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My vote on secession

June 29, 2016
My vote on secession

In the wake of Britain’s vote last week to leave the European Union, Texas secessionists once again reared their heads, clamoring for us to follow suit.
They want Texas, with its oil, its cattle, and its pickup trucks, to leave the United States of America and be, in reality, what that slogan says – “a whole other country.”
Their story is that Texas, which once was an independent nation, joined the U.S. by treaty and can therefore leave anytime it wants. Rather than being one of 50 states, we’re sort of an ally. If we decide to opt out, we just go.… Read the rest

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The piercing pain of establishing individualism

June 22, 2016
The piercing pain of establishing individualism

Sometimes you hear a statement that stops you in your tracks.
This was one for me, a radio commercial heard in Austin recently for a business: “See us for all your piercing needs.”
Now, personally, I have few piercing needs. In fact, that number is zero.
However, I have dealt with piercing when my oldest daughter in her late teens got a tongue ring and immediately chipped her finally-straightened-by-braces-after-several-thousand-dollars-and-years-of-tin-grinning teeth.
She is grown up now and the tongue ring is long gone.
Naturally, young folks like to freak out old people. I had long hair to bother the ancient folks (i.e., over 30) when I was a genius college student in Austin.… Read the rest

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Choose your life by choosing your language

June 22, 2016
Choose your life by choosing your language

I’d love to get together with you Saturday, but I have to go to my son’s baseball game.”
“Thanks for the invitation to go fishing Sunday morning, but I have to go to church.”
“I can’t do it today, I have to work!”
“I have to …”
Considering those statements, how do you think I really feel about the baseball game, church, and work? Not too excited, right? Each one sounds like a chore or, at the very least, something to be tolerated or endured.
One of my favorite influencers, Michael Hyatt, has addressed the idea of language several times on his podcast.… Read the rest

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Roots of Pueblo architecture harken from Old World

June 22, 2016
Roots of Pueblo architecture harken from Old World

This column first appeared in the early Aughts.

Even though I’ve retired from teaching, I’ll continue to recall things I’ve always explained to my students. One thing that I emphasized was the things the New World inherited from the Old World, things like language, religion, government, etc. Another was architecture or adaptions to it.
When Spanish explorers like Francisco Coronado and Juan de Onate first arrived in the Southwest in the 16th century, they found multi-storied buildings of the Native Americans along the banks of the Rio Grande and other rivers. The explorers called the dwellings “pueblos” which in Spanish means “town.”
The pueblos were constructed of abode and reminded the Spaniards of the homes back in Europe.… Read the rest

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Governors confer about containing spread of Zika

June 22, 2016
Governors confer about containing spread of Zika

Gov. Greg Abbott on June 9 participated in a White House-hosted conference call for governors to discuss the Zika virus threat and what to do about it.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden led the call.
Frieden said no vaccine exists to prevent the Zika virus disease, and the way for individuals to prevent contracting the disease is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
“With the recent floods, and as we enter the height of mosquito season, I encourage Texans to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito exposure and heed all warnings and recommendations from health officials,” Abbott said after the conference call.… Read the rest

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The (funky) story behind the (stinky) column

June 15, 2016
The (funky) story behind the (stinky) column

Sometimes here at the paper, we let folks know how we shot a particular picture that we ran. We call it “the story behind the photo.”
I thought I’d use the same approach to discuss a column from June 1, “Stink to think: Loving your body emissions.”
Of all the columns I’ve written – this is No. 1,231, one every week since Aug. 13, 1992 – I got more feedback on the passing gas column than any other.
Here’s the story behind the column.
When I first stumbled onto the Facebook post that detailed a doctor from Michigan proclaiming that pooting was not only good for the person doing so but for those in the nearby vicinity, it cracked me up.… Read the rest

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Choose your life by choosing your habits

June 15, 2016
Choose your life by choosing your habits

To fully appreciate the life-changing power of dishwashing, you need to know how much I hate washing dishes – I mean real, serious, deep loathing! My mother made me wash dishes. I hated it then and I hate it now!
In fact, when I was recently told that someone took a part-time job as a restaurant dishwasher for $8 an hour, I said I wouldn’t do it for $80. I said that I would rather take a caning (look that up) than wash dishes for a living. Of course that is a gross exaggeration, but you get the point.
Here’s the crazy part: Since October 2015, I have only missed four nights of washing dishes before going to bed (when home).… Read the rest

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Roosevelt’s first ranching venture considered a loss

June 15, 2016
Roosevelt’s first ranching venture considered a loss

This column first appeared August 23, 1984.

One hundred years ago a 25-year-old New Yorker attended the Republican national convention as a delegate. He was well educated, having graduated from Harvard four years previously. He also was interested in politics, for he had been elected to the New York Assembly in November 1883.
The young delegate was Theodore Roosevelt and he would later become the president of the United States. Perhaps a 25-year-old delegate at this year’s convention will become president at the turn of the century, who knows?
Roosevelt could not have been a very attentive delegate to the Republican National Convention that year, for tragedy had struck in his young life.… Read the rest

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Governors confer about containing spread of Zika

June 15, 2016
Governors confer about containing spread of Zika

Gov. Greg Abbott on June 9 participated in a White House-hosted conference call for governors to discuss the Zika virus threat and what to do about it.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden led the call.
Frieden said no vaccine exists to prevent the Zika virus disease, and the way for individuals to prevent contracting the disease is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
“With the recent floods, and as we enter the height of mosquito season, I encourage Texans to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito exposure and heed all warnings and recommendations from health officials,” Abbott said after the conference call.… Read the rest

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Muhammad Ali not The Greatest to everybody

June 8, 2016
Muhammad Ali not The Greatest to everybody

Eventually, I came to like and even admire Muhammad Ali.
But it took a while – because of my Dad.
I grew up in the 1960s and, like most boys, I was sure my dad hung the moon. And if he didn’t like Ali, then I did not either.
Dad was good with Cassius Clay who was an Olympic champion, claiming the light heavyweight championship for America.
But Dad’s view changed when Clay became Ali and refused to be drafted.
A WWII vet, it was inconceivable to Dad that someone would not serve their country. That seemed wrong to me, too, even at 10 years old in 1967.… Read the rest

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