Destination: Oklahoma

Lessons From The Dancing Chickens

Lessons From The Dancing Chickens Photo by Sophia Dembling
Photo by Sophia Dembling

When I heard about the Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival in Woodward, Okla., my mind went directly to funnel cakes, face painting, and maybe a parade with a Lesser Prairie Chicken Queen. Sign me up, I said! I love small-town fests.

I’m kind of a moron sometimes. It wasn’t until I had my trip planned that I fully understood that a bird festival is where bird watchers gather to watch birds—in this case, lesser prairie chickens. Not only was funnel cake not part of the event, but the centerpiece of the weekend involved waking before dawn to spend three hours in a field watching chickens dance.

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Mixing Birding and Business Where Others Don’t Care to Go

Mixing Birding and Business Where Others Don’t Care to Go Photo by Sophia Dembling
Photo by Sophia Dembling

I love the idea of bird-watching.

I love birds, I love being out in nature, I love having something to do while I’m out in nature. Too bad I’m really bad at bird-watching. I can spot only the most obvious birds, I can identify only the most easily identifiable. Subtleties escape me. (What color are their feet? Are you kidding me?) If I’m with real bird-watchers and they do the spotting and identifying, I am capable of watching. That’s about it.

I love it anyway.

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Oklahoma Officially Rocks

Oklahoma Officially Rocks Photo by mrmatt via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Like I’ve been telling you, Oklahoma rocks. “Do You Realize??” by the Flaming Lips has been voted the state’s official rock song, beating out other Oklahoman-written rockers “Heartbreak Hotel,” “After Midnight,” “Never Been to Spain” (but, if you will recall, “I’ve been to Oklahoma”) and others. Read about the finalists, then listen to the winner on the Flaming Lips’ website or in concert video after the jump.

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Security Full-Body Scanners: Invasive? Effective? Both?

Photo by Stephen Witherden via Flickr (Creative Commons)

USA Today reported last week that Tulsa International Airport has started the use of full-body scanners in security. Passengers could decide whether to be screened in the scanner or through the traditional metal detector.

“The 35-year reign of airport metal detectors began its slow descent this week in Tulsa, where for the first time some passengers are skipping metal detectors,” the story reports. “People are instead being screened in a 9-foot-high portal with glass shields that rotate to produce vivid pictures of what is underneath passengers’ clothing.”

Each scanner costs $170,000 and produces “metallic-looking images” that “show outlines of private body parts and blur passengers’ faces.” It can detect “hidden items as small as a plastic button.”

Obviously, some are concerned about privacy, although the story reported that on a recent busy morning at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, only two people opted to go through the metal detector instead of the scanner. Another worry is that the full-body scanners could slow down the screening process. (The TSA has more.)

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Morning Links: 50 Great Travel Tweeters, Shark Attacks and More

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Who Knew Oklahoma Was Worth Seeing?

Who Knew Oklahoma Was Worth Seeing? Photo by Sophia Dembling
Photo by Sophia Dembling

Poor Oklahoma got hit pretty hard by storms the other night.

I have a special interest in the state these days, since I only recently realized it was there, in a way.

I mean, have you ever had one of those dreams where you open a door in your own house and find a whole wing you never knew you had?

That’s the way I feel about Oklahoma.

It’s been sitting right there all this time and I was so busy exploring Texas, I never even gave my neighbor, just 90 minutes north, a thought.

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Paul McCartney Does Route 66

The legendary Beatle and his girlfriend Nancy Shevell are apparently motoring west, driving a green ‘89 Ford Bronco with New York plates, and they’re leaving a wake of amazed fellow travelers as they head from Joplin, Missouri to Oklahoma City to Amarillo and so forth. What have we learned about Paul’s road tripping skills?

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