Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My home town

OK, so I'm not fan of the NFL, aka The National Felon League.  *heehee*


If you were to try and give a prospective new resident to your town/city some idea of what to expect, what would you tell them?  Here's what I would tell people about Dallas:

First of all, when someone (me) says "Dallas", they usually mean Dallas and Ft Worth and suburbs....and there are LOTS of suburbs.  They total about 6.5 million people, and when you try to drive across it, you'll find it's just one large mass, generally with no open spaces between cities.  Because of all the open acreage in every direction, I think we invented "urban sprawl".  The area really began to boom back in the 1980's when the old, cold northern states seemed to hit an economic wall and packed up and moved south.  Because of this sudden influx of humanity, and the building boom necessary to accommodate them, most of north Texas is new and modern and very clean.  

Cities seem to grow north, and we're no exception.  The area south of downtown Dallas is generally old, not very affluent, and minority.  There is little new growth there, and unemployment and crime are above average.  North Dallas (including suburbs), is just the opposite.  Fair?  No, but it is what it is.

Our economy has become very diversified in recent years...we're no longer dependent on the oil industry.  We do still have a large presence of petroleum industry headquarters/offices, but only a little natural gas drilling, and no oil drilling in our immediate area.  Basically we're a region of paper pushers...we have very little blue-collar manufacturing.

We do have LOTS of intermodal transportation and warehousing as we are right on the prime route into the US from Mexico and South/Latin America.  This, along with construction and burger flipping, provides jobs for the less well educated.

Basically we've become a magnet for high tech industry and money.  For example, Texas Instruments is HUGE here, along with an incredible number of companies who hire boatloads of techie types and scientists.  We also have lots of banker crooks, insurance companies, telecommunications, a large medical science industry, and aerospace.  And shopping...we put up retail centers and high-end malls like some cities put up gas stations.  Oh, oh...and restaurants.  No one here can cook, but we are great at making reservations.  I've heard it said we have four times as many restaurants per capita than does New York City.

Our cities have done a fairly good job of staying ahead of the growth, constantly building new highways.  Our mass transit system is expanding, but is still fairly modest compared to congested northern and European cities systems.

Our schools are generally suburban schools are sprouting like weeds.  Our public inner-city schools are actually pretty good, too, their abysmal test scores more due to lack of parental involvement and encouragement at home than poor educators in the classroom.  For higher education we offer SMU and TCU (both very pricey), the Universities of Texas at Dallas and Arlington, and North Texas (reasonably priced state universities), several other smaller, excellent private colleges, and a thriving community college system.

We're a populace who is very adept at conspicuous consumption (and maxing out credit cards)...big cars, big trucks, big houses, and big hair everywhere.  If it wasn't for pickup trucks and big SUV's, Chevy and Ford dealers would close shop.  By contrast, Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi dealers are thriving.  Thank Gawd for 96 month financing!  *wink*  And of course, I've managed to put food on the table for many years now by building McMansions, so thank you Big Spenders!

Yes, you can still see a few people walking around wearing cowboy boots and hats, much more so towards Ft Worth (which still touts their "Cowtown" heritage), but we've overwhelmingly embraced the 21st Century.  

Country music still reigns, but we also have a thriving Arts District.  

Not surprisingly considering our location, we have a large Hispanic population who IMO are by-and-large decent, hard working people.  Race relations are sometimes tense, but not explosive, in a 3-way power share between the Hispanics, African Americans, and Whites.  We also have many Asians and Indians who staff many of our high-tech companies.  I'm increasingly amazed to hear so many foreign languages spoken here...we've become quite cosmopolitan.

Our weather is great, or it sucks, depending on your point of view.  For those Yankees who have no use for cold weather and think "the hotter the better", Dallas is your place.  For this native Texian, hot sucks!  Our winters are mild (we don't have to shovel sunshine), and our spring and fall seasons are spectacular, but our summers are to be only tolerated, preferably while indoors.

