“See ya Red States,” and a paean to Texas

October 16, 2008

You’ve seen it before — the letter saying toodle-oo to the red states, as the blue states muster the courage to let them go.  Somebody passed it along, I forwarded it to a few people I thought hadn’t seen it.

A discussion broke out.  Part of the discussion centered on Texas’s second secession from the U.S., and how nasty things can be in Texas (“It’s not the heat and humidity; it’s the hate and stupidity”).

A couple of exchanges in, I started to wince.  God knows Texas has its problems.  I haven’t even started in on the latest three months of lunacy at the State Board of Education where Creationist-in-Chief Don McLeroy is loosening his belt to drop his pants (figuratively, of course) and moon every kid in Texas before he eviscerates science education.

But — you know? — Texas has a couple of things going for it, reasons to smile while you’re stuck here.

Below the fold, the “So long, Red States” letter — but before that, a modest defense of Texas, as I wrote back:

I do regret that [y’all have] had such a difficult and unhappy time in Texas.  Texas is far from my ideal place, especially for the weather and lack of mountains (I appear to be losing the retirement fight – I wanted Jackson Hole, Kathryn wants Kanab.  Red rock wins with the family.)

And Yellowstone is a part of my soul, especially after we (probably illegally) scattered my brother’s ashes there in the last great family reunion before this past summer.

But, you know, Texas has some fine points that shouldn’t get overlooked. Especially, it doesn’t deserve to get every redneck.

Here are some of the great things about Texas:

It’s been a rather miserable 21 years in Texas for us, for a lot of reasons.  There are good things and good people in Texas.  It ain’t all gloomy.

Wildflowers not only do blossom where they grow:  They must blossom there.

Which reminds me, there are a dozen other wildflowers better than bluebonnets, and we haven’t even started on the magnificent grasses like big bluestem, little bluestem and side-oats grama.

(More humor below the fold.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Carnival’s coming . . .

June 3, 2007

A little business interference, but it’s coming shortly.  Stay tuned.

Fiesta de Tejas! call for blog posts

May 31, 2007

Carnaval au Texas, 1951 movie posterThe Juneteenth edition of Fiesta de Tejas! could use a few more posts about Texas history, Texas culture, Texas food, Texas travel, Texas dinosaurs, Texas wildflowers, Texas music (heck, we’re in the middle of the Kerrville Folk Festival, aren’t we?), and other things Texas.  Nominations are due today, for publication Saturday, June 2.  You may submit posts here.

And, truth be told, I’d like to see more nominations about the Texas Lege.  Oh, there are plenty out there; I’d like to see what you want to show off, or what you think others ought to see.  It was a banner year for Molly-Ivinsesque commentary on the legislature.  Sadly, Molly died last fall.  If you’ve seen someone channeling Molly Ivins’ ghost in commentary on the Texas Lege and the Crash of Craddick, point it out!

Blog Carnival submission form - fiesta de tejas!

You may also use the button above to nominate posts — how much easier can it get!  Fiesta de Tejas! the Texas history blog carnival, is comin’!

Call for posts, for 3rd Fiesta de Tejas!

May 28, 2007

The 3rd Fiesta de Tejas! will arrive on June 2, five days from today.

If you blog about Texas, or if you read blogs about Texas, please submit the best posts you wrote or the best posts you read, to share with others.   The best way to submit is through the Blog Carnival entry form:  http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_1298.html.

The carnival still needs a logo, and we can use some great art (with permission to publish).  Mostly, we need your contributions.

Texas history, Texas music, Texas culture, Texas geography, Texas food — send it along.

(Please feel free to copy this post and put it on your blog.  The more the merrier.)

Blog Carnival submission form - fiesta de tejas!

Fiesta de Tejas #2 – Cinco de Mayo edition

May 6, 2007

Welcome back! The Midway here at the Fiesta offers eclecticism beyond your wildest expectations, all about Texas. No sonnets, no haiku, no limericks. No faux movie themes. Nothing but Texas posts.

