THE BLOG
08/28/2007 08:07 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Live Large, Think Big

Back from Texas, deep in the heart of. Spent the weekend in Big D speaking to the Dallas Screenwriters Association, filling in for the Mariners (in town to play the Rangers), and risking gout with every meal. On every corner there's either a steakhouse or a church. One place called "Holy Cow" could be either or both.

The current Dallas motto is "Live Large, Think Big" which is much better than "Not Just Hot But Humid".

Believe it or not, Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City (although NYC has a huge lead in salad bars) and more shopping centers per capita than any city in the U.S. "Eat Large, Spend Big".

It is a surprisingly cosmopolitan city. Gorgeous downtown skyline, with its tall towers outlined in shimmering green and white lights. There are museums, a night life, and be careful going to that shit-kicker bar, it just might be gay.

Not to further tarnish Dallas' sparkling redneck reputation but until recently their mayor was a woman...and Jewish, Laura Miller. And in 2004 Lupe Valdez was elected sheriff of Dallas County. She's the first Hispanic, first woman, and first openly gay lesbian to ever fill that role. Hey, she might've had better luck getting into Miss Kitty's bloomers than Marshall Dillon ever did.

Stayed at the Arlington Hilton and had a lovely view of people throwing up from 700 feet on the Six Flags Over Texas thrill rides. Nearby is Hurricane Harbor, a waterslide amusement park. I'm sure it's very refreshing if you pretend that hundreds of people don't pee in it a day.

Football is king in Dallas. High school games routinely draw from 20 - 50,000 people. And still, no one watches FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.

Meanwhile, the entire world stops for the Dallas Cowboys. Last week when the Rangers broke an all-time major league record by scoring 30 runs in one game they still shared the front page of the sports section with the Cowboys training camp report on wind sprint drills.

They're building a new stadium for the Cowboys in Arlington, affectionately known as Jerry's World (for Jerry Jones, the team's owner). It's costing in the neighborhood of one billion dollars, will have a retractable roof, and the two largest glass panels in the world. Which makes sense financially because the stadium will be in use eight times a year.

Had to once again see the Texas School Book Depository (now an excellent museum) where Oswald shot Kennedy. Forget that it's across the street from a Morton's Steakhouse, it's still pretty chilling. And on the street itself are X's where the shots landed. I don't think they needed the guys standing around selling grisly pictures however. America remembers and profits.

Saw the grassy knoll and the white picket fence that hid the alleged "second shooter". But it's not the original picket fence. It's a replica. The real one I understand (true story) was sold on ebay.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the Conspiracy Museum to reopen. Their previous landlord booted them out -- a plot no doubt engineered by the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, Korean airlines, and Posh Spice. I hope my phones aren't tapped because I wrote this.

If you go to Black Eyed Pea's and order your first chicken fried steak (like I did fifteen years ago when I was fulltime with the Mariners) don't ask them to cook it "medium rare". I did and it was an E.F. Hutton moment as forty guys named Dirk stared at me in disbelief and disgust.

When you think of Dallas -- what comes to mind besides JFK, football, cured meats, heat prostration, people carrying weapons, the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, rodeos, rodeo clowns like our president, country clubs, "Country" Charlie Pride, evil oil companies, the Renaissance Hotel that looks like a Bic lighter, ,J.R. Ewing, Dr. Pepper, Texas-Instruments, SMU, Verne Lundquist, the first Neiman Marcus, the Savings & Loan crisis, Tex-Mex, cheerleaders, and "Debbie Does"? Why radio station jingles of course! Dallas is the home of JAM Creative Productions the largest radio jingle mill in the country. Big D is filled with gifted singers who would all have huge careers if they could only sing songs that were longer than eight seconds.

There's a chain of convenience stores called "Grab and Go". I guess their target customers are robbers.

And the police have recently instituted a "no pursuit" rule so it's "Grab and Go At Your Leisure".

Goff's Hamburgers no longer has an eight-foot statue of Vladimir Lenin out front. I don't know about you but nothing says tasty burgers to me like the Russian Revolution.

If you want tacos there's Taco Bueno, Taco King, Taco Cabana, Taco Bell, Taco Diner, Taco Express, Taco Grande, Taco Pronto, and Taco Loco Wagon. If you want a good deli, good luck. It's easier to find a mountain in Dallas.

For Italian, there's the aptly named Campisi's Egyptian.

My dining trips took me to Pappadeaux, which was excellent (I find the more unpronounceable the title, the better the Cajun cuisine), Lawry's for a light lunch, and Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse BBQ, clogging Dallas arteries since 1910. "Live Large, Think Pig".

Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Mavericks, supposedly answers his email. Not true. I dropped him a note saying I'd be in town, and wondered if he could show me Bonnie Parker's grave. He never responded, the bastard.

How perfect! There's a highway named for George Bush... and it's a toll road.

Guns are not allowed in bars or libraries.

Sunday night I filled in for the great Dave Neihaus and broadcast the Mariners-Rangers game back to Seattle. It was my first time in their new stadium. Originally named "the Ballpark", they must've felt that was too generic because they've now renamed it the far more colorful, "Rangers Park". What they really should call it is "the Typhoon". My God! It was like the movie TWISTER. I fully expected to see a cow fly by the booth as I was describing the action.

Taking a cue from the Dodgers, the Rangers experimented this weekend with a "Country Style" section. For you tenderfoots and Jews, that means "all you can eat". For only $29 fans could stuff themselves into oblivion. The tickets sold out almost immediately. The experiment was so successful the team next year plans to release their expensive players and replace them with corn dogs and ribs. Future tie-in promotions include: "Heart Attack Night" and "Heimlich Maneuver Night".

We have a contest on M's radio where we give a fan $7,000 if the team scores seven runs in the 7th inning. The Rangers had a similar one pay off last week - their "30/30" contest. If Texas scores 30 runs in a game one lucky listener wins a can of 30 grade motor oil. Enter these things because you just never know.

All in all, I had a great trip. I would've gained twenty pounds if I didn't stop off at Six Flags Over Texas for some thrill rides on my way out of town.

"Live Large... or Think Bulimic."

You can read more from Ken Levine at http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/