Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Why I Enjoyed My Nighttime Drive From Austin To Houston

Last night, from about 10:30 PM until maybe 1:30 AM, I drove back to Houston from Austin. My wife is out-of-town visiting family and I had Thanksgiving dinner in Austin with a friend. I took Highway  290 to get to Austin and back.

I enjoyed my ride home.

Here is why I enjoyed this ride—

1. I had three hours alone to think.

2. It was mostly cloudy. I liked looking at the light of towns and cities in the distance reflected by the clouds. I’m not saying people are always best in the abstract, but it is good to have a mix of actual human contact and a more remote consideration of the human condition.

3. I was glad not to be robbed or to stumble upon a robbery-in-progress when I stopped at an all-night gas station at midnight to get something to drink.

4. I was able to contemplate the road I was driving on as agent of communication between people. The road is an extension of our natural desire to go other places and to see other people.

5. Consistent with the point above , I thought about how the road was built by people, yet how it also bended to the topography.  Terms like “natural” and “artificial” don’t really have clear meanings in many ways.

6. I liked the intermittent flashing lights on the electrical towers, radio transmission towers, and cell phone towers. Though these towers often stand isolated in remote places, they are in fact necessary to facilitate all sorts of communication between people.

7. I felt active and alert while driving and thinking, yet I felt removed from the world out in the night at a late hour. I found this to be a good state of mind.

It is helpful to have breaks from the routine of life. Such breaks can allow for reflection, for new thoughts, for the updating of long-standing ideas, and for renewed commitment to ideas that are of personal importance or that are of personal interest.

November 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

European Union Says Don’t Visit U.S.—What Will Europeans Be Missing?

The European Union has recommended that people avoid non-essential travel to the United States.

This is so they will not catch the Swine Flu.

Though a case has already been confirmed in Spain.

( Please click here for Swine Flu facts and for handwashing information.) 

What will European travelers be missing?

They’ll be missing the Milwaukee Art Museum.

File:Milwaukee Art Museum 1 (Mulad).jpg

They’ll be missing the world’s tallest thermometer in Baker, California.

File:Tallest thermometer.jpg

They’ll be missing hot dogs at Wein-O-Rama in Cranston, Rhode Island.

File:Weiners.jpg

They’ll be missing the Florida Scrub Jay. This bird lives only in Florida. The Florida Scrub Jay is “blue and friendly”

File:Florida Scrub Jay.jpg

I don’t think people in Europe should avoid coming to America just because of some Swine Flu.

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Indiana Dunes Are Excellent To Visit—Go With Others Or By Yourself

original negative

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a wonderful place to go.

This park, on Lake Michigan, is not far from Chicago.

Go there this summer, or maybe even in the winter, with people you love.

Or at least can tolerate.

Or go by yourself and enjoy the peace.

It is often good to go places by yourself. Being by yourself helps you collect your thoughts and helps you have new thoughts.

Above is a picture of the area in winter taken by the Chicago Daily News in 1911.

Below is a more recent summer picture. The photo does not do full justice to how nice it is to look at the water.

Here is information on Lake Michigan from the State of Wisconsin.

Here is information about the Great Lakes taken as a whole from the American and Canadian governments.

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review Of Continental Express Flight 5627—Houston To Cincinnati

Here is a review of Continental Express flight 5627 which left Houston April 24, at 10:10 AM and arrived in Cincinnati at 1:45 PM.

It also landed on April 24. It was not a 27 hour flight.

The ticket cost $561.50. Can you imagine all that money to get to Cincinnati?

Above you see a picture of flight # 5627. Needless to say, all the passengers were surprised to be boarding such a plane. 

The flight started well because boarding required walking outside and walking up a staircase-on-wheels. I always find this exciting. I pretend I am Charles De Gaulle boarding a plane to Algeria.

I mentioned feeling like General De Gaulle to the flight attendant. By her response, I did not get the impression she shared my excitement.

Once on board, the glamour was gone. 

The plane smelled. I can’t quite classify the smell beyond being slightly yucky. The plane smelled from take off to landing.

Also, my seat was filled with crumbs.

I followed the trail of crumbs down to the floor. There I found my own feet. It must be what an out-of-body experience is like.

I was lucky in that nobody sat next to me. I often wish to be left alone.

I guess the thumb tacks I put on the seat next to me sent a clear message. 

A ”light snack” was served. This snack consisted of a turkey sandwich, a bag of potato chips and a tiny little Milky Way bar.

I felt the sandwich had been at least recently refrigerated. If I don’t start throwing up within the next 36 hours, we can say it was okay.

The fold out tray for my seat had a red substance on it. Sitting alone, I was able to use the tray from the next seat over. It had no blood-like substance on it.

Below the plane was the Earth.

I saw Lufkin, Texas and Little Rock, Arkansas. At least those are the places I think I saw.

I also saw the Mississippi River and the Ohio River. 

I would term both rivers as “muddy.”

The plane landed in Cincnnati without incident. My baggage was right where it was supposed to be and I was on my way.

I would give this flight a thumbs up in that everybody landed in one piece.

It’s really all you can ask.

April 25, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, Houston | , , , , | 6 Comments

An Inviting Blue Sky Is Uninhabitable—Observations From Galveston, Texas

Here are seven contradictions, of varying degrees, from the Friday afternoon I spent today 50 miles from home in sunny Galveston, Texas.

1. Some of the nicest days to go to Galveston, in late October on a weekday when it is sunny and maybe 80, are past the summer beach season. These days are not nearly as busy in Galveston as a 97 degree weekday in August when it is many regards awful outside regardless of being at a beach.

2. At certain spots on Galveston Island, you can look one way and see a nearly empty ocean. But then all you have to is turn your head to see busy shipping lanes and a huge petrochemical area.

3. The most inviting features of a nice day at the ocean, a wide blue sky and sparkling sea, are in fact mostly inaccessible and fully uninhabitable.

4. The water looks blue from a distance, but appears gray the closer you get.

5. You think the water itself is gray, but really it’s not. 

Today at the beach you could look down from a vantage point of just a few feet, and see clearly the mud beneath the water. Most days in Galveston you can’t see the bottom. Today though, the tide was so calm that not much mud was being stirred up.     

6. It looked like I was alone, but I called a number of friends while I was walking along the Seawall. 

7. It looked like I had all the time in the world, but truthfully I have many things to get done.  

A day in Galveston is excellent. There is a lot of history in GalvestonThe Strand is not fully annoying as shopping goes.  

Galveston is a relaxing place. It’s especially relaxing on a quiet weekday.   

I’ve got some good photos as soon as I load them in the computer. For now a Wikipedia picture will have to suffice.  

October 27, 2007 Posted by | Galveston, Texas | , , | 2 Comments