Archives

Texas Demonyms: Dallasites, Victorians, and Everything In-Between

A demonym describes the inhabitants of a place. With so many cities and counties in Texas, it’s hard to keep track of who is what from where. Word scholar W.F. Strong has a helpful list to keep you on track. For places ending in “s”, add “-ites” Dallas – Dallasites Dumas – Dumasites For places…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Life of Tom Landry, the Man in the Hat

Tom Landry and Charles Schulz died on the same day: Feb. 12, 2000. Mike Thompson, the Detroit Free Press cartoonist honored them both with a cartoon showing them entering the pearly gates together. Schulz was depicted as Charlie Brown and Landry had his arm around him. Landry said, “Now a few pointers on kicking a…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Words, They are a Changin’

Slang is the working class of words. Carl Sandburg said “slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.” But slang is always changing. For an older guy like me, It’s hard to keep up with. Did you know that “on fleek,” “squad,” and “lit” are on…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oscar Wilde’s Tour of Texas Gives Us Life

Oscar Wilde said, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.” He would be pleased to know that we’re going to talk a good deal about him in the next few minutes. Few people know that this great playwright, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

‘You May All Go to Hell’ And 9 More Great Texas Quotes

1. “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” Davy Crockett said this angrily after losing his Tennessee bid for the U.S. Congress. I think he really said, “Y’all can go to hell,” but grammatical purity likely corrupted the original transcription. 2. Mary Lasswell, who grew up in Brownsville and wrote…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Mysterious Texan and the Ranchers’ Convention

The story goes that there was a convention of landowners – mega farmers and big ranchers – up in Denver. There were four men sittin’ around in the bar there in the fancy resort, enjoying happy hour. Three of them were swappin’ stories about their farms and ranches and generally braggin’ about their land holdings….

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Three Secrets of Life From My 101-Year-Old Mother

My mom lived to be 101 and five months. She said once you reached 99, you started counting your age like a newborn – in months: 99 and six months, 99 and nine months. She used to advise that if you wanted to live to be a hundred, you should live to be 99 and…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Airline That Started With A Cocktail Napkin

This story starts off like many good stories do: two men walked into a bar. Now, we have to expand it a little, two men walked into a bar in San Antonio fifty years ago. Okay, it was actually a restaurant & bar. They ordered drinks, and perhaps hors d’oeuvres. One grabbed a cocktail napkin,…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Listen: 12 More Words Texans Mispronounce

There are three kinds of Texans: those with an accent, those without an accent, and those who don’t think they have an accent, but do. About a year ago, I made a list of the 12 most commonly mispronounced words in Texas. Well, they weren’t absolutely unique to Texas – some were Southernisms, but they…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In the Land of Pickups, Texas is King

To paraphrase Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, “I love the sound of a diesel engine in the morning.” Could be a pickup, or a tractor, or an 18 wheeler. But I love the sound, because it sounds like adventure. It is the sound that says we’re off on a road trip, or going fishing, hunting,…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What’s the Story Behind the ‘Fair Sailing Tall Boy’ Memorial?

You’ve probably seen this memorial if you’ve ever driven on Lamar Blvd in Austin. It’s right there, on the pillar holding up the train bridge where Third Street crosses Lamar. It says: “Fair Sailing Tall Boy. Ivan Garth Johnson. Not forgotten. 1971 – 1989. Don’t Drink and Drive, You Might Kill Someone’s Kid.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m Mad, Too, Eddie!

There are three classic Texas ad campaigns that would be shortlisted in the Texas Advertising Hall of Fame, if we had such a thing. They are: Blue Bell Ice Cream’s “We eat all we can and we sell the rest,” “Don’t mess with Texas” – arguably the most brilliant public service campaign ever created, and…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Think There’s No Poetry In Texas? Think Again

A New Yorker told me that he never uses the words Texas and poetry in the same sentence. He thinks Texas poetry is an oxymoron because he doesn’t see how such a refined art form could be produced in a macho culture. But he is wrong. Cowboys and vaqueros were reciting poetry in the warm…

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Time It Never Rained

The great Texas meteorologist Isaac Klein reportedly said back in the ’30s that Texas is a land of eternal drought, interrupted occasionally by biblical floods. Here is the way one writer describe one of these twenty-year droughts: “It crept up out of Mexico touching first along the brackish Pecos River, and spreading then in all…

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Texas Rancher and the New York Banker

This story comes under the heading of “folklore,” a story that rises up out of the people and migrates and mutates. There is a New York version, a Jewish version, an Italian version, a Southern version and a Texas version, where I believe it originated, but that is likely because I am a Texan. It…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Story of James Dean and the Shamrock Hotel

James Dean – in the movie “Giant” – tells Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor that he has struck oil. And not only that, it’s payback time. James Dean was playing Jett Rink, a hard drinkin’, brawlin’, tough-talkin’ uncultured Texas wildcatter who struck it rich. But everybody in Texas knew that he was really playing Glen…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s An Apple Pie Recipe For Any Texan Holiday

Every Christmas my mom would bake eight pies: four apple and four pecan. Now, we wouldn’t eat all of those ourselves. Two would be given away to pie-less people and two would be placed in the deep freeze for some emergency of the future. Pies and money were similar in my mom’s mind. Save a…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

What You Might Not Know About the Texas Constitution

If you want to hold public office in Texas, you have to believe in God. You cannot serve even as dog catcher – if it’s an elected office, you must believe in God. Given the long history we have had of con artists, and scofflaws, carpetbaggers, and white-collar criminals holding public office around the state,…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

One Texan In The Global Village

There is an unusual map of the world that was once a popular poster. You still see it around in many places because it is a map that makes you see the world in new ways. This map reduces the world’s 7.3 billion people to a village of just 100 people. It keeps all the…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Top 12 Quotes From ‘Lonesome Dove’

Spoiler alert! In case you’ve been under a rock in Ogallala for the last three decades, this story contains spoilers for “Lonesome Dove.” Since I am, like many Texans, an amateur expert on “Lonesome Dove,” people often ask me what I figure are the most loved quotes from the miniseries. If I were wise, I…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,