal of the suburbs of Dallas (incorporated cities though they are) and those of Houston (unincorporated and subsumed by the Blob that is Houston) doesn't work. The Woodlands, Kingwood, Sugarland, and Clear Lake are Houston, and if you're going to fault "Houston" for it's ugliness, you have to give credit to the parts of it that aren't ugly and in fact are pretty damn nice. For every ugly freeway view and littered corner there are really nice places in Houston, and they are often in the far-flung suburbs. So I can't let you take those out of the equation. Likewise, Dallas is just not the city limits: it's Plano, Irving, etc. for better or worse.

Who's more conservative? LJ's not stating that Dallas is more conservative because he thinks it's favorable; he's just making an observation. I'm sure the numbers are available for the last national election and I'm guessing that there's no discernible difference. I do think that Dallas traditionally, at least the early 1960s, was considered ultraconservative. The right-wingers killed Kennedy, right? Nuff said.

Sports, which started this, I can't really comment on. I hate the Cowboys because I must since I'm from Houston. I've suffered with the Astros since the first time I set foot in Colt Stadium and I always will. I recall with nostalgia the Rockets' run and Scooter, LJ, and the gang on Nina Lee. That's the limit of my sports input.

Maybe more later; Scooter said "more to come." Someone hold him to it.

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