Here it is in a nutshell: the reality of 1:30am bar life. Verbena sees the 2:00am last call on the horizon. Semisonic will play “Closing Time,” and the jukebox will stop, the lights will come up, and the illusion will shatter. But in this brief moment, with Lloyd’s arm around her, his warm bourbony breath on her cheeks, and fiery hot nuts so accessible and so amazingly affordable, life is good.
This is one of the most telling portraits from Henry Horenstein’s book HonkyTonk, a book of fascinating black and white portraits he took mostly from the country and western scene in the 1970s. It’s hard to narrow a brief selection down, but there are sites that showcase many of them, such as http://clampart.com/2012/07/honky-tonk-portraits-of-country-music-2/#/13. However, I prefer to leaf through the book itself and create my own back stories.
Is Earl waxing nostalgic for his salad days, missing the boys in his high school rockabilly band, before the tattoos and the Kool habit? Before Arlene cheated with Vernon, his supposed best friend, and then a twister took Vernon to his maker, and isn’t that sweet justice?
Today’s post is Part II in the ongoing bliss that is discovering the Dept of Public Safety’s pictorial heritage. Pictured above is a badass Texas Ranger in an armored vehicle. As I lack a penis, I have no desire to commandeer said vehicle or even go near it. I will speak for most ladies who have no desire to appropriate or operate any sort of tankylooking thing. But those of you who do might want to take a little spin in it.
Police officers have a noble history of enforcing the law, which often means sucking the fun out of your good times. I would have let this guy go, since his car is so boss, but they have quotas to fill.
And don’t try to outrun them; they will go all Ponch and Jon on your bippy.
The Texas Rangers are part of a major division within the Texas DPS, who investigate serious crimes. They also will suck the wind out of a criminal’s sails. Cross the border to nasty swampland-subpar-highway-system Louisiana if you want to play craps; there’s no gambling in Texas.
And weed is still illegal, too–no matter what the dreadheaded, tiedyed-shirt-wearing potheads would have you believe. I don’t have glaucoma nor a criminal history, so I don’t get up close with Mary Jane, but I didn’t think it looked so much like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
And don’t think they’ll let you off with a warning. This Amish guy just galloped in from Pennsylvania, and he is exhausted, so he won’t think twice about putting a bullet in your gut. And he’s not the only one.
When Sergeant Guthrie smells something fishy, it is on. It is SO on.
And Sergeant Hall? Some say he’s certifiably insane, a bonafide 5150. I heard he picks possums off the highway, and eats them snout and all. Don’t sass him. He may take you to a Mexican prison if he’s feeling ornery. And that’s just for jaywalking.
And don’t let Officer Lowery fool you. Word on the street is he used to be the lethal injectioner at Huntsville. He thought sterilizing needles was a waste of time. So do I, for that matter.
Now look, they’re not all gruff. Officers Turner & Powell run the night shift, so that might be the perfect time to rob a 7-11. Just saying.
But you won’t run forever. Justice will have its day. They will see to it. Once information is sent from the transceiver, all hope is gone.
And trust me, you do NOT want them sicking Investigator Padgett on your ass. He’s a superhero, and I don’t mean his demon eyes. His power is oft compared to that of Spiderman, only his wide lapel shoots out disco balls filled with elephant tranquilizer. You don’t want to wake up from that sleep, ripe for interrogation.
Am I right or Amarillo?
(All of the above is purely for humorous purposes and in no way meant to disrespect any officer of the law. So please don’t sic Padgett on me…)
Memorial Day seems as fitting a day as ever to begin our weeklong (we’ll see about that) Texas Dept of Public Safety pictorial history retrospective, seeing as many officers lost their lives in the line of duty. However, today’s focus is not on lost life, but on the superbadassness of the department from 1935-1980. I realize this seems hyperspecialized, but these pics are a treasure trove of early law enforcement, as well as insight into the long-gone TWENTIETH CENTURY. You will witness early outdated, inefficient ways of doing things, like searching for fingerprints by hand and how to confirm if someone is a doublecrossing liar.
See how people used to communicate with typing thingies and wirey boxes.
Experience the communications hub, the leader in advanced technology.
You will meet important characters, like Pop and Paul!
Shoot the breeze with Viola and Barbara, both fashioned from the hands of Jim Henson!
And FYI, Mr. Curb is not about to take any crap from you today.
So join me as we take a long stroll through the halls of public safety. Drive safely!
I didn’t watch The Hardy Boys, but I listened to my Shaun Cassidy Born Late album until the vinyl wore thin. And “Teen Dream” was my favorite song. He sang about a “generation younger than rock ‘n’ roll,” which meant a generation born after 1955, which seemed HELLA old, since that was like my parent’s age. Ick. These were the people still weeping about Elvis falling dead on his toilet a few months ago. Why couldn’t they just listen to all of Shaun’s awesome songs and cheer up? Even a first grader could see that clearly.
I was going to marry Shaun Cassidy. That’s all there was to it. When you’re pre-pubescent, it’s the pretty boys, the non-threatening (read: effeminate) ones that do you in. And Shaun had everything; big doe eyes, smooth, feathered hair (not altogether unlike the hair of my best friend, who was a female), and a lovely vocal range, enabling him to hit the Teen Dream lyric “hurri-CANE” with skill. And you just know that if you were dating, and there was a misunderstanding, he would look into your eyes and hold your hands and you would discuss your feelings and never let the sun go down on your anger. Shaun Cassidy would never go all Chris Brown on you.
And if that wasn’t enough, watch how he brings his elbow down all butch at the end of the song. Work that stage, Hardy Boy!