Thursday, November 23, 2006

Unfinished Business

I was in a bit of a hurry when I typed yesterday's entry, and didn't have time to properly expand on a few items. So here's the rest...

Unfinished Hayes Carll Review

I guess my concert reviews probably don't mean that much to someone who has never heard the performer. I'm not even sure how to describe Hayes Carll and still do him justice, but I'll try... Imagine a blend of vocal styles from John Cougar (Mellencamp's first album, when the record company wanted him to use an "edgier" last name) and Lyle Lovett, with poetic lyrics set to a southern rock sound with a Texas twang, and maybe the slightest hint of jazz. The softer, acoustic songs ("Wish I Hadn't Stayed So Long", "Flowers and Liquor") have sing-along / hum-along melodies, while the more up-tempo songs ("Little Rock", "Highway 87") are guitar-driven and really rock.

Hayes Carll, last Friday in Denton
A month or so ago, the Ft Worth Star-Telegram listed him as one of five artists who could become "the next Pat Green". That should be your suggestion to go see him -- NOW -- before he's selling out the Smirnoff in Dallas. I'm selfishly hoping he doesn't make it THAT big, because I'd like to see a few more of his shows before he's hits the big-time like Jack Ingram or Pat Green. Maybe there's hope -- IF he stays on an independent record label (and I've heard that he has done just that, having recently turned down a contract from a major label).

But you still might want to go catch him soon... just in case.
Unfinished Dallas Cowboys Report

More than any other sports team (college or professional) the Dallas Cowboys have won my allegiance through over 30 years of exposure to their games on tv and in person. Other folks have their college teams (mine was rebounding from the NCAA death penalty the year I started school there, and hasn't won more than 6 games in a season since), or their parents' college teams (in my case, that's Ohio State, which is all well and good, but a school whose campus I've never set foot on is hard for me to relate to -- especially since it's over 1000 miles away), or whatever. I have the Cowboys.
The earliest football games I can remember were Dallas Cowboys games. My dad was a Cowboys fan, and I remember our family watching them on tv when I was 4 or 5. And I remember going to some of their games when I was around the same age. When we lived in Temple and San Angelo, it seemed like we were always driving to Dallas once a season to catch a game.
And then there's my cousin in Ohio, who not only acquired my dad's affinity for the Cowboys, but who holds the Cowboys in almost mythical regard (rightly so, come to think of it... few professional sports teams have enjoyed the presence of coaches and players as deserving of such respect as Tom Landry and Roger Staubach.) He probably catches a world of hell for it, but it's good to know that the Cowboys have such a vocal fan contingent that far north.

Cowboys vs. Colts - Sunday, Nov 19
There have been years that I did not closely follow the Cowboys, and others when I watched almost every game. During the 1980s, Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker aroused boyhood aspirations of becoming a running back, and Danny White -- good but never quite good enough -- made us long for the return of Staubach. The early 1990s featuring Aikman, Emmitt, and Irvin were fun times, especially a trip I took to Atlanta in January 1994 to see them win Super Bowl XXVIII against the Bills -- one of the coolest opportunities I've ever enjoyed. (It helps to know the right people, or have parents who do!) Suffice to say, the Cowboys have always been MY team.

For the first 6 or 7 years of my railroad career, I worked practically every Sunday and was unable to watch most of the games, but now that I hold a schedule with Sundays off, I've been watching again. It has been painful at times, especially during times of questionable coaching and incompetent quarterbacks. Running for 1 or 2 yards and a cloud of dust on every play is not my style of football. A running game is fine, especially if the backs are getting some good blocks and occasionally breaking free for runs of 15 or 20 yards. But what I really like to see is a good passing game: skilled receivers, a talented quarterback, and a tough offensive line providing the protection. I enjoy the kind of game where the quarterback is airing it out for multiple touchdowns per game -- the kind of game that's fun to watch -- the kind of game that makes me proud to be a fan of the team -- the kind of game the Cowboys played against Tampa Bay today. Can they hold it together for the rest of the season, win the NFC East, and advance to the playoffs? Well, I'm more optimistic than I've been in a long time... Keep it going, 'Boys, keep it going...
Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot

It has been a few years since I've taken train pictures on Thanksgiving. The most memorable (and possibly the most recent) time was in Ohio in 1998. We were in the Canton area for my cousin's wedding and I had to drive to the Cleveland airport to pick up K, who was arriving on Thanksgiving Day -- a day or two after the rest of us. While I waited for her flight to arrive, I killed some time at Berea Tower, hanging out with a few of the local fans and shooting the last Conrail trains I'd see before the Conrail split. (Time well spent, in my opinion.) I didn't know it at the time, but the Thanksgiving Turkey (train) Shoot was something of a Cleveland tradition.

This year, with K and the kids out of town, I accepted an invitation from my friend Randy (who used to live in Cleveland) to re-enact the Turkey Shoot, Texas style. It sounded like a good plan to me. I'm usually more of a loner at trackside, preferring to do my shooting by myself instead of with others, but sometimes it's nice to have some company. We ended up introducing each other to a few new photo locations. We caught two southbounds on the BNSF Ft Worth Sub between Justin and Krum, and then headed west past Decatur and Bowie and found a couple eastbounds to chase back to town.

Southbound Roadrailers approaching Justin

Eastbound coal load near Decatur

Oh, did I mention that the weather was obscenely beautiful for this time of year? I associate Thanksgiving more with ice storms (even in north Texas -- remember the Leon Lett Bowl?) than I do with sunny skies and highs in the 70s. Don't tell me all the negatives of global warming without mentioning a few of the positives...

The Whiskey family celebrated Thanksgiving last Sunday before K and the kids left, but I still took time today to reflect on things I'm thankful for -- for my family and friends; for my job and my income; for my home; for my health and my family's health; for the gifts of life, music and being an American; and for being able to live in north Texas this time of year. Watch for a slowdown in Blog activity as we gear up for the Christmas season, but I'll still post an occasional entry here as time allows. Until then...

nr: Ted Conover - Coyotes
np: MTV - Beauty and the Geek


Blogger Bayou said...

I never hear the end of it when the Cowboys lose a game. I have a huge Cowboys flag in my classroom. Thankfully, Cleveland and Pittspuke both stink this year so the smack talk is not as bad. Good job rooting the Boys' on to victory against the Colts!

-Cowboy Fan in Ohio

8:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home