Sunday, December 30, 2012

Techno Dinos

We were lucky to catch one of the finals days of the "Dinosaurs: Big, Bad, Bold and Back Robotic Exhibit" at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, MS.  You know how much we love our robot dinosaurs!
Here are a few picture and video samples from the Kokoro exhibit:

Raptor attack:

A new momma with her hatchlings:

A family of dinos:

Saturday, December 29, 2012


We found an awesome exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science!  Take a look at a live two-headed snake:

We've seen a dead one before at the (now defunct) Million Dollar Museum but this is the first time we've seen a live one.  Here's the story:

I hope they get along.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Geology Kitchen #9 - Plate Tectonics

This episode discusses the scientific theory of plate tectonics, in which the Earth’s crust is subdivided into a series of large and small tectonic plates. Convergent, divergent or transform boundaries are discussed and demonstrated with brittle graham crackers and icing to illustrate the motions of the plates at these boundaries.   A second demonstration consisting of heating cream in a pan, representing convecting upper mantle, driving a relatively brittle layer of cocoa powder (the Crust).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Native American Tools & Artwork

Here's a clip from some video we shot a few years ago at Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, TX.  Artist James Coverdale of the Kiowa tribe shows some Native American tools and artwork:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Location #34 - TNT's Dallas Episode #7

Tracking down Dallas filming locations is definitely bittersweet these days since the passing of Larry Hagman and with the question of how his absence will affect the future of the show.  But we soldier on with episode 7.

Whenever one of the Ewings is arrested (which, of course, happens frequently) they are sent to the Jack Evans Police Headquarters:

Bobby earned a trip here for pimp-slapping Skinner from the X-Files.  The building is directly across the street from the bar where John Ross and Christopher sometimes hang out and a block or two over from the South Side Apartments where Rebecca (and possibly John Ross) live.

Later John Ross and Elena are felling a little peckish and it was time to get their burger on so they headed to the Twisted Root Burger Company in the Deep Ellum area (near downtown Dallas):

The burgers here are really good (I recommend the Buffalo Burger) but they don't come with fries.  You have to order them on the side and I hate that!  Come on guys, you know everybody wants fries with their burger.

So when John Ross thinks he spies his crazy-lady business partner/girlfriend/enemy he rushes outside:

And looks at the cage which is apparently on the side of the restaurant:

In the light of day you can see that it's not a cage but a fenced in dining area for eating outside:

All this talk about burgers has made it very likely that I'll be heading to Twisted Root for lunch today.  But before we go, and since we are on the topic of the Deep Ellum area, here's a quick video we shot of our pal Jesse James Arnold.  He's a local historian and here he recounts his experiences as a child visiting Deep Ellum:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

On Location #33 - Walker, Texas Ranger Eps 5 & 6

It's time to ride shotgun with Walker again as we wade through episodes 5 & 6 of season 1.  We're doing two episodes because both had few locations (at least few that I can find).
In episode # 5 Walker heads to a rough and tough biker bar to pretend to arrest his partner who is undercover as a rough and tough biker.
The location seems to be Strokers on Harry Hines which you might also recognize from Tru TV's show "Ma's Roadhouse" or from our recent ("Dino Sighting").  It looks a lot different now but the address number, which is visible in the episode matches up.
In the episode 6 Alex gets kidnapped (or something) and Walker has to go to her apartment to check on her.  Apparently she lives in a loft on Main Street in Deep Ellum.

The ornate tile art was a dead giveaway for this location and is still there, which fits in nicely with the artsy/hippie vibe that Deep Ellum has:

Two more episodes down, many many more to go!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marking Time #29 - Bonnie & Clyde

Notorious outlaws Bonnie & Clyde left a trail of chaos in their wake until their grisly deaths.  Their final resting places are in the North Texas area near where their lives and criminal careers began.  Although they lived and died together they are not buried together so our first stop is Western Heights Cemetery in Dallas:

It's west of downtown Dallas and has a history all it's own:

The marker reads:

"Located on part of the original William Coombes survey, burials in this cemetery date to the 1850s. Originally known as Troth, it was formally dedicated in 1881, when land was set aside for a "graveyard forever" by Z. E. Coombes and W. R. Fisher. Pioneers interred here include W. R. Fisher, Z. E. Coombes, John and Rosina Loupot, Mary Ellen Cole Tuggle, and Heinrich and Anna Struck. Also buried here are verterans of the Civil War and World Wars I and II, and Clyde and Buck Barrow. Trinity Oaks Church of Christ maintains the historic cemetery."

Clyde's grave is typically adorned with booze bottles, shotgun shells and cigarettes but when I went there were just a few plastic flower arrangements:

Bonnie's grave is Crown Hill Memorial Park about 10 miles to the north.  Apparently she also has some posthumous fans who tend to her grave.  On the day I went a lone cigarette was placed about the headstone:

So there you have the final resting place of two notorious nogoodniks and cultural icons.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dinosaur Sighting #3 - Dance Party!

Those pesky dinosaurs are everywhere these days!  It looks like they even figured out how to get on the roof:

Strokers Ice House in Dallas has a nonstop rooftop dance party going on featuring a variety of wacky characters including a few dinosaurs like a raptor dancing with a hot dog:

A triceratops painted like the Texas state flag: 

And a party-pooper raptor standing in the corner:

And the dinosaur invasion continues...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

On Location #32 - TNT's Dallas Episodes 5 & 6

 It's time to check in with the Ewings again as they swagger across Texas with their wheelin' and dealin' ways.  In the fifth episode John Ross needs to have another of his beloved "secret meetings in VERY public places."  We've seen him pull this move at Cowboys Stadium and at the State Fair of Texas.  This time he picks One Arts Plaza in downtown Dallas to meet with his private detective.

