We were in Houston not long ago, a city we've always had a hard time grasping exactly what it's about. Banking and oil seem big here, but since we rarely see anything but the advertised face of these conglomerates we have little idea what they really stand for except profits.
Perhaps it's the size of Houston that makes it seem ungainly. Houston has the skyscrapers to prove it to be the 4th largest city in the US, but the spaces between the buildings makes the city feel smaller. The sidewalks aren't crowded, nor are the streets packed with commuters rushing to get into, or leave the city. We were a bit perplexed as to how those buildings were filled each day. During the evening, and especially on the weekend, the downtown was a virtual ghostown inhabited largely by out-of-towners, small gaggles of loft-dwellers, and the homeless. There must be pockets of buzzing action in Houston, we just didn't see it happening downtown.
We did see something that pretty much sums up the Bush II Years. The JP Morgan Chase Bank building in Houston suffered some minor damage from Hurricane Ike. Many of the windows on the lower floors were blown out, only to be replaced by sheets of plywood. Somehow, the windows in the upper floors still remain intact. Until we really change things in this country, the minions will remain locked in a plywood closet staring at a computer screen while the echelon controls the view of the surrounding landscape.