Sunday, February 12, 2006

Downtown Dallas

As I mentioned in my previous post my wife is here with me this weekend. Although she grew up in California her ancestors lived in Texas for quite some years before she was born and we spent most of today driving around finding addresses where her parents had lived. We also took the opportunity to visit her fathers grave[^]. Tomorrow we're heading east via Athens and Tyler to Longview to spend a few hours with her sister.

Now you can't visit Dallas without visiting Dealey Plaza[^]. This is my second time there; the first was just a trifle over 10 years ago, Sunday January 14th 1996 to be exact. Well, perhaps you can visit Dallas without going to Dealey Plaza but I couldn't if I have the time and the transport. I'm old enough to remember[^] the events that made Dealey Plaza famous.

I must have been preoccupied as we drove into downtown Dallas because I'm ashamed to admit that I drove right through a red light and didn't even realise I'd done it until my wife, gently, pointed it out. How fortunate that there was no other traffic, especially traffic of a law enforcement variety. I suspect my greencard would be sufficient to explode any plea I might make based upon my accent.

On Elm street, as it curves down toward the triple underpass, there's a white cross painted on the roadway marking the spot where the third shot hit JFK. It's out in the middle lane; today we saw tourists waiting for gaps in the traffic before darting out to stand on the spot. One woman knelt, camera in hand, to take a shot looking back toward the Texas School Book Depository building.

A little later we saw two twentysomethings giggling, kneeling, during a gap in the traffic, at the X as a third took a shot of them occupying the spot. My American wife was appalled at the lack of respect and I have to say that I agree with her. Whatever your politics let's not forget that someone died there. My wife suspects that the twentysomethings weren't Americans; I'm inclined to agree with her. You can say much about Americans but you can't doubt that they do respect their Presidents; at least if they're dead ones!

This is the age of the digital camera so I took lots of shots[^]; not just of Dealey Plaza but of the Dallas Skyscape. It looks pretty interesting actually. I suspect that the last remaining example of Pegasus, the 'Flying Red Horse', who was once the emblem of Mobil petrol stations the world over is here. You can see it in upper centre frame here[^]. They were phasing Pegasus out when I was a kid.

Right out at the front (or is it the back) of the Dallas Convention Centre there's an excellent sculpture of 40 or so steers being herded down a gully. Bronze, life sized and lifelike.

I said above that the X marks the spot where the third shot hit JFK. That's if you accept the Warren report on the assassination. It should come as no surprise to you that I don't. I think the entire 'magic bullet' theory is a crock of something not mentioned in polite society. I really enjoyed the Seinfeld version of that theory.

A little later in the afternoon we visited the Sixth Floor museum. You can't actually get to the window where Oswald allegedly fired the three shots that killed JFK. It's behind glass and out of bounds, but you can get to a window directly next to it. The X is clearly visible but trees obscure the road leading up to it. Even allowing for 40 years of tree growth I don't believe it possible for a single person, no matter how good they were, to have carried out the assassination. I'm very much inclined toward the 'triangulation' theory.

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