If you ever go there yourself and you have a camera then you will most likely be accosted by the building's security in about 30 seconds.  At least that's what happened to me. 

Like this episode, the next episode is also light on location shooting (lots of scenes at Southfork, various offices, etc.) but it does give us one of several views of the South Side Apartments where Rebecca lives.  I think, based on the view from his windows, that this is also where John Ross lives.  I guess they are neighbors.  Maybe he recommended it to her when she got kicked off the ranch.  That would have been nice of him.

So there's you're latest look at how the Ewings live, work and have secret meetings.  More coming soon!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Separated at Birth: The Twin Dilemma

Outside of the south Dallas location of Schepp's Dairy stands a four legged sentry who keeps two great big eyes on the comings and goings of the busy distribution center.

Not a big deal, you say?  Cow statues are plentiful...especially in Texas, you say?  Well, ok, you're right but this one seemed familiar and as I rummaged through my hard drives of pictures and video...

I stumbled across this little beauty in Benbrook, TX, about 60 miles east of the other one:

The resemblance is striking.  Long lost twins, perhaps?  Our friends at Roadside America tell us there are multiple mega-cows grazing along the back roads of the U.S. and that there are standard fiberglass models and not so standard fiberglass models.  But I think it's safe to say that these two are from the same herd.

So what's the story?  Were they both previously perched at Schepp's and then one got out when the farmer left the gate open?  Are their origins completely separate from Schepp's and then later the dairy got a hold of one of them?  Another open case file in the world of roadside mysteries...

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Tribute to Big Tex

Today we lost a friend.  Year after year he was always there for us with a smile and a wave.  He was a long lost friend who we found every fall as he welcomed us back to our childhood.  Frivolity and fun were his stock in trade.  He didn't judge and he never demanded.  We all got older and changed but, despite a few new shirts, his spirit remained the same.

Every year, shortly before the State Fair of Texas would begin, he would come back into our lives like clockwork: 

And every year, after the fair concluded, he would return to that fantastical realm populated by his contemporaries Paul Bunyan and Santa Claus.  He found time to become a part of our lives and our culture.  You may remember his appearance in King of the Hill:

Or in the 1962 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "State Fair":

He even found time to team up with the X-Men to help save the day:

But it was his day to day duties as a goodwill ambassador that earned him a spot in our hearts.  And that's how we'll all remember him.

Next year Big Tex will most certainly be rebuilt, hopefully retaining as much of his original physical structure as possible, but, more importantly, retaining the true heart of a Texan.  After all, he died with his boots on...and that's all any of us can ask.

 Big Tex
1952 - 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Marking Time #28 - Collin County Prison

Collin County had its own tiny little prison.  The historic building is still standing and can be found next to McKinney's downtown square (which, as you may recall, was the setting for the climax of an early episode of Walker, Texas Ranger).  Some of its famous residents include Frank James and a member of Bonnie & Clyde's gang.

Despite all this, the building's historical marker is all about the architecture and touts that it is one of the few buildings designed by F.E. Ruffini that is still standing.

The marker reads:

     "Designed by F.E. Ruffini, Architect of numerous Public Buildings in Texas in the late 19th century, this High Victorian Italianate structure served as the Collin County Prison for 99 years. Completed in 1880, it was modified in 1938 with Funds from the Federal Public Works Administration. Prominent features of the building include its bracketed Cornice and Arched Windows. It is one of the few F.E. Ruffini structures remaining in the state."

There is an attorney's office currently housed in the building but over the years it has been a book store and a restaurant.  Back when the restaurant was open it was called the "Prison Bars & Grill" and we visited there to shoot some video.  Check it out:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Devin Wins an Award!

Congratulations to our own Devin Dennie for the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners' "Texas Top Producers Award" in the "Best Geoscientist" category for his work in the Oil & Gas Industry!

The awards were announced in the August 2012 issue of Texas Monthly:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Location #31 - TNT's Dallas Episodes 3 & 4

It's time for another visit with the Ewing clan and a look at the locations behind their wacky shenanigans.  In episode 3 of the new Dallas, trouble maker Cliff Barnes takes a trip to Big D and stays at the Omni Hotel downtown:

This shot was taken near the former Reunion Arena parking lot.  Note the WFAA Tower/Antenna thing which has popped up in Walker, Texas Ranger and the movie State Fair.

Later, John Ross goes to visit his attorney to further his various evil schemes.  You can see the Crescent Hotel behind him.

His lawyer's office must be in the International Center/Rolex Building.  That building's parking lot is where I got this shot:

And while he didn't pick up a watch there he does get a pretty nice one in the next episode.  His crazy girlfriend/co-schemer/business partner takes him to the Neiman Marcus flagship store in downtown in the middle of the night (because they'll open right up for bigwigs like the Ewings):

The store is world famous but I didn't go in to take interiors pictures out of fear of getting dirty looks from the snooty staff (although that may be an unfair characterization on my part since I have no idea if the staff is snooty or not).

Like many downtown Dallas building this one has some history.  It also has its own sweet historical marker:

More Ewing hijinks coming soon!