Posted by Dr Fro 9:03 AM
City of Houston
population 2.2 million
I was in Houston for about 24 hours earlier this week. Up in Dallas, I was pretty plugged into the Ike news given all the fam and friends I have there, but I didn't really appreciate the devastation until I saw it firsthand. The most noticeable thing is the trees. That is, the trees that were uprooted and are now chopped into pieces and sitting on the curb. Throughout my parents' neighborhood, there were piles and piles of branches, trunks, etc. curb-to-curb waiting to be picked up.
The second most obvious damage is to the traffic lights. By my count, about 1/2 of all lights I went through were not working. The ones that blinked red were safe enough, but you had to watch out for the intersections where the lights were completely missing.
One site the struck me (and I saw it more than once) was when a series of extention cords stretched across the street to share electricity with those without.
I loved reading and listening to the stories about Mayor White cussing out the workers from Georgia and Governor Perry's miscalculation in trying to use that to his political advantage (note to Perry, when people are out of electricity and water, they aren't amused by partisan politics).
On a a non-weather related note, I very much enjoyed listening to the radio in Houston. In Dallas, you have the Ticket, which rarely discusses sports and 103.3 whose local shows only talk about the Cowboys (you would think that there was no MLB hunt for October going on). In Houston, not only do they talk about sports, they talk a lot of college football. I loved it. When they weren't talking cfb, they were talking MLB. (Boy are they are still mad at Bud Selig!)
Another thing I always look forward to in Houston is the Mexican food. Dallas is too close to Oklahoma to know anything about good Mexican food. To be fair, there are good Mexican restaurants in Dallas. The problem is that there are also a lot of terrible ones (ones that would go out of business quickly in Houston) that are very popular. I think the quality of TexMex is a function of the distance from the border, so you get this pecking order for good TexMex: San Antonio, then Houston, then Dallas. Houston beats out Austin not due to distance from Mexico but because Austin is basically a melting pot of Texans. That is, Austin has too many transplants from places like Dallas, so it offers a mix of good and mediocre and bad TexMex. If anybody from Dallas disagrees with this assessment, it can only be out of ignorance. I'll take said ignoramus to Irma's or perhaps Lupi's and if they haven't changed their mind, then there is no hope that they ever will. If a Houstonian doesn't know how bad TexMex sucks in Dallas, I'll take you to Mi Cocina. (btw, shortly after Mi Cocina opened up in Houston, it went out of business. Hmm.)
Dallas does have Houston beat in several areas: traffic, overall asthetics, mass transit, proximity to legal gambling (!) and professional sports teams. Houston has Dallas beat beyond TexMex in areas such as: downtown baseball, downtown in general, international diversity and restaurants in general. Dallas chicks are hotter, Houston chicks are cooler. I'll take Beyonce over Jessica Simpson, but I'll take Ron Kirk over Tom Delay. White Rock versus Memorial? White Rock in a close one. Oil versus real estate? Hey, there's a reason JR was an oil man and not a developer. I-10 or I-35? Do I have to pick? OK, I-35 is better. Ft Worth or Galveston as a neighbor? I'll take the beach. Lakewood or The Heights? Lakewood. In fact, Houston has no answer to east Dallas. Lance and John or the Hard Line? Well if you think sports radio should be about sports, then Lance and John win. Texans versus Cowboys? Cmon, the Texans suck ass. Rangers or Astros? The Rangers couldn't spell "October" if you spotted them O, C and T.
I consider the two cities to be a push, all things considered, so this isn't about that (I always have to make that qualification because any conversation that touches on comparing the two cities is always met with major sensitivity at the thought that one might think that one city is better than the other.)
I do like Houston quite a bit, even if everyone else here in Dallas does not.