Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Actually

Updated December 24, 2010

This is my Oklahoma City Christmas 2010 post. The background tune for all but one of the videos below is taken from the very fine 2003 movie Love Actually in which actor Bill Nighy plays an over-the-hill rocker (Billy Mack) trying to make a comeback with a hit Christmas tune. The full video clip showing his performance, only parts of which are shown in the movie, appears below.
If you want, you can play or download the MP3 tune here (left-click to play, right-click to download — depending on your web browser, select save link as ... or save target as...) or something like that.
Video: Mesta Park, Heritage Hills, St. Anthony   Video: Billy Mack
Video: Old Fashioned Christmas   Video: Downtown
Photos: Mesta Park, Heritage Hills, St. Anthonys   Downtown Photos


In all of the videos in this post, you can click the small icon in the lower right corner of the video viewer for a full screen view.

A Christmas Greeting From Old Oklahoma City

The video below consists of various photos of decorations in Mesta Park, Heritage Hills, and St. Anthony Hospital. Everything is old even if it's new — St. Anthony's origins date to 1898 and the Mesta Park and Heritage Hills homes have their beginnings around 1902. Many of the photos used in the video also appear separately below, after all videos.

You Know I Love Christmas I Always Will ...

The video below shows rocker Billy Mack together with a little help from his friends — ala Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love video — performing the tune first mentioned. The video gets pretty cheeky around the middle so don't watch it if seeing women's derrieres makes you want to shoot one or both of your eyes out. And, yes, Chaz Hill of Dustbury acclaim, this one contains the promised shoes, just for you ... if you're watching.

So This Is Christmas

As charming as the above may be to some, it does not capture the nostalgic or religious nature of Christmas remembered by most. My friend Carolyn Cuskey, curator of the Atkinson Center in Midwest City, forwarded me a Power Point file that she'd received from someone else but the author of which was unknown. It's a gorgeous presentation of old-time Christmas's set to John Lennon's "So This Is Christmas." I attempted to identify the file's origins but did not succeed, except to say that similar files were found in Russian websites. Enjoy the charm and beauty of Christmas's past with the music of John Lennon, below. You can download very nice and larger Power Point file here and email it to your friends.

Downtown Oklahoma City 2010
The photos in this video were taken on December 9 and 23, 2010.


The Mesta Park photos focus on the home of the Don Hawkins family. Since 2007, he has dazzled and entertained the neighborhood with the lavish Christmas display set to music played on his home-grown FM radio station — set your car radio to 101.1 FM and listen to the synchronized music and watch the stunning display. The flash file I put together above doesn't do the display justice at all. The home is located at 930 N.W. 19th Street, which is the southeast corner of N.W. 19th & Olie (one block east of Western). Of course, the best view is in person, but Don maintains several real-time videos at his website, Mesta Lights.

Click on any of the photos for a 1024 pixel wide view.

Mesta Park Photos

Heritage Hills Photos

St. Anthony Hospital Photos

Downtown & Bricktown Still Shots
Taken on December 9 and 23, 2010

I wish each and all of you a 2010 Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Tale of Two Energies

I took a number of photographs to see and show the status on goings-on downtown this morning, Saturday December 18, 2010 — one set to view what was going up and the other to view what was coming down. These are they, without much particular comment other than links to what has been said before.

In this post, click any image for a larger view.

Going Up      Coming Down

GOING UP — DEVON ENERGY TOWER. There was probably not one Oklahoma City citizen who was not busting his/her vicarious city-pride buttons when Devon Energy Corporation announced its intention on August 20, 2008, to build its new corporate headquarters tower on downtown space formerly occupied by nothing other than a parking garage and spaces, if city authorities agreed. This would not be just any other building but it would be the tallest building in the state and, without serious challenge, the most beautiful. Some skeptics did doubt, though, that it would ever get built.

Devon Energy has proven good to its word. Groundbreaking did occur on October 4, 2009, and construction progress has been nothing short of amazing. The photos below begin with the groundbreaking, another about a year later on October 9, 2010, and then those taken this morning on December 18, 2010. The project is on-schedule to be completed in 2012, a year and a few months after the date that today's photos were taken.

Groundbreaking on October 4, 2009

Progress since ground breaking has been chronicled well in's construction cam thread and its ongoing construction thread.

Progress as of October 9, 2010

Photos on December 18, 2010

COMING DOWN — SANDRIDGE DEMOLITION. The establishment of the SandRidge Commons proposal met with less enthusiastic community support for various reasons, not the least of which being that it would authorize the destruction of several historic downtown buildings, including the oldest still standing. Nonetheless, the project was approved and several historic structures have been and are being demolished as part of the plan. The photos below show the almost complete demolition of the Oklahoma City Savings & Loan Building and empty spaces where the old Kermac and YMCA buildings once stood. The soon to be razed 1902 India Temple is shown in the background of the 2nd and 3rd photos, below.

I've already added my observations about this project and no useful purpose is served by repeating them here. At this point, the best that can be hoped for, now that the damage has been and is being done, is that SandRidge Energy will finish what it has irrevocably started even though it is under no obligation to do so.

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