Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Good afternoon from Texas

It is now the afternoon, and I had a very nice slice of pizza from lunch, from a New York-style pizza place where you can get one proper slice, instead of having to buy a whole substandard pizza.

David Bogner has an interesting thread going on, inviting you to suggest the most depressing song lyrics ever. I was going to say Paul McCartney's Frog Song, on the grounds that this is the writer who produced such greats as Eleanor Rigby previously, but while looking for the lyrics of the Frog Song (actually I'm not sure it has any lyrics) managed to get my computer infected with malaria or something, which caused some amount of trouble for a while.

Surely country music does have the most depressing lyrics ever, but this is because it also has the jolliest tunes. You always feel with country music that everything will be OK in the end, because the happy harmony communicates that subliminally. And this is exactly how country music can be so outrageously negative and get away with it. Country music is also the funniest music ever. I never really understood country music until I came to Texas, but now I love it. It sums up all the totally brilliant things about America that Europeans so often sneer at. There is nothing so fun as a hyperactive country band like the one we saw by accident last week (consisting of young studenty-looking people with nose-rings and tattoos, not what you would expect). The moment they began their act with a great big "Yeee-hawwww!" it was impossible to be miserable in the same building. Then they sang lots of songs called "Why I like to drink" (because his life was so miserable, obviously) and suchlike. Personally, I do not believe it for a moment. They looked like very cheerful young folk to me, and why not.

The continuing hatred of the rest of the world for all things Texan absolutely baffles me. It's always people who have never been here, too. Texas is surely the best place in the whole of Europe and North America at least! OK, so you may not agree, but I am fairly old and fairly well-travelled, so please concede that my opinion is worthy of respect at least unless you have been here yourself. I am not saying there aren't horrible ugly bits of this state, because there are. But there are also fantastic bits, the area where I live is brilliant, and the countryside is fabulous. And people are NOT raging right-wing racist crazies who shoot everything in sight, actually. They are incredibly well-mannered and very friendly. And if you want to live in a vegan chemical-free household with no air-conditioning because it is bad for the environment, I can point you in the direction of the advertising wall of my local laundrette. There are loads.

Also, I have discovered Big Lots (that isn't Texan, it's everywhere). Big Lots is the shop that answers the question posed by Wal Mart. Whereas Wal Mart seems to have cheap handy stuff, it it depressing and miserable. But Big Lots is fun because it has all sorts of rejected discounted stuff from other places. If you want a giant pretend light-up electric palm tree right now, Big Lots is the place to go! It doesn't look anything like a palm tree, and I don't know where you would put it, but it is definitely a bargain if you like that sort of thing. Go America!


At 8:15 AM, Blogger Rooster Cashews said...

All I ask is that you please tell me the pizza was not from Sbarro. And hopefully the pizza place was staffed by real screaming New Yorkers.

(5th generation Texan, and love real New York pizza more than any other food.)

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Linda said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Linda said...

My experience of Texas wasn't good, but then I'm sure it was colored by my time spent in Houston with my husband's (now ex's)family who personified many negative southern stereotypes.

Country music, well, I used to think I hated it, but then I realized that if all I heard of my preferred genres was from commercial radio, I would think I hated them too. I now love some of the alt and traditional stuff.

I would love to hear more about what you love about Texas.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger gcotharn said...

The first time I visited a very famous and very crowded pizzaria in Dallas, the veteran waitress was incredibly rude to our table. Rather than be offended, I was intrigued:

"Dang," thought I, "This pizza must be exceptionally good if she can get away with behavior like that."

And it was.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Sean Kinsell said...

Some of my favorite people live in Texas. I've enjoyed the politeness and big-heartedness of the locals immensely when I've been there.

But I'm sorry, I need landforms. I grew up at the foot of a tree-covered ridge in a state with all kinds of slopes and ravines and jutting rocks everywhere. The whole wide-open-spaces thing drives me nuts.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Rooster Cashews said...


Sounds like you went to Campisi's on Mockingbird. The staff is rude, the wait is long, but the food ain't half bad. The shame of it is the family (and I use the word family with respect) split up the business after Joe's death. The original shop is still there, but there are also outlying stores that do not match the charm of original.

For anyone interested in "Papa" Joe Campisi, see the link below

At 3:14 PM, Blogger gcotharn said...

sean kinsell:

Sounds like you suffer from the exact opposite of claustrophobia! I shall dub your condition "Kinsellaphobia": fear of having too much room to maneuver, and too much air to breath.


Good call! It was the original Campisi's, which is still on Mockingbird, and where I still love to eat. We went with a group of 4 on a Friday night, stood on the sidewalk line for 40 minutes waiting to get in, and the bee-hive hair waitress greeted us as if we had just insulted her mother, and then mugged the old woman for good measure. Thanks for the link. If you've never been in the "back room" of Campisi's, be sure to visit it the next time you are there, and to look at all the pictures on the hall wall on the way to that room. You will see super famous people, like Bob Hope, plastered on the wall beside unknown Italian lounge singers. Pretty cool.

At 3:40 AM, Blogger Sean Kinsell said...

Wouldn't Kinsellaphobia mean I'm afraid of myself? Or maybe the poet Thomas Kinsell? And anyway, we have plenty of air and room to maneuver in Pennsylvania--it's not all narrow Appalachian ravines. In fact, driving around all the hairpin turns and flying down hills where deer could leap out in front of you at any moment can be very thrilling. It's like the world is a big video game. :)

At 3:41 AM, Blogger Sean Kinsell said...

Oh, uh, the poet's name is Thomas Kinsella--my fingers went through the familiar motions and killed the joke. Darn.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger gcotharn said...

Yes, Kinsellaphobia would mean you are afraid of yourself. Let me think if, at some level, that's what I really meant ....:) Nah, I was just trying to make you more famous. So, the scientific name of what you really have is:

"Surroundedbydistanthorizonsaphobia": first discovered by Sean Kinsell; gleefully named by gcotharn.


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