The Silliness Guide to Dallas, Texas
Prelude: How Dallas Earned Its Own Silly Web Page
From correspondence, January 2000:
Right now I'm dining on the Cream of Yellow Pepper soup
which precedes the Three-Pepper Tenderloin Filet at the Pegasus Room
in downtown Dallas.
Downtown Dallas nightlife seems to be making
a comeback. I'll have to update my travelogue, which mentions
how life in Dallas at night is like life after the neutron bomb.
But when I do, the Pegasus Room deserves its own mention
for silliness. This isn't a bad thing.
They just opened; it's hard to be the pioneers
of urban renewal. But still, they've more than earned
whatever free web publicity I can offer.
So, it looks like the Pegasus Room puts Dallas over the top.
Dallas now deserves its very own web page for silliness.
- It has thirteen tables. It's now 8 pm, and I am the only customer.
(Two others just left.)
- They have a long list of fine wines, but when I asked them
for my favorite draft beverage, the waiter told me they have the Miller
Genuine Draft in bottles. I bowed to the obvious, and ordered
wine with my dinner. I haven't done that since Paris.
- They are housemates with the cheap karaoke bar I mentioned
already in the travelogue; it moved into the basement here.
And all the restrooms are downstairs, where the bar is.
- Speaking of the restrooms, they haven't installed the soap dish yet.
And the chef was in the room just before I was. I'm told he washed his
hands - in the kitchen.
- The headwaiter told me how he had trouble with eliminating his
Texas accent, whenever he came back from home after the holidays.
And he greeted people, "Good evening, y'all."
- While I was eating dinner, the band for the bar downstairs
brought their equipment through the restaurant. When they
started playing, I heard them clearly from my dinner table.
This isn't unusual where I usually eat dinner... but I don't
usually eat dinner in restaurants which aspire to five-star ratings.
- Bear in mind, this is the most expensive restaurant I've ever eaten dinner in.
This includes restaurants in London, Paris, and throughout Germany...
and the restaurant in Greenland where I had musk ox steak.
As for tomorrow, I think I shall go see Fantasia 2000.
Oddly enough, it seems I have a choice of IMAX theatres to view it in.
Then perhaps I shall go sit in the local arboretum.
On Sunday perhaps I shall go visit one of the other fine
recreational lakes near Dallas (if the lake hasn't dried up),
then pay my respects at the Cowboy Church of Fort Worth,
then go see the border collies on parade at the Stockyards.
I must say, Texas still has something new for every visit.
Though I might be hitting bottom one of these days...
Anyway, to answer your question, I've found fun stuff for my free time.
Here's hoping you can make it until the roads thaw out.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Silliness in Dallas
- Downtown Dallas is like one of those post-World War 3 movies
that used to be popular when Ronald Reagan was President.
Outside of lunch hour, the streets are deserted.
It's as if a neutron bomb went off and left the buildings standing.
- Where are all the people? There's plenty who work downtown,
but they avoid walking outside unless they have to. There's a network of
tunnels for their convenience, so they never have to face the sun.
And I can't blame them, because...
- Global warming has not been kind to Dallas. When I was there in 1998,
the temperature was above 100 Fahrenheit degrees each day for over a month.
And it was much like that in 1999 too, when I was there (again).
When it's that hot and you're a normal person,
you either go inside, or you stay very still and drink plenty
of water, or you die. But Texans don't mind.
I know three Texans who were saying, "Hooray, let's set a record!"
- Dining is different in downtown Dallas. There are very few restaurants downtown,
probably because there are very few people walking around downtown.
Half these restaurants are underground, and close around 7 PM when the tunnels close.
Half the remainder are closed in the summer anyway, because nobody wants to cook
when it's 108 degrees out.
- Shopping is different in downtown Dallas. You can go to the original Neiman-
Marcus store, or you can patronize the dollar stores that surround it.
- There are restaurants and shops near downtown, but they're concentrated
in two lumps, at the west end and east end of downtown. The west end is called
The West End. The east end is called Deep Ellum, because you have to go deep
down Elm Street to get there. There are plenty of blues joints once you get there, though.
- If you go to downtown Dallas in late July, you may not find restaurants or shops open,
but you can see busloads of women with colorful blazers, badges, nametags,
and heavy makeup. The Mary Kay cosmetic company holds an annual
in Dallas, which is conveniently located to their world headquarters in North Dallas.
The convention fills up a convention center and several hotels, for two to three weeks.
During that time, you can see swarms of conventioneers boarding tour buses
and trying to board hotel elevators.
The adventurous ones even go out to local restaurants, wearing their nametags,
Mary Kay jackets, and awards. And they often bring their own dinners.
(At one such restaurant I got a free dessert, for not getting into a fight with an unruly
patron, in front of the Mary Kay contingent.)
- Dallas has films shot there. It is the third most popular place in the United States
to film movies or television, according to my Texas sources who place Los Angeles #1
and forget who is #2. I saw "Walker, Texas Ranger" shot at the door of the phone
company I came to visit one time.
- Dallas has karaoke, if you find the right sort of desperate downtown tunnel bar
on a Friday night. Karaoke is something intrinsically silly which some other silly places lack.
- For additional amusement, you can go see the "Sixth Floor" museum, where John F.
Kennedy was shot. Or you can go see the Conspiracy Museum, which puts forth
the proposition that everyone important who died during the 1960s was the victim
of a single conspiracy - and so was Ted Kennedy. The only reason he hasn't
cleared his good name after that Chappaquiddick frame-up is because if he does,
The Conspiracy will do something worse to him next. One can only imagine what.
Maybe they'll sabotage one of his nephews' skis or airplanes. (Hey, wait, his nephews
crash in their airplanes and skis anyway. Never mind.)
- And when you feel the urge to thank God for sending you to downtown Dallas,
you can stop by Thanksgiving Square, the Sappiest Place On Earth.
Conveniently accessible via tunnel. It has:
- The Hall of Thanksgiving, featuring:
- Maps of the nations that have Thanksgiving Days. (There are about five of these.)
- Letters declaring a Thanksgiving holiday, from the governors of every
US state and territory, right down to the Northern Marianas.
- Plaques with corporate sponsorship.
- The Chapel of Thanksgiving,
where you can give thanks to the deity of your choice.
(I don't think they loan out stone knives for worshippers of chaos gods, but you
- The Garden of Gratitude, which is basically the nicest lawn in Dallas.
The last time I visited the Garden of Gratitude, someone came out
and yelled that I was trespassing.
Most of Thanksgiving Square isn't open more than a few hours every day.
- The Circle of Thanksgiving, which you can step through, 24 hours a day.
Bronze, with gold leaf and urethane coating. Any web search for "Thanksgiving
Square" will run across a web page that describes this circle, courtesy of its
proud electro-plating agency.