This is an unintentional Cinco de Mayo edition. I’m late, and I apologize to everyone who dropped by on May 2 and was disappointed.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates one of the greatest victories of the U.S. Civil War, a battle fought by neither Confederate nor Union soldiers, nor even on U.S. soil — and a battle generally omitted from Civil War accounts in U.S. history books. On May 5, 1862, the loyal Army of Mexico defeated an invading army of French and French Foreign Legionnaires, using smarter battle tactics and superb discipline. Union Gen. Phillip Sheridan rushed arms to the Mexicans to complete the expulsion of the French. Mexican patriots in this way frustrated Napoleon III’s plans to supply the Confederate States of America, giving vital time to the Union forces to muster a large army and manufacture the weapons and other machines used to defeat the South. Here is a biased account from a group in San Marcos, Texas.

Such a history is politically incorrect in an age when people think U.S. citizens should stay in the U.S., Mexican citizens should stay in Mexico, and that our fates are not intertwined in North America as they were in the 1860s. Perhaps that is why the events celebrated by Cinco de Mayo are ignored, officially.

But such disputes are what history writing and discussion is all about.

What else might we learn, politically incorrect or otherwise, from a carnival of Texas history and Texana? Let’s see, in no particular order.

Texas stuff

P. M. Summer offers a straight ahead view of a classic Texas Stetson hat, at Pop’s! Hat! History, Texas, heritage, nostalgia and a twinge of eccentricity, all rolled into one.
P. M. Summers' Stetson, from his father.

Politics and law: The Lege is still in session, and unfortunately Molly Ivins has not risen that we know of. Making sense of the Texas Legislature is an art generally beyond my ken. Others make a good stab, though. Capitol Annex explains the odd bill proposed to make it legal for kids to show their religion in public schools. It’s an odd bill because it grants no new rights, nothing in it is not already legal under state and federal laws, unless there is a hidden clause for proselytizing. Can you find such a clause? The bill has been delayed — stay tuned to see whether it passes, and in what form.

Here’s another view of the bill from South Texas Chisme.

Over at Kissmybigbluebutt, we get the modern lowdown on another Texas tradition, the unconcealed carry. Check the date — there is no such thing as “May Fool’s,” right?

Grits for Breakfast found a bright spot at the Texas Youth Commission, the bunch that runs the “camps” for youth offenders where allegations of abuse have mushroomed in the past year, and which has been forced to release many kids. This is about the only bright spot in this long, sad saga (see this post, and follow links, from DallasSouthBlog, for example).

Education: TexasEd is a site by a Texas home schooler, but which spends a lot of time looking at education policy in Texas, generally — a good site during a legislative session, as demonstrated by this short post on attempts by private schools to get the state to pay for athletic championship series by private schools.

Run, Rick! Run! — Pink Dome found this photo of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. In the red shirt.

Preventing abuse of the Texas flag: It’s nice to discover another group concerned about flag etiquette. I’m pleased to refer questions about Texas flag etiquette to another blog — The Daily Flag. (I also note some history posts from this site, below.)

Real story, real immigrant, real lawyer: Dallas is a wilderness? Perhaps to an immigrant, it may appear unfriendly. Wilderness in the City featured a short story about a lawyer getting a favorable result in an immigration case. Check your stereotypes at the courtroom door.

SMU professors stood up for science, but the “conference” on intelligent design proceeded anyway. Texas physician and blogger Dr. Zach attended and reported on the events. This will figure into the textbook adoption process in Texas, for biology text books, mark my words. At Goosing the Antithesis, Dr. Zack covered the event in a series of posts: Michael Behe, Lee Strobel, Jay Richards, Stephen Meyer, Q&A session, and Dr. Zach’s final thoughts.

Texas defined, perhaps ambiguously: Georgia O’Keefe meets the Beverly Hillbillies, at Chatoyance. (I’m assuming the photo was taken in Texas.)

Texas history

Kay Bell is at it again at Don’t Mess With Taxes. Her San Jacinto Day post on April 21, “Texas Triumphant,” lays out the story of the battle that won Texas independence from Mexico — the Texians lost the Battle of the Alamo, remember, and then surrendered and were slaughtered at Goliad. San Jacinto was the place Sam Houston got the drop on Santa Anna and the larger force, the great Army of Mexico. It was the place, Kay might say, where “Don’t Mess With Texas” first got meaning. In past years, Texas seriously celebrated the day, before Texas high school history standards downplayed the Texas Revolution.

