Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Texas

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

A movie about and set in Texas starred mega-stars Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. It was a huge box office draw in the early 1960s! The state itself may have dictated the wide screen and mega stars --Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.

The movie was GIANT, inspired by The Edna Ferber novel of the same name! Giant, indeed!
The photo (left) is of the famous Monahans Sandhills west of Odessa, Texas, a city with an interesting history as a destination of gunslingers and seekers after the many treasures that were said to have been buried in West Texas by various outlaws, the Spanish, and Mexican Revolutionaries.
Texas is the second most populous, the second most extensive of the 50 states. It can boast (and often does) that it is the largest of the 48 contiguous United States with an area of over 268,000 square miles and a growing population of some 25.7 million residents.

The word 'Texas' is from the Caddo --Tejas which means 'friend' or 'ally'. It was the Spanish which appropriated the Caddo word and applied it to Texas.

Texas shares a long, winding international border with Mexico, specifically the states of Chihuhua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas as well as borders with the US states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States. San Antonio --home of the famous Alamo --is the second largest city in the state, seventh largest in the U.S. Depicted in the montage are portions of downtown Houston and, below, an interior view of Houston's 'Galleria' --a famous mall just outside loop 610 at Westheimer Rd. The Galleria is famous for its ice skating rink and a 'collection' of designer shops that probably exceed the famous 'Rodeo Drive' in Los Angeles.
In the 70's, a New York columnist (as I recall) dubbed Houston the "Golden Buckle of the Sunbelt". The monicker may have stuck:
Houston, Texas is the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country, with a diverse population of nearly six million and thousands of dynamic, growing businesses. Much of that growth is powered by the energy sector: Houston's nearly 4,000 energy-related companies are responsible for almost half of the city's economic output.
New ideas in energy, however, aren't always received with a warm welcome. "Energy companies can be very risk-averse," says Sarah Groen, a business consultant and investor. "That makes the market very tough for new businesses to break into."
Groen and her business partner, Kirk Brand Coburn, are working to change the status quo with the launch of SURGE Accelerator, an incubation and mentorship program for startups in the energy software space. Companies accepted into the program can focus on anything from digital oil field data to consumer energy efficiency--"as long as it's focused around energy, we're interested," says Groen.
In the program, which launched a year and a half ago, SURGE provides each company with $30,000 in seed funding, free office space, and access to dozens of mentors in Houston's vibrant energy sector in exchange for a six percent common equity stake. Over the course of the three-month program, the entrepreneurs focus their business models and learn from their mentors and one another; the program culminates with the opportunity to pitch to investors on SURGE Day.

"Most entrepreneurs are coming not for the money," says Groen. "It's for mentorship and the program, and access to investors they'd have trouble meeting otherwise."

--SURGE Accelerator Sets Out to Revolutionize the Energy Industry in Houston
It's now official: with a population of six million, greater Houston is now the nation's fourth largest city! Only New York, Chicago, Los Angeles are larger. The metropolitan areas of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Other major cities include El Paso, the western most city in Texas and Austin --the state capital. Depicted (below, left) are downtown Houston (at sunset) and, below it, Houston's famous Galleria Mall. Inspired by the 'Galleria' in Milan, it was appropriately a pioneering work by developer Gerald Hines. Indoor malls with several levels of shopping integrated with both residence and office towers were groundbreaking at the time.

Because it was once an independent republic, Texas is sometimes called the Lone Star State. It is also a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico which most Americans associate with the siege at the Alamo. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texas state seal today. Another reminder of the Texas struggle for independence may be found just east of Houston where the 'Battle of San Jacinto' was fought and won by Gen Sam Houston for whom the present city is named. The following videos are a showcase of some of the most beautiful photography of Texas that can be found. Enjoy the tour.

Of late, Texas has acquired a bad name, a process begun, I believe, with the arrival of the Bush crime family, the assassination of JFK, the FBI atrocities against the Branch Davidians and, of course, the utterly failed and criminal regime of one George W. Bush!

By the way, George W. Bush is NOT a 'Native Texan'; he was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Sadly, thanks to GWB, it will require a small miracle to undo the harms done to education, the prison system and the 'state' of justice in the once and future great state of Texas!

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