There was a time when air travel was not a giant pain in the ass. When you went to sleek terminals that reeked of the romantic adventure of flying, where you walked out to your plane and up one of those stairway ramps past the propellers, where there wasn't a sneaker search or a Starbucks in sight. You can still get a whiff of that time at the old terminal at Hobby Airport, which sits in all its Art Deco glory off to the side of the massive operation that's there now. The museum inside isn't exactly designed for the ADD-wracked video-game crowd, but it's a charming glimpse into the past.

Nobody is ever sad at The Big Easy, at least not for long. So what if your ex got over you in like two seconds and is now engaged to a millionaire? You can't be worried about that, there's music to dance to and booze to drink. There's live music almost every night, and most often there's no cover charge (when there is, it's a measly $5 or so). And Big Easy regulars do something called "blues dancing," a kind of do-your-own-thing-whatever-that-is style that includes lots of semi-grinding, sensual posing and shaking with some dips thrown in. "Blues dance" a couple of times and your ex won't even cross your mind.

Best Place to Look Like You're ­Exercising When You're Really ­Cruising

Memorial Park Jogging Trail

Historic Camp Logan, the WWI military camp, makes up much of the area that is now Memorial Park. These days, so many couples meet and date on its jogging trails, some call it Camp Romance. Memorial Park is one of the largest parks in the country and in addition to the jogging trails, there's a pool, a golf course, tennis courts, and...oh, what the hell...all you care about is cruising. And yes, there's plenty of cruising going on. Wearing skimpy shorts and tiny tops, joggers get a real look at what they're getting. Everyone is already sweating and breathing hard, jogging up and down, up and down, in rhythmic sync, up and down, so it's just half a step from really athletic sex. Love and seduction in running shoes — what could be better?

Here's what you do: Take your wallet out of your purse before walking into this Midtown corporate coffee haven. Once inside, order your drink and dig through your purse. "I think I forgot my wallet," you cry, a damsel in distress. Most likely one of the many good-looking, suited types who frequent the location morning and afternoon will come to your rescue. "Oh, thanks so much," you say with a bat of your lashes. You check his finger for a ring — empty. "Please let me make it up to you. Maybe we can meet here for another cup after work?" Presto. If that doesn't do it, then look no further than behind the counter, because this Starbucks stocks as many cuties clad in green aprons as it does coffee beans. Hey, we hear they have full benefits...

They're cute, dolled up and in cowboy boots — what else could you ask for in Texas? Leon's Lounge's monthly country music installment, Vinyl Ranch, gets all the ladies in a Southern mood. Not only do you get to hear the straight-from-the-phonograph hits of Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and more, but you also get to peruse a nice selection of tight-jean-wearing, cowboy-hat-sporting dolls wishing for a man to sweep them off their feet and onto Houston's tiniest dance floor. All this night is missing is the perfect way to impress a lady — that's right, a mechanical bull contest.

If you've ever been within a two-block radius of the downtown Greyhound Bus Station, you already know just how interesting this place can be. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it's where you can always get your people-watching fix. Cultural foreigners and foreigners in the literal sense of the word, bohemian types and people just passing through — you get it all. Best of all, it's not like the airport, where you have to have a ticket to get into the terminal. This is an all-access people-watching mecca.

The business of Houston has always been business, and while the world knows us as an oil town, real estate is where it's at. Ever since Houston's founding by the Allen Brothers, this city has been all about the art of the deal, Donald Trump style. What we've been lacking until recently is coverage of this industry with the sort of intelligence, snark and panache that brings to the table. Whether rattling off the latest wrecking-ball casualties in their Daily Demolition Report, leaking renderings of upcoming projects for the ridicule or acclaim of the city's architecture buffs or posting photos of random interiors and having readers guess the home's locale, Swamplot covers Houston real estate with consummate humor and a wicked sense of fun. And like they say, "Swamplot didn't flood during Allison. Honest!"

Radio is still an art at this 56-year-old institution. The oldest black radio station in Texas has ignored the streamlining so rampant elsewhere in the industry, so the station is all-local, all-the-time. Weekday mornings, 26-year-vet Michael Harris helms current affairs show "Person to Person"; afternoons are given over to the real-life moral dilemma dramas of Wash Allen's "Confessions" and Don Sam's soul, blues and zydeco oldies. Evenings bring Ralph Cooper's highly Houston-centric sports talk and plenty of grown-folks' music. As if all that were not enough, Mister Misty's stroke of midnight weekend performances are masterpieces of old-school radio theatrics.

This show is so obscure it's not listed on KCOH's Web site, and station representatives gave us the name of a different Dr. Watkins when we asked who hosted the show. In fact, they weren't really sure of the show's name, either, probably because it's a mouthful. But if you tune in Sundays from 6 to 7 p.m., you will hear some awesome old-school radio. Now in his seventies, Watkins has a gentle, soothing voice that appeals to his core audience, which appears to be African-American senior ­citizens. The other week, his cousin Julius called in with a question about how to get his local Walgreens to carry a certain type of foot powder, and they had a brief conversation like they weren't even on the air. Watkins told Julius to call him at home after the show. He also spent a good deal of that broadcast apologizing for using the word "pee." Chances are, you aren't suffering from any old-people ailments, but that doesn't mean you won't love this show.

It took two years and $17 million, but Houston finally has its downtown library back. Was it worth the wait? Not for some purists, maybe, who have carped that the place no longer seems as book-centric as a library should be. But the rest of us can revel in the wider, airier aisles, the coffee bar, the Wii room, everything the planners have done to get more people into the building. You can still find any book you want; you just have to dodge a little more of modern life while doing it. A good trade.

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