The Daily Flag has a series on the Battle of San Jacinto, with several photos of this year’s re-enactment. Here is the last of the series, with links to the others.

Is it fair to point to a podcast? Let’s see if anyone complains. Over at The Texana Review, Ed Blackburn has a podcast interview with William Keller, the director of the Houston History Project. This couples two of my favorite causes, local history, and pushing technology. If you haven’t listened to podcasts, it’s time to start — do it here and now. Especially if you’re a high school teacher of history, economics, geography, government or some other topic, you need to be using podcasts. No, not just listening to them — using them. What do you think all those iPods are for?

While you’re at The Texana Review, you may want to check out Blackburn’s podcasts on the history of the Texas Rangers, focusing on Joaquin Jackson’s book, One Ranger: A Memoir. Even 7th grade students can get interested in the history of the Rangers.

Kicks on Route 66: One of my favorite blogs is Route 66 News, because it’s well done, tightly focused on Route 66, current and informative. Not every post interests me, but I always find something. Here Route 66 News talks about a photo shoot at the famous Cadillac Ranch in West Texas, to promote seatbelt use in Texas — a photo shoot sent awry by a hungry llama. This is Texas — no, no one could make this stuff up if it weren’t true.

There were complaints (well, at least one) that we didn’t cover Janis Joplin enough in the last carnival. Well, I didn’t find much new out in blogdom this time, either — so I may as well include my own post here, noting the creation of a self-guided Janis Joplin tour of Port Arthur, Texas, her home town. Texas music continues to be under-covered by blogs. I’m probably missing some good ones, but there could be a lot more, especially with an eye to what could be used in a Texas history classroom. (Hint: Send me notes on good posts you find!)

And this one just under the wire: Tom Michael lives near that far west Texas town of Marfa, city of lights, so to speak, and near the some-might-think-oddly-named Texas city of Alpine. He’s been guest blogging on a blog out of North Carolina called MisterSugar, and he has a post that captures the Texas spirit amazingly well, showing Texas pride bordering on hubris, love of religion beyond the point of rationality, willingness to change, and just old Texas orneriness: “Texas.”

That’ll wrap it up for this edition of the Fiesta de Tejas!, a blog carnival of Texas history and Texana. Please send nominations for posts for the next Fiesta to me, or better, to the Blog Carnival site set up for the purpose: Nominate a blog post to the Fiesta de Tejas! (that’s http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_1298.html)

We still need a logo.

I’d be happy to turn hosting opportunities over to anyone who’d like to take a stab.

The next edition is planned for June 2, 2007, with entries due at midnight your time on May 31, 2007. Remember you may nominate the posts of others — please do!

Blog Carnival submission form - fiesta de tejas!

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Brain delay, rain delay — what next?

May 3, 2007

Fiesta de Tejas #2 is coming, I promise.  It’s not being easy, though.  A bit behind, last night we got hit with a string of powerful thunderstorms.  Bathtub Son #1 got stuck as a wall cloud descended on one of Dallas’s major freeways, and people headed for any shelter they could find.  We waited for him at the Myerson Concert Hall, where the ushers eventually shooed us all inside to take advantage of the concrete roof of the performance hall, over the glass of the rest of the building — rain was absolutely horizontal, and so were most of the local trees.

We lost only a small branch on our great red oak, at home — but the power went out, and it took down our network.  We’re sorta back, but limping.  Please keep your feeds on.

Brain delay: Fiesta de Tejas! stuck in the presses

May 2, 2007

Point of personal privilege:  I have delayed posting the second Fiesta de Tejas! until at least later today.  Work pileups and a few unexpected occurrences — “check engine” light on the car we just bought? — contributed to the delay.

Oh, and the handbell clinic and festival on Saturday, and a few hours with Mrs. Bathtub and the two little Bathtubs (one home from college, but you get the idea) to celebrate the superannuated anniversary of my own natal day — they contributed.

Stay tuned, please — same Tejas channel, same Tejas station . . .

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