We're very child oriented here.  Our kids are all heavily involved in sports, and our autos get lots of miles ferrying chirren back and forth to one practice or game after another, year 'round.  Been there, done that!  Here FOOTBALL RULES, with those other games that require balls *snicker* down the popularity list.  

Many of us have a love/hate relationship with our Dallas Cowboys...we love the home town team, but detest the ownership.

To see any pretty scenery you'll have to make your way to DFW International Airport, get on a plane, and go elsewhere.  Beaches or mountains are a days drive away, at least.  It's a great place to make money, but not so great for enjoying the outdoors.  It's so flat here you can watch your dog crawl under the fence and run away...for days.  

We have some nice recreational lakes, but they can get pretty crowded on weekends.  We have the usual NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL teams, all in some spectacular venues.  Just be sure to bring a sack full of large denomination bills if you want to buy a beer or a pizza.  OK, slight exaggeration.  For now at least, our cost of living is slightly below the national average.

Other miscellany:  Yes, we have lots of guns.  No, I haven't seen any open-carry of firearms yet.  Yes, the women are beautiful.  Yes, our Tex-Mex cuisine is the best.  It should be...we invented it!  Ditto for steak houses...we're big-time carnivores.  Our seafood is...meh.  Its freshness depends solely on how fast the truck can make the 300 mile drive north from the Gulf Coast. 

Yes, we are very polite and friendly...we still open doors for ladies, say please and thank you, sir and ma'am, and greet strangers we meet with a smile and a hello.  (Don't worry new Yankee residents, we aren't setting you up for a mugging.)  

Yes, you can still see cattle grazing on land worth $$$$$ per acre in the shadow of tall buildings.  That's so land owners can qualify for an agricultural tax exemption which can dramatically reduce property taxes.  No, we don't have a state income tax, but we do have steep property taxes, sales taxes, etc, and LOTS of "fees".   (Since our Tea Party politicians are loath to do anything but lower taxes, when they need more money they just tap into our wallets and call it a "fee".)  And no, I don't exaggerate when I write about our World-Class sleazy politicians.  I'm sure the ghost of LBJ is looking up and smiling.  :)

Now you know.  Welcome!



  1. We have sort of the opposite here in Houston. In every respect.

    First, we grew OUTWARD, eating up nearby towns, rather than just having a bunch of semi-associated towns on the outskirts like Dallas has.

    Second, our city/suburbs dichotomy reversed itself sometime in the last 20 years. The suburbs used to be the place to be, but now the crime and cheaper rents are outside the Beltway, and the area around downtown is laregly too expensive for most people to live.

    I know there must be children in Houston, but I rarely see any. I can't explain that.

  2. I'll match our New Jersey crooked politicians against yours any day. I'll give you Tex-Mex food and country music, but out Pizza is the best, and our Italian and Chinese restaurants are worth any cold snowy winters.

  3. I love Tex-Mex food and a lot of other fun things about Texas, but we have Cuban food here in Florida. Our politicians are about as crooked as yours. We have a lot of retired people here, especially during the winter. They are called snow birds. My suspicion is that with all that big spending, big cars, big houses, etc. not a lot of Texans will be retiring. :-)

    Your "Ode to my Hometown" was fun to read!

  4. Thanks for this expose on the area where you live. I've never been to Texas but if you are a good example of the people who live there, then I know I'd enjoy a visit.

  5. Our hometown (before we moved to the farm) has one traffic light, which they had to fight with Dept. of Roads to get. DFW looks like a nice place to visit *emphasis on visit*.

  6. My sim time was the 1st week of July at AA DFW. I could not go for a walk until midnight, when it started to cool. I have 3 friends and one relative who live there and love it.

    Great Post, enjoyed it.

  7. I enjoyed your overview of Dallas! As a transplanted NC girl I'm not sure I could tolerate the summer very well - Ohio is plenty hot enough for me! And this past winter was pretty mild - only a handful of snow days & it only reached 0 degrees a couple of times :)